The crisp cool air, blue water, and smells of pine made for the ultimate relaxing getaway. Spending this kind of quality time with the family is more than worth the expense, and it reminded me why I'm striving so hard, and am so motivated to reach financial independence.
We hiked to Eagle Lake, which was probably my favorite part of the trip. Although my knees felt like they were going to explode by the time we got back. Yes, apparently I've got the knees of an 80 year old. Look at that picture!
It reminds me of the quote by Seth Godin.
“Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, maybe you should set up a life you don’t need a vacation from.”
I think that statement is so powerful, and I think it’s an idea that we tend to lose track of as we age from teens to adults. If I asked you when you were just graduating high school, “do you want to work 40-50 hours per week, every week, of every year, from the time you’re 18 to 65 years old, but you’ll get a week or two off each year to vacation”, would you think that sounds like a rewarding life? Is that something you’d jump out of your seat for?
To me, that sounds like torture and I would guess most people would agree. Yet, the majority of American’s do just that. They slave away at their jobs during what is likely the healthiest and strongest part of their lives, hoping that by the time they’re 65 they’ve saved enough money to retire, and finally do the traveling they’ve longed for. The problem is, many will no longer have their health, and those travels will become a pipe dream. Don’t be one of them!
Sit down for 10 minutes and just think about what motivates you. Scribble your thoughts on a piece of paper. This method is useful in achieving any of your goals, whether it’s weight loss, running a marathon, or in this example, reaching financial independence.
Any time I start to feel like I’m not making progress, I’ll do this. An example is shown below.
-the idea of being debt free
-the idea of being able to spend more time with my family
-the idea of being in control of my life
-tracking and seeing progress towards goals
-being part of a group (as in other Financial Independence / Retire Early blogs)
-developing ways to simplify my life
-seeing others who have achieved early retirement
-being able to teach others what I’ve learned
-making a difference
However, as I continued I started getting more detailed. I noted the importance of setting goals and having a way to measure they’re success, of joining communities of people that have similar interests and goals, of being able to simplify my life in ways that will increase the probability of achieving my goals.
As an example, I love analyzing stocks, however it can be extremely time consuming. Therefore, I developed an analysis tool that automates the information gathering process for a stock and presents it in easy to use spreadsheets. In the past it would take hours to go through the financials of a company, try to get a feel for the long term trends, calculate the ratio’s that are important, etc. The tool saved me hours of analyzing time per stock, while increasing the likelihood of finding undervalued companies. Those types of accomplishments are extremely motivating to me. I love coming up with ways to make my life easier.
If you love social comradery, join clubs or groups that will both challenge you to reach your goals, and serve as a place to hold yourself personally accountable. If you’re like me and never feel like you have enough time to analyze budgets, calculate net worth, analyze stocks, etc, then develop spreadsheets that automate the calculations so you only have to insert the inputs. You’re welcome to use the spreadsheets I’ve developed. If you’re goal is to get out of debt, trying printing out the balance of all of your debts, and tape them to the wall above your computer (yes, I did this, see the pic), scratching out the old balance and writing in the new each month. Having your debts out there to constantly see keeps them on top of your mind, and helps track performance in achieving your pay off goals.
Read books written by or about experts in the field. There are tons of books written involving leadership, motivation, achieving goals, personal accomplishment, etc. They’re great in helping to adapt your mindset to the ideas of setting goals, motivations, progress, etc. They’ll help you in all aspects of life, not just money management.
Maybe it’ll take a little trial and error to find what really motivates you. That’s fine, just go through the motions, play around with ideas, and keep moving forward. Remember, this isn’t a fad, this is a lifestyle change. It’ll impact all aspects of your life. You’ll get people trying to discourage you or say what you’re attempting isn’t possible. This is where your motivations have to overpower your uncertainty. Don’t give up, and feel free to share what motivates you.