Financial Literacy Month: The Importance of Setting Motivational Goals

Financial Literacy Month (1)

 

Let’s be real, personal finance can be very boring. I really enjoy reading and thinking about it, but how did I get to that point? The impending feelings of debt fatigue were setting in and I knew I needed to do something. What’s debt fatigue, you ask?

It’s that discouragement and burnout you feel when you’ve been working & sacrificing aggressively to pay off a debt, so you end up going astray and spending. Often times when you realize you’ve gotten off track, you could feel guilty for not focusing on your debt and treating yourself instead.

It is my personal feeling that being debt free is not enough of a goal for some people, myself included. As I mentioned in an earlier post, when I paid off my car I was very disappointed because I thought not having debt was my goal. It wasn’t! My actual goal was to be able to have adventures, do fun activities and travel. While reducing my debt would help me get there, not having debt only leaves more discretionary money for me. So if I have no plan for what to do with that money, I end up disappointed & confused. Literally, sitting there looking up at the sky asking “Now what…?”

I thought about all of the adventures I had during college, when I was definitely scraping by, but I didn’t let that stop me. I went camping for the first time, I went to Lake Tahoe to experience snow for the first time, I went to amusement parks with friends…so many great memories! I decided that I still wanted to make space in my life for adventures and fun activities. But, I was confused about to make that happen while I was trying to “adult” at the same time. All the adults I heard talk about personal finance were grumpy about the value of their stocks falling and how debt was ruining their lives. Should I follow their examples and be grumpy too…? Pfft no, this is feel good finances, remember?! At the time I was dealing with the transition from 4 jobs to 2 (one full-time & one part-time) and not being able to get the questions to the answers I had and that’s when I picked up my first books. I went to the library (Do people even go there anymore? It’s a cool place!) to learn about budgeting, insurance, credit, investing, estate planning, wealthy mindset…my oh my, my mind was inspired! Once I figured out how to shape my financial plans around my goal, my actual goal of fun activities, I finally understood how I was going to proceed with my financial life. Just because some people want to deprive themselves on their financial journeys to accelerate the process, doesn’t mean that I have to also. Life is for living, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do! Debt fatigue is very real, and I mitigate that by planning fun activities for myself throughout the year while still tackling that dang student loan.

I made sure that I saved some money every month, separately from everything else, specifically for vacation and fun activities. Last year I went on a jet ski for the first time, went ziplining for the first time, and took a weeklong vacation to the east coast. If I can pencil in that student loan payment into my budget, then I can pencil in some fun time for me.
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All of this is to say, setting a goal that keeps you excited to keep working hard and being disciplined can help keep your motivation & overall life satisfaction high and your disappointment low. Gotta keep you feeling good, right?! And it doesn’t have to be as fancy as ziplining. You could just take yourself on a date. If you’re on a tight budget, take yourself to breakfast and catch a matinee movie. Or buy yourself a cupcake. You deserve to feel good always, regardless of your debt obligations!

What are your financial goals? If your goal is to be debt free, what will you be able to do once that extra money is available for you? Comment or Tweet me to let me know!

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