Keeping your attitude in check and refusing to give up are the biggest factors when it comes to reaching your financial goals.
I’m in the car for two hours a day taking my daughter to and from the special school she attends.
I’ve been using my alone time in the car to listen to audiobooks. My last two books were about goal setting.
I love hearing different opinions and learning different methods for accomplishing more in my life. And these two books delivered: they were night and day different.
Book #1: Said in a reverent and calm voice: “You’re not meeting your goals because you give up as soon as you don’t follow the plan perfectly. Your goals are TOO BIG. Cut your goal in half, or double the amount of time you give yourself to complete the goal. Commit to doing at least three other things in your life POORLY while you work on your goal.”
Book #2: Said like a drill sergeant: “You’re not meeting your goals because you’re not working hard enough and your goals are TOO SMALL. You need to 10x your goal. If you want to make $5,000 a month, you need to 10x your goal to $50,000 a month. Be obsessed. Take action! Now! You can never stop and rest! 10x your to-do list, 10x your actions, and you’ll get 10x the results! It’s your ethical duty to bring your gifts to the world. Now, move, move, move!”
So which is right?
I think both of them are to some extent, though The 10X Rule kind of messed with my head and exhausted me.
You see, I’ve been struggling a lot with growing this business. I’ve poured my heart and soul (and money) into Budgets Made Easy.
I’ve spent thousands of dollars on blogging and business tools, courses, and this website.
I’ve gotten so frustrated that I cried because I didn’t see progress with the number of people visiting my website, following me on social media, or joining my email list.
I’ve sacrificed time with my family. Lots of time. (I was working while my husband and kids carved pumpkins for Halloween. I jumped in at the end to help out, but I didn’t even get pictures like I usually do.)
I’ve given a lot to my business and haven’t yet gotten much in return.
Starting a business from scratch is not for the faint of heart. I’ve wanted to quit. Many times. SO many times.
I’ve even quit, in my head, a number of times, just to feel what it would feel like to unburden myself from all the work I need to do. And, scarily, it felt good.
But I deeply believe in the mission of my business, which is to help people build financial security and have financial peace.
And as Grant Cardone said in his book about people having an ethical obligation to share their gifts and talents, I truly believe that it is my ethical duty to help people with their finances.
I know how good it feels to have financial security, and I want to help others feel that too.
And I want to meet my goals, not only for my audience but also for my family and for the non-profits who change lives and help people when they need it.
Right now, we don’t have any extra money in the budget, so if I could grow this business and make some profit I could:
- Travel with my kids and take them to see some of the amazing things my husband and I saw before the kids came along, like the redwoods in Northern California and the millions of stars you can see at night at Uluru National Park in Australia.
- Take care of my parents and in-laws when they need it, without worrying about finances.
- Start a charitable foundation and give lots of money to local and international charities.
But I won’t be able to do any of those things if I quit and stop working toward my goals.
After reflecting on both books’ messages, I learned that I need to:
Work harder/smarter/be more focused.
If I’m being honest, I could work harder. Of course, I think play and downtime are important. But I could focus on my top priorities, get them done, and then decide to take a break, rather than halfheartedly work, scroll through social media, work a little more, etc.
Half-ass effort is going to mean I get half-ass results.
I could also do a better job of recognizing when I get distracted by tasks that aren’t really moving me in the right direction. Minor tasks get me minor results.
If I want to take a giant leap toward my goal, I need to focus on the tasks that result in giant leaps.
Decide to let three areas slide while I work on my goal.
My house isn’t going to be super clean and organized for a while. And I’ll need to take a break from social media, unless it’s work-related. I could also say no to the bigger school volunteer requests and help out in less time-consuming ways.
There, three areas of my life are going to be messy and neglected while I focus on my goal.
Keep my attitude in check.
I’m in control here!
Yes, $^&% happens, but I’m in control of how I respond and what comes next. I can wallow in self-pity, or I can dust myself off and get back in the game.
Let go of perfectionism.
Accept that I’ll mess up the plan, but promise to get back on track immediately.
Perfection isn’t the goal. I’ll mess up…I’ll find myself scrolling through social media when I’m not supposed to or I’ll get distracted. Or the fear of failure will creep in again.
When I realize I didn’t follow my plans, I’ll pick myself up and get back on plan, rather than throw my hands up and say, “Well, I might as well say this day is a bust and keep wasting time watching these funny commercial outtakes.”
Change my beliefs.
This might sound like a bunch of woo, but I’ve researched and have read scientific evidence that our underlying beliefs influence our results.
Yep, that whole “if you believe it, you can achieve it” stuff works in reverse: if you think getting what you want is going to be difficult, or that you won’t be successful, or that resources are scarce, that’s exactly what reality will be for you.
When I tell myself these negative and limiting ideas over and over, they take root in my subconscious. Then I’ll do whatever it takes to prove that I’m right, usually without even realizing it.
I’ll overlook opportunities because they don’t support my beliefs.
I’ll pay more attention to information that supports my negative beliefs. (This is called confirmation bias.)
You’ve probably experienced how beliefs and thoughts can influence your reality: I decided a few months ago that someday I’d like to own a Tesla. After I added that goal to my budget, and even though I haven’t saved a penny for it, I see them everywhere now!
Sure, the number of Telsas on the road increased now that the more affordable Model 3 was released. But I’m also noticing them because I’m thinking about owning one.
Collect data and course correct.
I’ve tried and failed lots of times. I need to continue to come up with new ideas, test and evaluate results objectively, and throw out the ones that suck.
Decide I won’t quit.
The only failure is quitting. Quitting means I’m guaranteed to not reach my goals. If I don’t quit, I still have the opportunity to reach my goal.
If I quit, I automatically lose. And my family loses. And all the people I don’t help with my business lose. And the charities who won’t get those donations that I want to make will also lose.
SO HOW DOES ALL OF THIS RELATE TO YOU AND YOUR FINANCES?
I think the lessons I’m applying to the way I approach my business growth are directly applicable to people who want more financial security.
1 – Work smarter and harder.
Can you honestly say you’re doing all that you could do to secure your financial future? If not, make a plan and start today. (Step 1 is to create a budget the right way.)
What behaviors are wrecking your finances? Pinpoint what you should be doing differently with your money and make changes.
Maybe you need to take on a side hustle to bring in extra cash. Will working 60 hours a week suck? Yep. But it’s temporary. And if it gets you to your goal in half the time, it’s worth it.
Maybe you’re not fully using your talents at your current job and you need to explore other work options. Maybe you need to move to a different city for a better job. Or move closer to your job rather than commute an hour each way, which wastes precious time and gas.
Focus on the things that are going to get you big results.
I cringe when I hear people who are trying to cut expenses say things like, “I canceled Netflix” or, worse, “I returned a bag of flour because I discovered I already had some.”
Congratulations. You just saved a measly $144 a year or used a dollar in gas and wasted 30 minutes of your time to return an item that costs less than $2.
If you want to cut expenses, list them in order with the highest expense at the top. Now look at the top five and figure out how to lower those, not the ones that cost less than 20 bucks a month.
2 – Let it slide.
Are there three lower-priority areas of your life you could let slide while you are laser-focused on getting your budget done and achieving your first financial goal?
Give yourself permission to free up the time and mental energy needed to work on your goal.
3 – Check your attitude and beliefs.
Are you blaming your circumstances, bad luck, or other people for your financial situation?
Or are you taking responsibility?
You are in control.
You can make things better.
What beliefs do you have about money that might be holding you back from achieving everything you want?
For example, do you think wanting more money is greedy or selfish? If so, why is wanting more money so you can take better care of yourself and your family being greedy? How is wanting more money so you can give more to charity or to a neighbor in need being selfish?
Identify your limiting beliefs and then rewrite them.
4 – Course correct.
Although it would be fantastic if we could reach our goals just by just changing our beliefs and repeating affirmations, we also need to take action.
And when our actions aren’t getting us closer to our goal, we need to change and try something else.
Evaluate where you are. Make changes. Then evaluate whether those changes are getting you closer to your goal.
Need help? Find an expert or someone who is where you want to be and ask them for advice.
5 – Get back on track.
You’ll hit bumps on your financial journey. You may go on a spending free-for-all and completely blow your budget.
Do what you can to clean up your mess, then get back on track. Don’t make things worse by thinking, “Well, I may as well go nuts with the credit card now that I’ve already messed up.”
6 – Don’t quit.
You haven’t failed if you don’t quit. It’s much better to still be in the game, trying to succeed, than on the sidelines because you gave up. If you quit, you’re guaranteed to not reach your goal.
You’ll be letting yourself down if you quit, but I bet there are other people who will be worse off too, even if they never knew about your goal and don’t even realize you quit.
Maybe your kids don’t know your financial goals. They won’t be disappointed in you if you decide to quit trying to reach your goals. But how will they be affected if you give up completely?
How will your future self be affected in 3 months, 5 years, or when you retire if you give up and don’t meet your goals? Will she be pissed that you weren’t more resilient and decided to quit? What will life be like if instead you stick with your plan and achieve your goals?