What To Do When You Feel Like Giving Up on Your Financial Journey
Improving your finances is not always easy, especially when you are trying to pay off debt, break the paycheck-to-paycheck cycle, save money for a house, max out your retirement saving each year, give yourself a raise or meet any other financial goal. One of the hardest paths on my financial journey has been paying off my debt. It takes a lot of hard work and determination to become debt free plus, it takes time.
If you get frustrated when you don’t see progress or if you lose focus easily, it can be hard to maintain your motivation and determination to stay on your financial journey long-term.
Feeling burnt out or contemplating giving up may happen at times, but you shouldn’t ever give in. Here are six things to do when you feel like giving up on your financial journey.
1. Look Back At Your Progress
From personal experience, I know that it’s easier to set goals at the beginning of the year when you feel fresh and your level of motivation is high. Then as time progresses and life gets in the way, it’s easy to fall off track and get discouraged.
If you’ve reached this point, one thing you need to do is stop and look back at the progress you’ve made thus far to appreciate it. Sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough credit. If you’ve been dining out less because you want to save more money every month and grow the amount you have for down payment on a home, that’s a good thing that should be acknowledged even if you didn’t hit your savings target for the past two months. If you can’t mark your progress because you aren’t tracking your spending or saving activity, Personal Capital is a great free online tool that can help you keep tabs on where you’re at and avoid emotion-driven decisions.
Also, acknowledging the progress you’ve made is a great way to pinpoint what has been working for you and which areas you might want to restructure or pay more attention to so things can improve. Acknowledging only the negative or the positive is a one-sided view that won’t help you get closer to your goal.
2. Take a Break
Sometimes it’s important to slow down. Like I’ve said before, sometimes I set too many goals and end up burning out rather quickly, which tends to make things 10x worse for me and it actually leads me to slide backwards in terms of the progress I’m making on my financial journey.
This is why it’s important to take periodic breaks to give yourself some breathing room and dare I say it, treat yourself every once in awhile. Being on a financial journey that is based on deprivation won’t allow you to go far especially if you anticipate working toward your end result for several years.
I’ve traveled while in debt, bought nice things for myself and paid for other valuable experiences because I know my journey will take time and life is too short to be so hard on myself. Everyone has their own guilty pleasure so I can’t tell you how to take a break and I can’t recommend that you splurge on impulse buys either.
Taking a break to one person may mean spending $20 to go out to see a movie with friends instead of saving it for one person, or sleeping in one weekend instead of side hustling for another person. The choice is up to you, but your break should allow you to recharge so you can get back on track when the times comes.
3. Check Out Some Success Stories
I love hearing and reading about other people’s financial success stories. Whether it’s a blog post, podcast or even a local event, I like to hear real stories about people who have reached success with their finances because it inspires me and let’s me know that I can do the same.
I know typical success stories include obstacles people have overcome during their financial journey and I find that helpful because many people who are going through a similar situation can resonate with it or even learn a few tips and strategies for their own journey.
If you’re feeling down about your situation or even discouraged, these types of success stories can be a great pick-me-up.
4. Change Your Plan
Life is forever changing, and that’s why your financial journey may change too. When I first started working towards financial stability, I was unmarried and working for a traditional employer. Now I’m married, and just recently left my job to freelance and work for myself.
If I was still operating under the debt repayment plan I initially implemented more than two years ago, it wouldn’t work.
When big life changes occur, or you feel like your financial plan is just not working, figure out where you could be going wrong. Are you feeling deprived? Are you bored or unhappy? Are you second-guessing the avalanche method for debt repayment and considering giving the snowball method a try instead?
These are all important factors to consider which may cause you to change some of the conditions and deadlines you chose initially and that’s okay. It’s much better to change your plan when on your financial journey then to end it abruptly before you even reach your destination.
5. Find Someone to Hold You Accountable
Going on a personal journey can get quite lonely after a while. This is why it’s best to either turn it into a joint or family financial journey, or find someone who will support your goals and hold you accountable.
Involve your partner, kids, or other family members in your financial journey so it can be a group effort and they can keep you motivated. For example, sometimes my mom sends me affordable healthy recipes because she knows I’m trying to eat healthier and avoid buying takeout so I can put the money toward my debt and saving instead.
Talking to a friend who’s in a similar boat can also help since you can motivate each other and report your progress regularly. When you have someone watching your actions or holding you accountable, it’s harder to throw in the towel and you just might push yourself a little more.
6. Revisit Your Why
When all else fails, always revert back to your ‘why.’ Make sure you never forget the key reason why you are on this journey in the first place and what the end result really means to you.
Are you doing it so your kids can have a better life?
Are you determined not to spend the next 20 years in a job you hate?
Are you longing to travel more and explore the world without any financial stress?
Your ‘why’ should be powerful enough to motivate you and keep you going even on your darkest days. It also rules out unworthy options like failure and giving up.
Have you ever felt like giving up on your financial journey? What changed your mind? What is one thing you do to keep yourself in check when you feel tempted to give up? What’s a guilty pleasure you make sure you spend on regardless of how you may feel?