It’s officially summer and Boston was reminded of that fact this week with temperatures hovering near the 90-95 degree mark (and humidity levels equally as high!). As we move closer to the “dog days” of summer, it can be hard to find the motivation to keep up with the various personal goals you’ve set for yourself let alone find the energy to keep moving ahead with your financial goals. Whether it’s eating a popsicle for dinner instead of a balanced meal or paying more for conveniences that don’t necessarily fit in your budget, the lazy days of summer can wreak havoc on your best intentions if you’re not careful.
If you’ve found your motivation melting away as quickly as an ice cube baking in the sun, it’s not too late to get back into the swing of things. Even if you’d rather spend the day lying in a hammock or sunbathing at the beach, you can still find the time and energy to ensure you’re setting and achieving all of your goals.
Break Them Down
When all you want to do is enjoy the weather and spend time with family/friends, it’s understandable that you might lose sight of the goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the summer (or even the year–how about those resolutions you set in January?!). One possible reason your motivation could be waning is because the goals you’ve set are too big. While it’s great to set lofty goals, you still have to be realistic about what you can feasibly achieve as well as how much you can truly take on.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the magnitude of your goal, try breaking it down into smaller, more manageable pieces. For example, if your goal is to build an emergency fund, perhaps focusing on making small, weekly deposits would be more beneficial for your progress rather than fixating on one large number you need to reach. Another example could be if you’re trying to pay off debt. Remember that it took time for you to accumulate that debt, so it will take time to pay it back. Concentrate your efforts on the small steps that will get you closer and closer to your goal of owing nothing.
Celebrate the Small Wins
As you move forward with these smaller steps you’ve set up, be sure to celebrate your wins along the way–no matter how large or small they may be. Did you decide to make sundaes at home after your little one’s baseball game instead of springing for overpriced ice cream cones? Celebrate the great choice you made by earmarking that extra cash for your goals. Even if it’s only $10-15, that’s $10-15 more than you had in the account a few minutes ago!
Keep Yourself Organized
Summer can be a crazy time filled with more events and activities than you can keep track of. Don’t let your goals slip through the cracks when life gets busy. Write down your goals, record your progress, and refer to these notes as necessary. If you begin to feel frazzled or can’t remember what’s next, taking a quick minute to read what you’ve written down can be the difference between abandoning your goal and achieving it.
One great organization system that I’ve employed in the past includes writing down my goals and posting them on the refrigerator so I see/notice them daily, writing small steps for each goal on a separate note card, and creating daily to-do lists on post-its so I can literally check off each bit of progress I’m making. The post-it gets stuck to my credit card and goes with me wherever my bag goes, so I always have a quick reminder of what I should be doing in case temptation rears its ugly head. I’ve had numerous occasions where I go to pull out my card for something, and I see the post-it with my goals written on it. Usually, this is at least enough for me to consider whether or not I should be spending money. More often than not, it’s the reason why I stuff the card back into my bag and carry on without spending a dime!
How do you maintain progress with your goals during the lazy months of summer?
This post was written by Jen, a staff writer from The Happy Homeowner