Here we are, almost 2 months into the new year, and for me that means 2 months of officially working on my goal of financial independence. Of course, not everyone else is on the same timeline that I am. Despite this, I think we can all agree that it’s important to find ways to stay motivated while we work on our goals. One of the things that makes FI a particularly difficult goal, is that if you’re not careful, it can seem as if you are depriving yourself and this could throw you off track.
Here are some things that you can do to stay focused on your path to financial independence and maintain motivation along the way:
- Set small goals and steps for yourself. – Instead of just focusing on FI which can be a years long goal to achieve, make smaller goals for yourself. Instead of thinking of the half a million dollars that you need to never work again, look at the things that you do on a daily basis to reduce your expenses.
- Don’t get stuck in a rut. – After a few months of not indulging as much as you used to on things like eating out, going to bars, spending money on “stuff”, it may start to feel as if you have eliminated all of the joy from your life. Take a break and go out and eat a meal. Just limit yourself to the one meal, or the one drink, the one movie, or whatever it is that you’re craving. Chances are you won’t want to ruin your progress and this will satisfy you enough to not indulge all the time.
- Don’t maintain a lifestyle that is too spartan. – When working toward FI some people set goals for themselves that are entirely too bare bones. Adjust your expectations and your spending so that you are comfortable. A little deprivation is alright, but you shouldn’t be suffering.
- Document your journey. – Take some time and set up a blog. Even if only a few people read it, this will not only help you keep your promised to yourself, but it’s a good record of the progress that you will make throughout the year.
- Monitor your progress frequently and reflect. – Sign up for free services like Personal Capital and monitor the progress you are making. Look at your spending categories and see if you need to readjust.
As I mentioned before, the road to FI is different for everyone. If you’re not comfortable with what you’re doing, you’re less likely to fulfill your goals. What do you do to keep yourself on track? Do you think it’s helpful to adjust your expectations as you move along?