I sometimes have to tell myself to slow down. I talk fast, I like to be moving and I hop from other thing to another quickly. I generate thoughts and want to act on them immediately. ‘I should do laundry soon’ flows into me standing up immediately and getting my clothes into the washer. ‘I want to save more’ turns into me deactivating my credit card in that moment to curb spending.
Most of the time I think of this quick thinking and quick moving tendency to be a positive thing. When it comes to my financial goals however, I’ve come to see that it’s hurting me more than it’s helping.
I’ve been dealing with bouts of dissatisfaction for the last month and a half. By no means am I waking up every day feeling unhappy or depressed and I want to acknowledge that I have lots of wonderful things in my life. But there is a lingering stress and sense of tiredness I can’t shake and I’ve been fighting off the green-eyed monster a lot.
I’m completely failing to see the positives in my life. My dissatisfaction stems from staring ahead relentlessly. I’m so busy thinking about what I want to change in my life, or all the things I have left to do before I get to where I want to be, that I am forgetting the things I have already done. Or the myriad great things already in my life.
This time last year my life looked very different. I was $14,000 in debt, had no health insurance, was working about 17 hours a week and had just started on my debt payoff path. I was pulling my life together after a really rough summer.
I was just beginning on a road. My goal was to pay off my debt by the end of 2015 and last November I thought that was an incredibly optimistic timeline.
Today I am debt free, with a healthy emergency account and am very close to maxing out my IRA for the year. I have an amazing relationship with someone I am deeply in love with. I have health insurance, am working an average of 50 hours a week and have taken two vacations this year. I live in a beautiful house with good people.
While I am not exactly where I want to be, where I am is not bad. I paid off my debt a full 7 months ahead of schedule. I have saved diligently and funded accounts that were dreams a year ago. Those are badass things! I should be proud of myself for them. And while I am, I often forget them because I am so busy planning my next step.
This is silly. I can’t do everything at once.
That doesn’t mean I won’t get the things I want. Having ambition is a good thing. Having a plan to act on that ambition is a good thing. I have both. I’m well on my way to getting what I want. I just need to remember that it’s a path. I have to walk this road before I reach my destination.
I have to tell myself to slow down and appreciate where I am and where I’ve come from. Progress has been made. Progress will continue to get made. I am going to make more of an effort to pull my head out of the fog of my future and take a look around at my present. Things are pretty good in the grand scheme of things. I want to enjoy that more. I want to be proud and happy with what I’ve already done.
So while 2015 is nearly over I am making a resolution before the end of the year. I want to take more time for appreciation and gratitude. I want to focus on the ‘now’ more. I want to breathe and remind myself that things are happening even when I feel stagnant.
Are you finishing out 2015 with any goals? And how do you stay motivated to achieve while appreciative of your current situation?
Kara Perez is the original founder of From Frugal To Free. She is a money expert, speaker and founder of Bravely Go, a feminist financial education company. Her work has been featured on NPR, Business Insider, Forbes, and Elite Daily.