This week, I read a couple of blog posts that all sort of revolved around a central theme, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Today, it all came together. The brilliant thought that I had been trying to capture was this: no one makes a change until something triggers a particular motivation to change. The key to being successful in anything is figuring out your unique motivation, and capturing it and using it to propel yourself forward.
The reading started with Jackie Beck's Decades To Get Out Of Debt published at The Debt Myth. I don't know Jackie's motivation in writing this, and I think her point is that it usually isn't some short, pretty, straight-line road from debt to debt freedom. What jumped out at me was that while she had thought about her debt problem for a long time, she didn't really start to make progress until she had a significant motivator. This got me thinking about my reasons for getting my finances together, and how finding that push is essential if you really want to have focus.
Then, I read about the death of Thomas J. Stanley, author of The Millionaire Next Door and several other great personal finance books. Stanley used research to identify characteristics of people who accumulated wealth that was disproportionately large when compared to their income. Reading the Millionaire Next Door was a turning point in my financial journey, exposing many of the myths about money that I believed and giving me a good idea how to direct my spending and saving in a productive manner.
Then, I found J. Money's My Answer To All Financial Debates at Budgets Are Sexy. I think that J hit the nail right on the head: what gets you excited? That's what you should do! Some people are excited about having a big savings account. Some people are excited about paying off all their debt. Some people want to sell everything and live in an RV. They're all great, if they motivate you to take positive financial action.
If you're not happy with your current financial situation, take a little bit of time to think what would get you fired up to change? My reasons have changed over the years. It started out with the small desire to be able to go to the grocery store without having to count pennies. Once we accomplished that goal, I wanted to be able to get through a small emergency without having to worry about the cost. Now, I want my husband to have the choice whether or not he wants to work when he retires from the military. Identifying a desired end state makes it a lot easier to take all the small and big actions required to accomplish your goals.
Where do you want to go with your money? More importantly, why? What will get you excited to make it happen?