How to Avoid Burning Out on Your Financial Goals

September 18, 2015

Avoid burning out on your financial goals

If you’re a faithful listener of The Money-Guy Show, you’re probably all about setting goals. We love the process behind creating a plan to achieve your goals, as it forces you to think about the future. It also fosters being more intentional with your time and money.

However, it’s possible to get a little too ambitious when it comes to achieving your goals. It’s important to remember that life is a marathon and not a sprint. While it might seem like you’re not making much progress in the present, you’re probably much further ahead of where you were a year ago.

The key to success with any goal in life is consistency, not speed. If you think you’re at risk of burning out on your financial goals, here are a few ways you can scale back.

Take Your Progress Into Account

If you’re a perfectionist, or hold yourself up to impossibly high standards, take stock of your overall situation. How have things improved since you got serious about your goals in life? Where were you two years ago? A year ago? Six months ago?

We’re often guilty of getting too caught up in the present, or too involved with thinking about where we hope to go and where we want to be. That’s not good. It’s important to be happy with the progress you’ve made — you deserve some credit for making improvements!

This is definitely a balancing act. You don’t want to be content to the point you become complacent. If you’re an overachiever, this likely won’t apply to you, but keep it in mind when trying to scale back.

Put One Foot in Front of the Other

Again, achieving your goals is like running a marathon You’re not trying to exert all your energy in one shot only to die off after crossing the finish line.

The journey matters. To enjoy it, put one foot in front of the other carefully so as to avoid tripping!

Being intentional with the path you want to take is key. Of course, things can change over time, and you need to learn to adapt. Getting off track temporarily, or having a “slow season” is perfectly okay (and normal). However, you shouldn’t find yourself so overwhelmed that you stop and freeze in panic.

Mapping out your goals and the things you need to do to reach them will help you develop a guideline to follow so you don’t try to get ahead of yourself.

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others

We know you’re guilty of it. Everyone is! If you’re working on the same goal as your friend or coworker, you might find it all too easy to compare your progress against theirs.

But everyone needs to work at their own pace. Just because they’re “doing better” than you are doesn’t make you a failure.

Comparison can be a difficult hurdle to get over, especially if you and your friend or coworker are competitive. Try letting it go and settle for friendly competition. Turn that jealousy into motivation, and support each other’s efforts. If your buddy isn’t cooperative, take the high road. You don’t need the negativity.

There’s no reason to beat yourself up about being the tortoise rather than the hare. Remember who wins in the end!

Shift Your Focus to the Big Picture

We often get caught up in the little details of our goals and lose sight of the entire reason we set them to begin with. The good news? All it takes is a little bit of reflection on your part to get that reason back front and center.

Say your goal is to make enough money on the side, so you’ll eventually be able to leave your job and run your own business. You’ve been working hard, increasing your income month after month. However, you’re now realizing just how much you can make by working your job and your side job, and your focus changes. You’re only looking at what you could earn — and not what you could build in your life by .

Unless your goal is to get out of debt or accelerate your savings, stick with your original goal of being able to quit your day job so you can achieve your goal of building a business. How much money do you need to earn to get there? Are you already there, or will you be there in a few months? Evaluate your progress thus far against what you originally set out to accomplish.

Do yourself a favor — whenever you make a new goal from here on out, always attach a reason “why” to it. You can go back to this reason when you’re feeling overwhelmed, lost, or distracted by things along the way.

Avoid Burning Out by Taking it Slow

You might be wondering what’s so bad about being gung-ho about your goals. In theory, being super motivated is great. But no one can sustain that level of enthusiasm – at least not healthily. Working toward goals can be emotionally, physically, and mentally draining.

Getting to the point of burning out is dangerous for a number of reasons. If you’re putting yourself under so much stress you’re losing sleep, not able to focus on anything else, or are neglecting your personal relationships, you’re going to have a problem sooner or later.

Besides, burning out could cause all your motivation to vanish at some point. If you’re passionate about something, that’s great — and you don’t want to lose that passion because of impatience. Don’t be afraid to progress slowly and steadily.

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