Sometimes, despite all your hard work and all your struggles, everything just seems bleak. You feel like you’re not making any headway against your debt or your bills. You feel like you’ll never achieve the success you want in your career, or that your financial problems are just too big or too complex to be dealt with. You feel like you’re trying to do the impossible, and you’re ready to throw in the towel and just give up.
Don’t give up. Not yet. Not ever.
Nothing is ever hopeless. Yes, it’s going to take a lot of hard work to get where you want to be. There may be setbacks and unexpected hurdles. Disaster may strike, and you may have to reevaluate again and again. But you’ll get there, so long as you don’t give up.
Create an actionable plan
Fear and doubt are like mosquitoes. Mosquitoes need stagnant, standing water to lay their eggs in; fear and doubt need idle time. They need time for you to latch onto a little egg of worry and let it grow into something big and scary and insurmountable. Don’t give it the chance! You know what your goals are. You know what you’re working towards.
Do something every day that makes real positive progress towards those goals. Give yourself deadlines. Let your waking hours be consumed with progress, even tiny progress. Do more than just work and pay debt. Learn how to understand the complex nature of your finances. Read books and blog posts and learn about the options and decisions you’ll need to make in the future. Spend time on things that will make you a better, more productive person, even if it’s something as simple as organizing your desk or writing out a better schedule to manage your time.
Give yourself permission to daydream
Even as you’re busting your tail working towards your goals, take time now and then to bask in the playground of your imagination. Dream big! What do you want in your future? A home of your own? Your own bakery? A small private plane so you can see the world? The wealth to pay for your grandchildren’s college tuition, or the ability to make a ridiculously huge endowment to a deserving charity? A private collection of rare books and art?
I’ve talked before about how my wife and I dream of owning a little house. We were driving home the other day, and One Republic’s “Counting Stars” came on the radio. Crystal turned to me and said, “Won’t that be nice? One day we can stop worrying so much about money. We’ll have our own place where we can sit out at night and count the stars.”
Lately I been, I been losing sleep,
Dreaming about the things that we could be,
But baby, I been, I been prayin’ hard,
Soon no more counting dollars,
We’ll be counting stars.
Go public with your efforts
Talk about what you’re doing. Hop on Facebook and tell your friends and family how you want to get out of debt — but also tell them how you’re doing it. Talk about enrolling in new schooling to further your career, or talk about everything you’ve learned from this blog or any other personal finance site. Talk about the complicated nature of refinancing your mortgage. Money is such a taboo topic in our culture, but it doesn’t have to be. There’s no reason for it to be, if you’re speaking openly and honestly on topics you care about.
Doubt hates community. It hates supportive people. Doubt and fear want you to feel isolated and unheard and to stifle you down so you don’t work towards your goals. Don’t give doubt and fear the satisfaction! Tell people about your efforts, let them get involved, and encourage them to pursue their own goals.
Do you feel hopeless about your financial future? What helps boost your confidence and inspire you to keep going?
Photo by Fuzzy Gerdes.