When I started writing this post it was going to be all about how important having financial goals are. Goals help us focus, guide our financial decisions and visualize our final destination. Bottom line, goals are important. Got it? Good. Moving on...
Then, I was going to write about how everyone has different financial goals. I have learned that I shouldn’t judge other people’s financial actions because their financial goals are different than mine. We should be using our money as a tool to help us reach our individual financial goals successfully. Understood? Cool… onto what this post really wants to be about.
As important as financial goals are, I’ve been thinking that what is probably more important is the journey on which we reach those goals. I know I don’t read a book, watch a movie or play a Pokémon game just for the ending. The end is just a small part of it. The rest is all about the journey getting there.
Journeys should be fun and joyful
I like my journeys like I like my Pokémon games, fun and enjoyable. This can be harder for some journeys than others. For example, work can be a difficult part of the journey. I get it, work can be stressful. I believe the stress is why we get paid. If it wasn’t stressful and super easy then we would probably pay people to let us do it.
I enjoy my job! I wake up every morning and look forward to getting to work and getting stuff done. Sure there are days that I don’t like or want to go in. Some days I’m stuck in an office all day doing paperwork. Others I’m walking the streets of New York City in the rain.
Whenever I am thinking about how much I dislike that day of work, I remind myself of all the things I enjoy from the other days. I get to work with masters that make magic happen daily and see beautiful costumes, and creatures, develop from nothing and come to life.
Every morning I wake up refreshed and ready for what surprises the day may bring. Sure yesterday may have had today looking pretty dark, but then I attack the morning with a positive energy ball and try the best I can to have fun for the rest of the day.
It’s ok to take a step back and try another path
If the journey is not possibly enjoyable, sometimes I need to go back a few steps or towns and try another path. I don’t withstand dark voids of positive energy very well. I’ve seen too many people I love on negative journeys that just leech the life right out of them. The negative energy from their work, schooling, or whatever it was became toxic and made it extremely hard to accomplish anything toward their goal. Everyone around them can see that they’re poisoned and wants them to get rid of the toxic orb. Once they quit or let go of that orb, they were able to back up, eat a pecha berry and start another path that brought them the joy they deserve.
Sometimes I come to a dead end or a brick wall and the map is so dusty that I can’t see any other paths available. So I whip up a whirlwind by writing down a bunch of smart, stupid and sarcastic ideas. I use this razor wind brainstorming session to break up my perception of what I think my path should look like, and it usually helps me find a different path. I did this when I realized my credit cards were not heading the right direction. I thought treating myself like a preschooler using a sticker sheet was going to be stupid, but it has been extremely successful for me.
Put in the extra work, it’s worth it
Sometimes I discover my journey requires a little extra training and when it comes to my financial goals, I don’t mind putting in the time.
Back when I began my current budget I limited my groceries to $20 a week. For the first year and a half, I was getting groceries from three different stores. Two of the stores were near me, and the third was near my fiancé’s apartment, an hour-long subway ride away. People thought I was ridiculous to spend the time to save $5. What they didn’t realize was that it was just a little extra work for me. I was already in the neighborhood and I got more food for my $20.
I also put in the extra time with the dowsing machine to find affordable things to do. I don’t mind standing in a line for two hours to get a free meal and milkshake at Shake Shack. I really enjoy the outdoor concerts, fireworks and other events put on by the city’s parks. I am shocked at the free movie, play and tv show audience tickets my friends say “no” to. I’m currently planning a date where we visit the new stations on the Q line to look at their art.
I know we don’t all live in a city, but there are still affordable things to do in small towns too. When I lived in Montana there was ice skating in the town square and tubing down the river. One of my favorites was board game night when everyone brought their own game piece. Before ever moving to the “big city” I would tell my friends, “The big city and the small town have the same amount of stuff to do if you never look for anything to do.”
Enjoy the occasional detour
Occasionally I take a detour as a temporary break off my journey’s path. Detours offer me a chance to shake things up for a little while, while sadly adding time to my journey. Sometimes my detours are as small as ordering a pizza and putting it on the credit card. Larger detours have been doing alterations for a vintage store and going to visit Japan with a bunch of my friends. These detours were only temporary and when they were over I got back on my path and continued forward.
The thing I enjoy about detours is that when I continue my journey, I appreciate it better because I have been refreshed. Detours can act as a focus band for me because they eliminate distractions and give me more energy to take on the battle at hand.
Although detours are good, something I need to watch out for is when they take me too far from my path. Sometimes I get lost in the excitement and adventure of the detour that I need help to remember why I started the detour, and how to get back on the correct path. I have noticed that by sharing my goals with friends and family, they are always willing to give me a helping hand when I have detoured too long.
So yes, setting a financial goal is important and I think everyone should do it. But what I think we need to remember as we spend most of our time on the journey reaching for that goal is that that time should be enjoyed and appreciated. If it’s not, we should make it so it can be.
Life is a game, and I want to enjoy playing it.