Prioritizing can be hard, especially if you’re like me and there are eleventy billion things that you want to do or buy.
But what it comes down to is that we can’t have everything — at least not all at once. And so we have to choose what we want most.
What choosing looks like
Choosing means asking, “Is what we want right this instant more important to us than what we want in the future? Or is it just more immediate?”
When we were paying off our house, sometimes I did want that trip or meal out more than I wanted the house paid off. But most of the time, what I really wanted was for us to get out of debt and have the freedom that represents. So we focused. And we got it done.
It helped to ask how we would we feel if we couldn’t get the things we wanted to have, long term. (And of course to figure out what it is we really wanted.) And it helped to dream about the future — to make it more real.
The future will be here before you know it
The future often seems so far away, and that makes us prone to exchanging things we don’t really want all that much for some pretty important things that we actually want quite a bit.
For example, we may exchange meals out at McDonald’s for our baby’s college education, or we may exchange a series of shiny new cars for our retirement.
Now no one would do that on purpose, but when big things seem so far away it can be easy to put them off until “later”. Then one day we wake up and realize that later is here.
Change the way you look at things
Now a lot of us are pretty bad at waiting. We don’t like to wait in line at the store. We don’t like to wait for our food to arrive at a restaurant. We don’t even like to wait 5 seconds for a web page to download. (Because ugh, it’s so slow!) We also don’t like to “give things up” or “cut back”. Heck, just the word “cut” sounds pretty painful, doesn’t it?
But is that what we’re really doing? Isn’t it more a matter of prioritizing, and making sure we get what we really want? Plus, when we stop the mindless spending, a funny thing happens: we become more content. Change the way you look at things.
Get what you really want
The thing is, we don’t actually have to “give up” all that much to improve our financial situations or to reach big goals. Realistically, most of us wouldn’t have to give up anything noticeable at all. We just need to decide what’s most important, and then implement a plan. Because when you get what you really want, life is good.Posted in Motivation on 01.16.13 with 4 comments.