Don’t Be Afraid to Re-Evaluate

Are you making the kind of progress you want to be making on your financial goals? If not, it may be time to take a look around and re-evaluate.

Sometimes we keep trying to reach a goal without stopping to consider whether or not the things we’re trying are actually effective. We feel like if we just try hard enough, we’ll get there.

And that can be true — some of the time.

But not always. If we keep adding gasoline to our car when what it really needs is a new engine, adding gasoline isn’t going to help.

I have a big problem with trying the same thing for too hard and too long, because I have a tendency to over-persist.

For example, when I first tried to get out of debt, a slew of overdrafts kept coming up. I thought that if I could just work harder at keeping our account balanced, the overdraft problem would go away and we could really make some progress.

So I tried, and tried, and tried. And then I tried some more.

But “just keeping the account balanced” wasn’t actually the problem. So I could have tried til the cows came home without ever getting anywhere.

It wasn’t until I took a step back and re-evaluated both the problem and the possible solutions that I was able to come up with alternatives and begin to make some progress.

Persistence is critical, but you have to persist at the right things.


  • Andrea

    I feel everytime I get ahead putting a little back, there is something that comes up and depletes what little I could save. I am so worn out and tired of struggling financially. I’m trying to hold on and not give up. But it’s hard. I ruined my credit in my early 20’s, which I still haven’t forgiven myself for…. it would be easy to forget except everything revolved around your FICO score nowadays. I am downdroddenred. Even though I make a decent salary, I am looking for part-time work to get a savings cushion going. Do you have any suggestions?

  • Andrea, I can tell you what I would do. First, try to forgive yourself for what happened in your 20s. The past is in the past, and we all make mistakes. Learning from them is just part of the process. Your FICO score will improve with time.

    I think your idea of looking for part-time work to get a savings cushion going is a good one, as it sounds like you could benefit from building up an emergency fund. I know once I started having money in savings, things got a lot easier. You could also do odd jobs (such as babysitting, pet sitting, or tutoring) to build up your savings, or sell things to get a head start.

    Since you make a decent salary, have you tracked you spending recently? That helped me out enormously, by showing me where money was leaking away (or sometimes leaving in droves!) Tracking your spending and then making a plan for where you actually want your money to go will help.

  • Its funny you mentioned this – I was just thinking about this today, as I was getting frustrated with the stock market.

    Great food for thought!

  • Andrea

    Thank you for your response Jackie. I know I spend WAY TOO MUCH…time to start cutting back and tracking :/ * sigh* I want to be so badly where my friends are- ENJOYING THEIR LIFE…. I still have $10,000 to go :/

    • You’ll get there! :)

      And once you do, when you spend money you’ll feel a lot better about it because you’ll really be free to do so.