Progress Not Perfection
Updated: May 15
Recently I joined a gym which I normally don’t do because I refuse to pay for something I’m not going to use. But there was something different about this gym. They have coaches who work with a group the entire time you’re there. These coaches make sure you’re doing the workouts correctly; they push you when you feel like you want to give up and encourage you when you feel like you can’t keep up.
A couple of weeks ago we had to do 2,000 meters on the rower. The goal was to finish under 6 minutes or maximum time 10 minutes. I felt like I was dying. We had to work our way up by starting at 500 meters. By 1,000 meters, I thought “there’s no way I can do this”. I paused a few times to catch my breath and seriously thought about stopping altogether. I could see the other rowers around me finish and move on to the next workout. The coach continued to encourage me. I finished 2,000 meters in just under 12 minutes. I was exhausted, but I did it! I’m not going to lie; it wasn’t fun being last.
After an hour’s workout, I reflected on this experience and my strong desire to give up. How can I expect to reach my goals? I haven’t worked out in over 1.5 years. I had to remind myself, it’s about progress not perfection. It takes time and it takes effort. I will achieve my goals. It may not be pretty or perfect, but it will happen. You may be feeling overwhelmed with your financial situation and like me, may want to give up. As a financial coach, I want to encourage you.
Create a Plan with Your Goals in Mind
When creating a financial plan or a budget, be realistic. What are your goals?Do you want to…
Get out of debt?
Travel to enjoy time with family and friends?
Save for retirement?
These are all achievable goals. Write them down, prioritize them, set dates of when you want to achieve them, and create your plan. Work at it one goal at a time.
Find Someone Who Will Encourage You When You Get Off Track or Want to Give Up
Find an accountability partner who will help you stay on track. Unfortunately not everyone will understand or support you on this financial journey. They won’t understand why you’ll say “no” to going out for lunch with co-workers or going out on weekends. You may even feel alienated at times. This is why I recommend you find someone who knows your journey, who supports you, who will call you out when you get off track, who will cheer you on with every progress you make.
There will be days when you feel like your goals are too far off and you will begin to lose hope. That’s when you turn to your accountability partner for support because like the coach at the gym, they will not let you stop. If you’re married, that would be your spouse. If you’re single it can be a friend or a sibling.
Don’t be Discouraged When You Haven’t Reached Goals Fast Enough
Achieving your goals may take longer than you want. Prioritize them and work on them one at a time. If your goal is to get out of debt so you can purchase a home, you need a plan to attack the debt. When do you plan to pay off all your debt? In what order will you pay off the debt? How much do you need to put down on your home once you’ve paid off the debt? Once you get these numbers down, put a date on your calendar and start hustling.
If you want to travel, where, when and how much do you need to travel? If it’s a year from now, divide that number by 12 and begin saving that amount in your vacation fund. We all have goals, but if you don’t write them down and intentionally plan for them, you may never achieve them.
On the flip side, if you write them down and give them a date, you will be motivated and focused. Remember life happens and sometimes we have to push pause on our goals and that’s perfectly fine. As soon as you can, get back on track. Although I was the last one on the rower, I was happy that I stuck it out and finished the 2,000 meters. So don’t get discouraged if you don’t reach your goals as fast as you want. Give yourself a break and celebrate when you do.
Stick to The Plan and Celebrate Your Progress
Speaking of celebrating, sometimes we’re so focused on our plan we forget to celebrate our progress. If you pay off a credit card, celebrate! If you reached your savings goal, celebrate! You’ve earned a celebration. If all you do is work the plan, but never stop to enjoy the progress you’ve made, you may lose motivation. Don’t be so strict that you can’t relax and enjoy the journey. Everyone needs some type of motivation and encouragement. So take the time to celebrate your progress and keep pressing on.
When I went to the gym, I didn’t just sign up; I completed a complimentary workout and immediately knew this is what I needed. I am motivated when someone is there to encourage and hold me accountable. I can’t wait to reach my goals even if it takes a little longer than I want. I’m not running a race. I am staying focused. I’m reminding myself I’m not going for perfection, but enjoying the progress. I hope you will do the same.
Need help staying motivated while working on your financial goals?If you would like to know more about financial coaching and what it can do for you, contact me for a complimentary consultation. Don't stress over your finances, let me coach you through it.