How to Find Motivation When You’re Stuck in a Financial Rut

I’m bored. Bored silly. With debt payoff. With budgeting. With spend-tracking and with trying to reach goals that seem as if they’ll never come. We’re working on a couple of big things that have the potential to catapult our debt payoff big time, but the waiting, as they say, is the hardest part. The excitement that flourished when we first came upon these ideas is long gone, and so we wait.Β 

And as we wait, the motivation wanes. It hasn’t waned to the point where I want to spend money we shouldn’t spend, it’s just that I’m so. darn. bored. With this whole debt payoff process. So I’ve been working extra hard to come up with ideas to motivate me. Here are some helps that can increase motivation if you’re struggling with being bored silly with your goals like I am.

Get Educated

Education rocks. Do you know how lucky we are to live in the U.S. and Canada where public education is readily available and usually free? In Haiti for instance, education always costs money and most people living there are beyond poor. For most in Haiti, education only comes when good folk donate to cover the cost by sponsoring a child.

I’ve always worked to have an appreciation for education and for those who work in the education arena (thanks, Ruth!!). And when it comes to motivation in personal finance, education will hook you up. Here are some of my favorite sources of Β PF education.

  • Podcasts and radio shows. There are many wonderful PF educators out there who share their wisdom via podcasts and radio shows. Dave Ramsey, Chris Brown, Clark Howard, etc.
  • Books. I’ve pretty much read all PF books, but if you haven’t check out your local library for some great PF books
  • PF blogs. Of course. They’re everywhere, and you can always learn something new by reading them

Learning something new and exciting always helps to get you out of a rut, no matter what kind of a rut it is.

Re-Work the Numbers

By re-working our plan and trying to find ways to speed things up, I find motivation. I have yet to re-work our plan and not find something that we can do better.

Do Something to Speed Up Forward Progress

I search the Net for a one-time writing job. I share posts with affiliate links. Or I find something around the house to sell.

There’s something about bursts of forward progress that get a person motivated to keep going. With health for instance, I try doing a workout that is much more intense than usual and challenges my strength.

If you’re struggling for motivation, trying taking a step to speed up forward progress, just for today.

Practice Visualization

Visualization is a powerful tool for motivation. In the case of debt payoff or working toward financial independence, try visualizing your life without debt or with enough money so that you could retire if you wanted to. Hold on to that picture as you work through your boredom stage.

Practice Gratitude

There’s nothing like gratitude for kicking boredom right out of your life. For me, boredom always seems to come with a dose of self-pity. Does that happen to anyone else??

Then along comes a story that makes me pull up my big girls pants and start being grateful. The stories are everywhere – simply search around you or read the daily news.

Or make a list of all of the things you have. Food. Water. Shelter. Employment. Family. Friends. Freedom.

The list of what most have to be grateful for goes on and on, so use it to your advantage and kick boredom right out the window.

What long term goals are you working on right now? How do you work to stay motivated when working on long term goals?

17 comments on “How to Find Motivation When You’re Stuck in a Financial Rut

  1. Thanks for sharing these great tips, Laurie! My biggest long-term goal is to have enough money for my husband to quit his 9 to 5 – not to quit working, per se, just to be able to walk away and do something he’s only had time to dream about for years. But to get there sometimes seems like a huge mountain to climb and I get stuck in a rut of boredom too.

    Practicing gratitude is the main method I use to remind myself to be happy and content with all that I have right now, today. I also find motivation when I re-work the numbers because I can see the progress we have made so far, thus providing that momentum to keep going. I am going to try out your idea of speeding up forward progress and see how that goes πŸ™‚ !

  2. Our long term goals we are working on are college funding and building wealth. It can be slow and tedious process. We stay motivated by thinking about how far we have come and by reminding ourselves of the benefits once we reach the end. So the visualization point is spot on for us.

    I think talking with others is a good way to help stay motivated too. Hearing what challenges others are facing is a great help keep thinks in perspective in your own world.

  3. I’m sorry you’re feeling in such a rut, Laurie. What I hope for you is lots of opportunity to “Do Something to Speed Up Forward Progress”. Sometimes, your level best means you’re keeping your head above water, and sometimes, it means you’re taking out huge chunks of debt. Same “level best” – but such radically different results. And of course, there’s so much more encouragement when the debt falls. Big, warm hopes for encouragement through forward progress coming your way from the north!

    1. You’re always so encouraging, Ruth – thank you. πŸ™‚ I know that God will catapult our efforts. πŸ™‚

  4. We have definitely felt bored and impatient while working toward big financial goals. Even if you are making progress, you’re just doing the same old thing to get there. I agree visualization and gratitude help. I think considering the anti-thesis, your alternative, also helps. “What else would I possibly do?” Over-spending is not an attractive option. Digging into deeper debt isn’t either. Boring financial progress it is!

  5. I think the value of one time wins is essential. One thing that my sister in law did was agree to clean out my in-laws attic if she could sell anything of value. She made close to $500 which was enough to pay for a simple vacation for their family. They are living close to the edge financially, so she has to do odd jobs to give them room for fun in the budget.

    Whenever Rob or I wants something that’s expensive and unnecessary, we look to sell a few old things. We used to use my side hustle money for frivolity, but now that goes to more basic things or savings.

  6. Your opening is about how I feel with our house! We only have 3 days until move in and it’s like having “senioritis” in high school. Ready to be done and going through the motions because you need to in order to graduate (or move in for this instance).

    With that being said, we are shifting from building the house to paying for the house. My wife & I rework the numbers on a monthly basis to see what we can cut or forego spending on a particular item for the upcoming month, etc.

  7. I find it best not to watch shows like House Hunters where people are complaining about something like laminate counter tops and I’m thinking, man, those look NICE. Then I feel like an idiot. How can I possibly like those? Shows like that can mess up your gratitude mojo for sure. Super post Laurie! πŸ™‚

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