five ways to get back on track

July 24th, 2008

Five Ways To Get Back On Track

June was an interesting month.  Although I did not get majorly off track with my financial goals, I let a lot of things slide, and I *felt* like I was off track and losing focus.   And when I feel like that, it is easy to let myself slide a little more and a little more until I become completely set back.  This didn’t happen, because by the time July rolled around I realized what was happening and made some changes to get refocused and ready to move forward.  If you start to feel off track with your goals, here are five things I did that helped me to get right back on track.

1.  Keep records.  Looking at my budget sheet was the easiest way for me to see where things were going off kilter and come up with ways to correct it.  Between visitors and medical procedures in June, it was easy to not keep track of what we were spending, but I did keep receipts and eventually sat down and caught everything up on my budget worksheet.  Then I could look at what we had and where we were and explore ways to get us back on the right track.

2.  Reassess your goals.  This is not to say that your goals need to be changed.  rather, reassessing your goals puts you back in touch with them and reminds you why you have them in the first place.  A goal that you are invested in is a goal you’re more likely to care about meeting.

3.  Remind yourself that a setback is not cause for failure.  In the past, once I got off track I used that as an excuse to continue to be off track and get further and further away from my original intention.  This time, instead of saying “Oh, well, I’ve already X so why don’t I just Y” I looked forward to where I wanted to be and used that as motivation not to go further off track.

4.  Take small positive steps in the right direction.  Sometimes, we just need a little nudge.  Taking small positive steps to get back on track – like making an extra snowflake – can get us refocused and back on task.

5.  When all else fails, institute a 5 day spending freeze.  Sometimes a shock to the system is what is needed.  If you need a drastic measure to jolt you back to reality, institute a spending freeze.  get yourself out of the habit of spending money without thinking about it.  Think about everything.

Hopefully, you’ve stayed on course with your financial goals, but I know it is easy to slip a little, and the key is to not let a little slip become a huge landslide.  And even if it becomes a landslide – you can pick up and move forward.  Don’t let a misstep completely derail your plans and goals for the future.

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15 Responses to “Five Ways To Get Back On Track”

  1. As a result of reading your blog, I started to pay off my remaining debt (car & student loan). I can feel financially setback from week to week still. It is all about focusing on what you REALLY want. The two words that are in my mantra are freedom and libery (from debt) and the relief of having it gone. To some it can feel like weight – to others it can feel like something is dragging you down. To me, I take the analogy from the Hicks of The Law of Attraction. To paraphrase – there is a huge relief when you take your hand off the hot stove. With freedom comes relief. That is my focus. Freedom and the relief that comes from not being in debt. The opportunities after that are endless.

  2. Great advice! I know that it helps me to have a written budget and online banking. I can quickly check things and see what I need to do to get back on track. I also like a spending freeze, though I haven’t done a five day one yet!

  3. I have an every day spending freeze!!! My only outgo is for monthly bills, weekly food and bi weekly gas right now. It certainly makes it easy to track expenses.

  4. I certainly agree with the keeping track part….since I have started my site, there have been several times when I was on the verge of spending money and stopped myself because then I would have to blog about it. This stops me from spending for two reasons, first because I am a little bit lazy and don’t always want to go through the effort of writing a post. Second, because I reconsider and think if this is something that my blogging community would approve of me spending money on in my current situation.

  5. GrannyAnnie Says:

    July 25th, 2008 at 11:39 am

    What a timely read for me! I just took the grandpa and the grandchildren to Wally World last night and came away $150 poorer. Just an impulsive decision to go “look around and get each one a toy and maybe an outfit for school”. Yes, I have a written budget. No, this little excursion wasn’t in it. Yes, that little nagging voice was in my head the whole time, but the little devil on my other shoulder was just steady arguing that I DESERVED a little RELIEF from frugality and budget constraints and financial goal setting and debt reduction. So I sat down at my desk this morning (kinda like a hangover, ya know?) and juggled the budget and took from other categories (aka borrowing from Peter to pay Paul) and figured it out. No, I’m not broke, but the next 3 or 4 days are certainly going to be spending freeze days. I also think I’m going to start budgeting $10 per paycheck so that once every few months we can do this WITHOUT the hangover…

  6. My spending freeze is on – and it’s for a month or 6 wks if I can make it…just NO going to the grocery store :) (no kids at home so no need for fresh milk etc) With the garden producing so well, I need to eat it while it’s fresh, and freeze/dry the rest. I’ve been out of the grocery store for over 2 wks now, and haven’t missed it :) We’ll see how long it goes … some of these meals are kind of interesting – just depends on what is ripe/picked that day.

  7. Good post! And so universally applicable, I wrote my blog around it (tracking back to yours for financial focus), tailoring it to those whose goals are weight loss and changing their lifestyles.

    What Granny Annie says is so true in dieting. We often will just pig out in anger at being on a “diet” and then hate ourselves for doing it. Making that sounds extreme, but that gives an idea of how our emotions can cause us to eat and spend when we know we shouldn’t. Good for Granny Annie in sitting down with her budget afterwards and figuring out how to get back on track!

    I got my discover bill today and was shocked til I looked at it and remembered I had to replace two tires this month that I had not expected. I need to go in now and readjust my bill paying schedules so that is paid off this month.

    Love your blogs!

  8. Love these all! I’ve been feeling a bit stuck lately, so I’m bookmarking this for reference this week as I prepare our budget for August. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Terrific post … all the steps you listed have been meaningful & relevant in my financial journey. there are two that really stick out for me though:
    #1 was the first real step for Craig & I. It really put the whole money in/money out into perspective. Because it can be SO EASY to live in denial!
    #2 was important for us as well. When you’ve been married a long time, like us, goals & priorities change. (Heck, even my 24 year old son has recently re-evaluated his financial goals)!
    It’s really an important step that all the rest are kind of built on!

  10. That’s right. The bottom line here is to keep a positive nature. Don’t lose hope when you think you did something out of your plan. :)

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