“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett
In my posts over the year I have been blogging, I have mentioned a lot of creating a financial plan. It is certainly important to have goals, dreams and aspirations along with an idea of how you will get there. Plans do not always need to be elaborate, but rather just a guideline to help keep you in the direction you want to go.
In my financial plan, I have items to pay off listed such as medical bills, credit cards, student loans and more. When listing it all out, it can seem pretty daunting. Earlier this year, as I have mentioned previously, Cryssie and I paid off one of our cars early. Another big milestone we just reached was paying off the 401k loans we took out a few years ago. (Boy does it feel good to finally get those off our back!) But what happens when unexpected things come up? What do we do when things do not go according to plan?
Many times I would set financial plans as if they were set in stone. Then when things didn’t go my way, the feeling of failure set it. I wanted to save X amount by Y date. I wanted to pay off X amount by Y date. My goal date comes, I look at my progress and I see that I fall short. However, this is one of the best things that can happen!
Imagine if every goal you set, financial or otherwise, was met. Yes, our goals take a lot of work and we keep our noses to the grindstone sometimes to make them happen. However if ever goal we set out for ourselves was met, we would never see failure. Failure it a good thing. Through failure is how we learn and grow as individuals. Through failure is how our marriages and partnerships can grow. By learning what not to do, we can focus more of our efforts on what we know we need to do and what we know works.
Years ago, I would set financial plans and get all excited that I was on the road to financial freedom. Over and over again, something would come up that was unexpected. This would throw me off my plan and I had the attitude of “if it’s messed up now, why even continue?” My goal would be scrapped and progress would be lost.
Today, I look at my goals very differently. I see the error in my ways and I have made adjustments to my methods. I see now that when something comes along to throw me off track (and something always comes along), I may need to take a step or two back, but I certainly don’t need to reset myself all the way to the beginning.
For instance, when I took baby bonding time from work earlier this year and my paycheck was delayed, it certainly put a halt to my debt payoff plan. When I received the back pay and my paychecks normalized again, did I throw away the plan and start all over from square one? No, I picked myself up, dusted myself off and continued where I left off. Sure, I lost some momentum in the process, but I am still heading toward the main goal.
I did not give up, I did not call it quits. Things did not go according to plan. In these cases, it is important to re-focus ourselves and move on. This was very eye-opening to me. I realize now that there are so many goals that I was striving for in my past that I gave up on simply because things got difficult and there were roadblocks along the way. Looking back on this, I know that during the journey to achieve my goals, I can be my own greatest motivator or I can be my own worst enemy. Ultimately, the decision is my own.