There’s a classic optical illusion that features a drawing of an elderly woman or a young woman, depending on how you look at it. It’s purposefully ambiguous. The nose of the elder woman could be seen as the chin and jawline of the younger. The ear of the younger could be seen as the eye of the elder.
The difference is in how you look at it.
As a financial counselor, I work with people to help them reach their financial goals. The process almost always entails, at minimum, a discussion about goals, a comprehensive review of assets and liabilities, putting together a comprehensive budget, and creating an action plan that details steps a person can take to reach their financial goals.
Once that’s done, the real effort begins as the person sets out to follow through on steps to reach the goal.
Now, to a budgeting nerd like me, that sounds exciting. The chance to sit down with someone and plan out the steps needed in order to reach some life-changing goals sounds thrilling...to me. But in truth, for most people, there isn’t a great sense of excitement surrounding the process. Talking money isn’t sexy. People are rarely excited to talk to me about personal finances. No one in my office is sitting at the edge of their seat champing at the bit to dive into the process.
Working toward financial goals requires discipline over time; many times, it requires sacrifice. And sometimes working toward your goals or dealing with a financial problem can become monotonous and tedious. In fact, some people avoid it, which just compounds the problem or delays the progress.
But that’s just one way to look at the situation. If you shift your perspective just a bit, you can see something very different.
It may not be thrilling to pore over numbers and make tough decisions. But do you know what is thrilling? Pulling out of the car lot in the vehicle you just purchased, taking your seat in the plane as you wait for takeoff to an exotic locale, pulling into the driveway of your new home, retiring early ...
I could go on and on. Don’t let the way you look at the task of dealing with money keep you from making changes for the better. Focus on your goals and remind yourself why you are working so hard. Don’t let tedium derail you from working toward your goal. Set smaller milestone goals and celebrate the successes. Working toward financial goals doesn’t have to be boring. Find your own ways to get excited about it, and see it from a different perspective – the perspective of possibility.