5 reasons why we give up on our financial goals

Why few people manage to save enough money to retire in peace, and how to stop living from paycheck to paycheck.

1. Spending money is fun, saving is not

Buying something new is very pleasant, especially if you’ve wanted it for a long time. The problem is that this feeling quickly evaporates, and you’re left with yet another unwanted item. Of course, we rarely think about it at the time of purchase, thinking only of the short-term pleasure, even though it hurts our long-term goals.

Spend your free time on free or inexpensive pleasures
Instead of spending money on short-term pleasures, it’s better to spend your time on things that really bring you joy. And abandon unnecessary activities, such as watching not particularly interesting TV shows or aimless internet surfing.

Think about your spending
Think back on your latest purchases and admit that the pleasure of making them didn’t last long at all. And then imagine that that money could be in your account right now and be the next step toward your big financial goal. Remind yourself of this more often, like every time you shower or drive to work.

Change your social circle
Friends shouldn’t come with a price tag. If you find that your social circle influences you to spend a lot of money, try to change things.

Agree to refrain from spending extra money, and to have dinner together at home instead of in a restaurant. If you’re going out with a group, spend the money only on things that interest you, and refuse the rest. The bottom line is that hanging out with friends shouldn’t hurt your pocket.

2. Financial goals are always long-term

We are by nature rather impatient, and when a goal takes years or decades to achieve, it’s very easy to forget why that goal is important to us at all. It seems to us that it has no effect on our daily lives, that we will achieve it “someday. And so we stop striving for it.

Focus on micro goals for a day, a week, or a month
For example, set yourself a goal this month not to spend at all on your hobbies, or by the end of the month to increase your savings to a certain amount, or make a new habit that will help you save money.

Think about what you’ve already accomplished, not how much more you have to do
Think back to where you were a year ago. How about six months ago? Even just a month ago? Has your income increased in that time? Has the amount of debt decreased? When you see that there really is progress, it will be easier for you to move toward your big goal.

Get into habits that will help you save money
It’s more effective not to set yourself a goal limited by a rigid framework, but to repeat some helpful action related to your goal, day after day, until it becomes a habit.

For example, if you eat out a lot and decide to save on that spending, you need to cook more and take food with you every day. There are many activities in life that are worth accustoming yourself to. So you can change your sleep patterns, meals, and approach to spending.

3. Financial goals do not require vigorous action

Often we vigorously embark on things, but then the enthusiasm fades, we forget why the goal was so important to us. We feel sorry for putting money aside for it, and we end up just giving it up. That’s why it’s so important to find ways to keep the big goals in mind while slowly moving toward them.

Engage in things that will help you save money
Think about what proactive activities will help you save money and put it toward a bigger goal. Maybe you should prepare meals and freeze portions in advance, repair minor car breakdowns yourself, or do some insulation in your apartment.

Do something that will help you increase your income
You can start a micro-business in your spare time, like starting your own channel on YouTube. You can get additional education or take advanced courses. You can just put more effort into your job to get a promotion. You just need to try and find the time for this.

Find the like-minded people
Look for groups of like-minded people in your city, for example on the Meetup site. Connecting with people who, like you, are looking to save money or start their own business will help you find the inspiration and strength to start moving in the right direction.

4. Financial goals seem out of reach

When a financial goal is many times your annual income (as is the case with retirement savings), it may seem impossible to reach it at all. But there’s no need to give up.

Break down the big goal into smaller steps
The final sum may seem out of reach, but what about the first milestone toward your goal? That amount isn’t so intimidating anymore. Try dividing your big goal into several steps, for example with a year in between. Passing stage by stage, you will gradually reach the final goal.

Think about what’s important to you other than finances
Don’t get hung up on money, think about other areas of your life. What is really important to you? What do you spend your time on? Are you happy with where you live? Are you happy with your job?

When we change at least one thing for the better, big goals don’t seem so scary anymore and it becomes easier to achieve them.

Make your goal more realistic if it looks overwhelming
If you’ve broken your goal down into smaller steps and tried to find a new approach to spending, and the amount is still unattainable, then you’ve simply overestimated it. In that case, don’t be afraid to change your expectations. Try to find a way to reduce the amount you’re aiming for. Or move your goal forward a few years, so that you have enough time to reach it.

5. Life interferes with our plans all the time

No matter how good your plan is, life will always make adjustments. You might lose your job or get sick. Your car might break down or your neighbors might flood. Because of these unforeseen expenses we deviate from the goal and lose faith in its attainability. Try to protect yourself from these problems.

Have a contingency fund for emergencies
It’s not that hard to do. Open a separate account and transfer small amounts of money to it every week. If possible, set up automatic transfers. That’s it. Now, when something happens, you won’t have to panic or borrow money.

Of course, you can use a credit card as a last resort, but you have to be careful with it. If you accumulate debt on such a card, you’ll only make your life even more difficult.

Reduce unnecessary risks
Think about what is most likely to prevent you from reaching your goal. Maybe you have health problems or you know that your car is about to break down. Try to identify such risks in your life and reduce their number.

Prepare ahead of time for upcoming expenses
You know when you have to pay bills and taxes, so why not prepare for that in advance? Start setting aside money for such expenses so they don’t distract you on your way to your big financial goal.