A post by the Financial Samurai got me thinking about motivation.
Motivation is a fickle wee beastie. It is a sneaky beastie that is hard to track down and even harder to capture (it’s angry and poisonous some say).
Motivation comes in peaks and troughs for work, study, physical challenges etc.
I always found it easier to get the motivation for a physical challenge, it’s just that much more tangible. Let’s say you set yourself a challenge to cycle a 100 miles in under 6 hours by the end of June, you either do it or you fail. And it is very easy to take stock of your progress towards the goal, pretty humbling setting out on a training ride to return defeated and tired after only 50 miles.
But that’s short term. How do you keep your motivation towards a long term goal, when those around you are chirping in your ear to come on a skiing holiday, when the media is telling you that you NEED an Xbox One, when spending £100 doesn’t seem like much in the grand scheme of things, when your mate has a sweet new car etc etc etc. And all this time motivation is being sneaky and eluding you.
Setting some tangible goals in both the long and short term seems to help me. Just having the one long term goal can seem too far off to focus on. Achieving financial independence by the time your 50 is superb idea, but it’s a long way off. It’s appeal will begin to fade if that’s the only goal you’ve set while your mates are tearing it up in their new Audi R8s.
Short term goals, yearly, quarterly, monthly or daily (go crazy) certainly help me.
A change in perspective
Back in my rock and roll past I trained as an accountant.
Part of the job was studying for (and passing) exams. I was quite lucky, in that I had a study package with my employer to support me. Time off and tutorials paid for were a great help. But we still had to put a lot of study in ourselves. In the morning before work, in the evenings, on the train, at the weekends or on the bog at work. You had to squeeze the study out somewhere.
Students would generally start well but the shy wee beastie of motivation would soon be scared away and the hours of study would soon diminish, exams would be failed and tears would flow.
Say passing the exam granted you the key to a payrise of £750 and you had to put in 150 hours of study to pass. (Of if your brain is made of cheese like mine, then the brute force of 300 hours is probably about right).
Per hour: You could equate the study to an hourly salary…. £5 an hour. Pretty poor, you’d be better off working at McD’s in your spare time.
Monthly increase: Maybe the monthly increase in take home will motivate you…it works out at £42.50 a month. A couple of meals out a month for your efforts, perhaps not the most inspiring.
Increase in the Present Value (PV) of your earnings: If we consider the payrise as a constant increase in our earnings potential, that will compound as we get future payrises. To make things really simple, let’s say that payrises are exactly in line with inflation and tax doesn’t exist (hoot!). If we pass the exam at 25 and work until we are 65, that’s 40 years. (Shhhhhh, no one needs to know about our plans for early retirement). This means the exam is worth – 40 x £750 = £30,000, in terms of increasing our PV of earnings. Pretty sure if someone offered £30k in cash the pass rate of that exam would sky rocket. Sounds a lot better than £42.50 a month but it’s the same thing.
Sometimes thinking about a goal in a different way can help. Unsure what could seem more appealing than work becoming optional or having enough passive income to just travel the world freely, but I will try to keep my peepers open for a different perspective on FI should I need it,
Having a variety of goals also helps to tame the beastie of motivation, for it likes a change.
Putting all your energy into one goal, financial independence by 50, is likely going to result in a burn out. Unless you are slightly unhinged and able to focus on one thing for that length of time.
Other goals provide a distraction for your energy. For the 2015 my others are to get my golf handicap below 20, complete a 200 mile cycle without perishing and aim to post, on average, once a week here.
|Standard day chasing motivation|
I’ve got my armour on, long sword at the ready and I’m going to catch myself the shy beastie that is motivation.