I was reading some of my own favorite personal finance blogs over the weekend and someone was lamenting the fact that because they were deep in debt they had a hard time staying motivated since they could never reward themselves, even in a small way.
I can relate.
While I’m encouraged each pay-day that we are a little closer to debt freedom, our intensity for paying off debt means little money left for spending – frivolous or otherwise.
A number of things need updating around our house:
- The carpet is a mess thanks to our dogs tracking in mud
- The hand-me-down sofa my mom left us is in bad shape
- My grill is on its last leg
- We need to replace a ceiling fan
None of things are overly expensive, and of course we will save and pay cash, but we cannot justify doing so while in debt.
What is a Vision Board
I have used several variations of a “vision board” over the years; from small to large and virtual to physical vision boards.
When I returned to school to finish my undergraduate degree I kept a picture of my newborn daughter and a house in my wallet to remind me why I was sitting in a classroom for four hours a night.
When I was 15 years-old I hung a poster of a Silverado pickup truck in my room. When I was old enough to work I planned to save all of my money and buy one on my own.
To motivate me towards weight loss I posted a picture of a younger, skinnier version of myself on the bathroom mirror.
These days family life has my vision board looking different. My wife and I have pinned things like a new grill, new carpet and a new lawn mower. Not exactly extravagant, I know, but things we have put off to work off our debts.
We have a long-term board, too, for things like a new(er) car, a rental property and college tuition for the kids.
How to Create a Vision Board
There are dozens of ways to do this, but we keep a vision board on Pinterest.
We created a board under the Debt Reckoning Pinterest account and labeled it “Our Vision Board.” We pin things from around the web which represent items we want to include on our board.
A few items are somewhat abstract (What to Look for When Sofa Shopping) while others are very self-explanatory (How to Buy Your First Rental Property).
If we can’t find something representative of our goals we simply make our own graphic and pin it.
You can always mark your Pinterest vision board “Secret” if you don’t want to share it with all of Pinterest. This setting works well for wish-list items, too.
Staying Motivated for the Long Term
Over the years I have found it fairly easy to stay motivated in the short-term. I wake up, remind myself of my goals and get after them.
But after doing that for weeks, months or even years at a time, it’s natural that motivation begins to wane.
Old habits creep back in. Goals seem too far out. The shortest route looks more and more inviting.
That’s why vision boards are so powerful. Any time you feel your motivation slipping just go look at reminders of why you started this journey.
Do you use some kind of vision board or visual cue to help you stay motivated?