Updated: Sep 17, 2020
Learning how to stay motivated is incredibly important if you’re paying off debt, trying to reach a savings goal, learning a new skill, or doing anything challenging.
I know how hard this is because I struggled at times with motivation when I was paying off my $40,000 in student loan debt in just 7 months.
And, one of the top questions I receive about my debt payoff story is how I was able to push myself and stay motivated to pay off all of my debt.
Paying off my debt was extremely hard – I will not lie about that!
I took on several side jobs to make extra money.
I had to wake up early in the morning to work on them before I went to my regular day job, and then I stayed up late working on my side jobs too.
And, to put all of my extra money towards my debt, I had to stop spending money on many things that I enjoyed in life.
Even though paying off my debt so quickly was one of the hardest things I have ever done, it was well worth it.
Finding ways to stay motivated during my debt payoff was very important, and I will share some of the things I did in this article.
Finding motivation and then learning how to keep yourself motivated can be a hard task for anyone. It’s hard if you’re trying to stick to a budget, to reach your savings goals, to save for retirement, and more. And many people have trouble staying motivated.
The motivation you need to start working on your goals is often the easiest to find. However, it can get harder as you go if you aren’t able to see your progress, taking care of yourself, surrounding yourself with the right people, and more. These are the times when you need motivation the most.
Motivation is important because it can help you keep your eye on the goal even when you want to quit. Motivation will help you continue to work hard towards your goal, even when it seems impossible. Motivation is what keeps you going so that you don’t give up on yourself.
Without motivation, most people would give up on a goal very easily. This is why it’s so important to learn how to stay motivated.
Whether your goal is finance-related, career-related, family-related, lifestyle-related, or something else, there are many ways to help you stay motivated so that you can reach it.
How to stay motivated – 12 tips to keep you reaching for your goals.
1. Remember the reasons for why you are doing this.
A big factor in staying motivated is to remember why you are trying for your goal in the first place. If there is no reason, then it would be very hard to stay motivated.
You should envision what your life will be like once you reach your goal, why you are trying so hard to reach it, and so on. A little daydreaming can go a long way every now and then.
If your goal is debt payoff, then your reason is probably so that you can stop living a stressful paycheck-to-paycheck lifestyle. Just keep dreaming about what a debt free life would be like!
Making your goal visual is a great way to find motivation.
Having your financial goal displayed in front of you can make it that much realer, plus it’s nice to have a constant reminder of what you’re working towards.
Here are several ways to make your financial goal visual:
Create a graphic that demonstrates your financial goal. You can download the free Debt Thermometer printable below.
Keep a picture of your goal on hand. Whether your goal is a vacation, an item you want, or something else, having a picture will remind you what you are working towards.
Start a blog. Blogging helped me a lot with my financial goals. I could easily look back to see how I was doing. Plus, I felt like I had to keep myself accountable and keep improving due to the fact that everything was public. If interested, you can sign up for my Free How To Start a Blog Course.
3. Read and watch financial media.
Money is all around you and it’s really not as boring as you may think. I read something related to personal finance every day and it’s not because I have a personal finance blog – it’s because I want to!
There are different ways to stay on top of financial media. You can watch the news, listen to financial podcasts, read personal finance blogs, read financial books, and more.
I recommend doing this because you may read about stories from others who are in a similar spot as you, learn new ideas, hear about some amazing money advice, and so on. I find that reading finance blogs is a great way to stay motivated, as I’m surrounding myself with others who are interested in improving their financial lives as well – and I learn so many new ways to live along the way!
If you’re looking for money-related books, some that I recommend include:
4. Set smaller goals in between.
Setting smaller goals for yourself as you work towards your larger goal can help you stay motivated because it will help you keep your mind on your goal. Smaller goals feel more approachable, which can build your confidence as you reach them.
Also, smaller goals can be a nice way to challenge yourself. Making it more of a game and a competition with yourself, instead of a chore, can go a long way.
For example: If your overall goal is to pay off $24,000 in debt in two years, then you might want to aim for $1,000 in debt payoff each month. This seems much more attainable than the $24,000 number, and this can help you stay motivated while still challenging yourself at the same time.
5. Keep track of your progress.
If you want to learn how to stay motivated with your financial goals, you should review your progress every now and then. You might want to check in daily, weekly, or monthly, depending on what type of goal you have and what works for you.
Keeping track of your progress is a good idea because it can tell you what you need to do in order to reach your goal, if you are behind, or if you need to make a change.
I highly recommend you check out Personal Capital (a free service) if you are interested in gaining control of your financial situation. Personal Capital allows you to aggregate your financial accounts so that you can easily see your financial situation, your cash flow, detailed graphs, and more.
You can also keep a journal, and a blog is a great way to keep track of your progress as well.
6. Adjust your goal if you need to.
After you check in on your progress, you might find that you need to make changes in order to reach your goal. You might decide to change your timeline, your goal entirely, or you might set different smaller goals in between your time frame.
You should always make sure your goal is what you want and that it is realistic, so doing this step is important.
7. Be kind to yourself when learning how to stay motivated.
Every now and then, you might fall off track or come short of your goal. If this happens, do not be too hard on yourself.
This is a very important step when learning how to stay motivated with your goals, as many people drag themselves down when they fall off track or aren’t making the progress they had hoped for.
Things happen, and instead of being negative, you should analyze what’s preventing you from making progress towards your goals and see what needs to be changed so that it doesn’t happen again.
8. Think about how you will feel in the future.
It can be hard to visualize your future when you’re just starting to learn how to pay off your debt, stick to a budget, reach a savings goal, save for retirement, and more.
One great way to stay motivated is to think about how you will feel as you make progress towards your goals, and definitely think about what it will feel like when you’ve reached your goal.
How will you feel once you pay off your debt, save a certain amount of money, or reach whatever financial goal it is that you have?
9. Reward yourself when you do become successful.
Whenever you reach one of your smaller goals, you may want to try rewarding yourself so that you can stay motivated.
A reward doesn’t mean that you are cheating your goal progress or that you will fall off the wagon. You can reward yourself in many ways – you just need to find what works for you while also staying on track.
A small reward is one of the best ways to learn how to stay motivated because it can give you a taste of how good it will feel when you reach your goal. Rewards also boost your confidence.
10. Stop comparing yourself to others.
You will make progress towards your goals differently than someone else who is working on the same goal. After all, everyone has different circumstances and limitations, and everyone starts at a different point.
If you compare yourself to others, you can easily lose motivation because it can cause you to think that you aren’t working as hard as someone else. You have no idea what’s going on in their life, if they have help, how long they have been working on their goal, etc.
Focus on yourself and your goals.
11. Surround yourself with people who motivate you.
One of the reasons blogging helped me stay motivated towards paying off my debt is because I got to know other people who were also working towards big goals and some people who had already reached them. It helped me see that debt payoff was possible, and I learned some great tips along the way.
The other bloggers I got to know keep me motivated to this day, and we’ve become good friends.
If you want to learn how to stay motivated, I recommend finding others who are working on similar goals. You can find bloggers, social media influencers, friends, family, etc.
Share your stories, and look to them for advice, guidance, and commiseration. Just remember, like I said in the last tip, don’t try to compare your progress to theirs.
12. Remember to still enjoy your life.
Learning how to stay motivated with your money-related goals means that you most likely still need to find ways to enjoy your life.
If you’re too tough on yourself, then you may lose motivation and maybe even become stressed.
Having financial goals doesn’t mean you have to be boring. You can still enjoy life, do many of the same things you usually do, and so on.
Remember to still have fun and enjoy life!
Are you interested in learning how to be more motivated with your budget, savings goals, and more?