I feel most alive when I finally complete a long project and I am able to look back at my success. I am a very visionary and driven person by nature but even I struggle with motivation. Before I start a project, a drawing, a blog post, or save for retirement, I can clearly see what I want and expect the end result to look like.
Unfortunately, or fortunately, the end result is normally a slightly different version of what I had envisioned. Sometimes it’s better and sometimes it’s much worse. As I look over my life, I am truly blessed because I have achieved so much in a relatively short amount of time.
Don’t be fooled, my life has not always been sunshine and roses. I have plenty of demons and things that occasionally keep me up at night. As a police officer, I have seen terrible things I wish I could forget.
I have looked a man in the eyes who was quickly dying from gunshot wounds and I told him he would be, “ok” even though I knew it wasn’t the case. He held my hand and told me he was scared as I offered him whatever comfort I could as I watched my back for the unknown suspect.
I have hidden behind a block wall as barricaded suspects fired a gun in my direction as they hoped for a lucky shot.
I have told my best friend’s wife that he was shot on duty, and he was not doing well. I later carried his casket as we laid him to rest.
I do not shed some insight into my life for sympathy, but rather as an example. In this world, we are thrust into situations. We may enter at the beginning of a story, or at the end of someone’s story. These situations are not in our control but we are left to deal with them as best we can.
Too often I find myself focusing on situations I can not control. The situation is done and over with, but I continue to relive and overanalyze what happened and what I could have done differently. We can either spend our time trying to create complete stories out of fragments, or we can take control of our own life.
As I look back on things I have accomplished, my proudest moments are when I had a vision in my head and took steps each day to achieve it. Taking control of my personal financial life has helped me cope with the trauma and uncertainty of the things I experience that are out of my control.
My life is full of vision, as I’m sure yours is as well. I had the main vision of creating a family which I now have been blessed with. Within this large vision, I have several other smaller visions. Financial stress plagued me in my early years but over time, I have learned it is one of the stressors that we can actually control.
I created this blog with a vision in mind. My main vision was to create a resource for my children to follow in order to avoid financial stress. I wanted to record a financially sound way of living for my children to follow. It turns out, I have been fortunate enough to bless others with this information as well.
Let’s get back to the main point of this post. How to create something you’re proud of. Here is a simple formula to follow in order to be successful in your life to create and finish visions. The creation and completion of visions help to add a sense of certainty and structure in our lives in an uncertain world. With so many uncontrollable variables in your life, follow this path to ground yourself.
Throughout my lifetime, I have found that people are unreliable. Yes, you can have friends and support, but ultimately relying on others to achieve your vision can often leave you frustrated. Create a vision of what you want, such as a financial state, and make sure that you can accomplish it by yourself. Others may be able to accelerate your vision and help you achieve it faster, but don’t create a vision that NEEDS the support of others to achieve it.
For example, “I want to pay off $5000 of my debt by March.” Give yourself something specific to work towards. Avoid generalities to avoid losing motivation. For my blog, I have a set structure that involves two original posts each week. This has kept me on task and moving forward. My smaller goals within my main vision keep me moving to my ultimate dream of creating a successful resource for my children.
For instance, if you want to be debt free in 5 years, figure out what you need to do to achieve this vision. If you are $10,000 in debt, you will need to pay off $2,000 a year to achieve this vision in 5 years.
Break it down even further. $2,000 a year can still be difficult to measure, so look at it by month. If you want to pay $10,000 off in 5 years, you need to pay $166.67 a month to achieve this goal (not counting interest). Is that small enough for you or do you need to go smaller?
If you break it down to weekly, you need to save $38.46 a week to pay $10,000 in debt in 5 years. What if you could save twice as much a week? $80 saved each week would pay off your debt in less than 2.5 years!
Have a vision for yourself, but set up smaller habits and strategies to make your overall vision much easier to reach.
This is how I have been able to achieve so many projects and things in my life that I am proud of. I have an overall large vision, but I break it down into small deadlines that I know I need to meet. I even have things I do on a daily basis in order to someday achieve a much larger vision.
By creating good habits and structure in my life, I have been able to add a sense of normalcy and expected outcomes in an uncertain life. Honestly, this is probably what has kept me sane throughout my career.
Many of my friends have struggled to cope with the stress of our job which has led to suicide, depression, and self-medication. By setting up routines and structure, we can add a sense of balance to our lives rather than feeling like we are out of control.
I encourage you to create a vision of something that will add value to your life. If it is to be debt free, cement this vision in your mind and break it down to weekly or daily habits you need to do in order to reach your goal by a certain time.
You are much more capable than you realize. Give yourself credit and set yourself up for success. Create a budget and use it as a tool to keep you on track for your larger vision. Break it down to whatever scale you need in order to hold yourself accountable.
Avoid relying on chance or others in this life to achieve what you desire. Create your visions and go get them! If you need help creating a budget, head over to my article on budgets.
You can do this my friends and don’t be afraid to reach out for help. You work too hard to be this broke!
This post originally appeared on Arrest Your Debt.