What’s Your Motivation?

As I sit in my office and look out the window, I can see a number of people and a few pieces of construction equipment busy at work about a quarter of a mile away. It just happens to perfectly line up that I can see the workers if I turn my head to the left from my natural position at work.

At first, the construction somewhat annoyed me. I can hear the construction noises throughout the day as I’m working and they, at times, can be a mild distraction. The workers are also building something that is going to sit right in my view out of my office window.

What are they building, you ask? A house. A very nice house, in fact.

A few days ago, while I was working on an article, I turned my head and watched the construction work for a bit when I suddenly realized something. The house they were building is not too dis-similar from the house I would love to build someday. It’s fairly isolated with plenty of yard space but also with access to the forest. If I understand the floor plan correctly, it has nice, large bedrooms and a nice kitchen, which are the two features I most like in homes.

Since then, whenever I hear that noise, it actually pushes me a little bit. That noise, instead of being an annoyance, is a reminder of my big goals in life. That noise tells me to keep doing what I’m doing, to push forward to big things.

It has been extremely useful to have such a constant motivator around me. It keeps my nose to the grindstone all day long. Whenever I look out the window, I see the work. Whenever I pause for a minute, the noise from the work comes in loud and clear.

In fact, I’m going to dearly miss them when they go away. I’m considering setting up a series of sound files and some desktop wallpaper on my computer to remind me of them when they leave.

This brings me around to my central point: what’s your motivator?

Personal finance success is often borne out of specific, concrete long term goals. For me right now, my biggest goal is a nice home in the country.

Quite often, personal finance mistakes come about when we lose sight of those goals. We place short term wants and desires ahead of these big goals or we simply don’t even think of them when the moment of decision comes.

It’s in those moments that a reminder can really help. For example, if I’m sitting in my office and I get an email from a reader about some great deal they found, I might be tempted to take advantage of it. But all I have to do is open my ears a little bit and that construction noise comes in. That reminds me of my big long-term goal and makes me rethink my purchase.

What’s your motivation? What can you surround yourself with that will remind you of your goals? If you find a visual or audio reminder, here are some places you can put it:
+ on your refrigerator
+ taped to the bottom of the rear-view mirror in your car
+ as your desktop wallpaper
+ as a regular sound on your computer
+ in your wallet, wrapped around your credit card
+ on your bedside table

The key thing is to push your long-term goals so deeply into your thoughts that it becomes wholly natural to consider them before you make any choices. When you do that, you’ll be on the fast track to success.

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