Personal Finance

Finish the year strong

“Love the life you live. Live the life you love.” – Bob Marley

As the last month of 2013 begins it’s really easy to get caught up in the “most wonderful time of the year.” There is so much to do and so much to think about before the schools finish and the offices close for the holidays that sometimes it feels as though December is only three weeks long! A few months ago, I wrote about how I was declaring September as New Year so that I didn’t lose momentum on my goals as the year started to wind down. There is something very powerful about setting a goal and pursuing it and when I came across the Bob Marley quote above it reminded me that where we are in life, and where we go, it really does come down to a combination of perspective and ambition.

Related article: Setting financial goals

This is especially true when it comes to building a strong financial foundation and creating a solid financial future.

Love the life you live

Whether the glass is half full or half empty comes down to a question of perspective. The same is true when it comes to feeling happy with our financial situation and all too often we get caught up in focussing on what we don’t have instead of taking the time to look at what we do have. With an abundance of commercials and media ads encouraging us to “buy buy, buy”, it’s very easy, especially at this time of year, to feel as though we have to have more in order to be happy. We often make connections that don’t actually exist between success and material possessions and assume that, as we achieve higher levels of success, this automatically means that we have to accumulate more “stuff” so that other people can see just how successful we are.

To me, the concept of loving the life you live means finding happiness in what you have and acknowledging everything you accomplished in order to have it. It also means taking the time to enjoy what you’ve worked hard for and indulging yourself from time to time. This is something that “spenders” find all too easy and that many “savers” find challenging; it can be tough to overcome the fears they have about spending money on themselves or those they care about instead of stashing it away for the future but planning for spending as well as for saving is part of good money management.

Live the life you love

Life is far too short to be miserable but all too often we forget (or choose to ignore) that we have total control over the direction of our lives. I’m a huge believer in the power of setting goals and I can absolutely attest to the fact that having a goal to work towards can energize and motivate you even when times are tough. Setting financial goals for yourself allows you to take control of your financial health and to chart a path to achieve whatever financial success means to you. My friend, Joanne has often reminded me that “there’s no comfort in a growth zone and there’s no growth in a comfort zone” and she’s absolutely right. Too often, we’re content to stay in ‘comfortable discomfort’ rather than make a move that will lead to positive change.

Related article: The power of change

It’s far easier to devote energy to complaining or worrying about debt than it is to direct energy into making the changes necessary to eliminate it. It’s easier to stay in a job we dislike than to take the scary step of looking for something better but the rewards that go along with making those changes are almost impossible to number. Living the life you love is about defining what it is that’s important to you, charting a plan that will take you there and then doing whatever it takes to accomplish the goal. It’s said that nothing worth having comes easy but I’ve found that we often imagine things will be much harder to achieve than they actually are; sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and start moving.

As 2013 draws to a close it’s the perfect time to start thinking about 2014 and what you’d like to accomplish by this time next year. When it comes to setting financial goals, a good place to start is by figuring out your net worth; not only will it give you a sense of how healthy you are financially but you can also use it as a marker to track your progress from year to year.

Related article: Improving your financial health

This is also the perfect time to stop for a moment and focus your attention on everything positive in your life, to celebrate everything that you’ve accomplished this year and to appreciate everyone around you who has helped and encouraged you in that journey. As always, if you’d like to share your stories, goals, and successes, I’d love to hear them!

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