Great, your money plan is working, so what could possibly go wrong? We’d like to think nothing. But just like a fitness or weight loss goal, we can hit a plateau. And then we just seem to stagnate and things go no where for a while.
The same can happen with your money plan. Everything’s going well and then for some reason, momentum slows and it can be really difficult to get moving again. As with any plateau, the temptation is to give up rather than push through to the next level.
Here are three reasons you might plateau and how to get yourself moving again.
- You just get bored.
Everything’s going along well, and it’s just that: you get a bit bored. A bit comfortable. Of course you don’t want your finances to be a rollercoaster ride, but when boredom sets in, it can be easy to slip back into old habits. Maybe you get a pay rise and instead of allocating some of the extra to savings or debt reduction and some to lifestyle, you spend the whole lot.
- The novelty starts to wear off.
It was all exciting and motivating making change and seeing progress. But then you hit the, “Why am I doing this?” phase. It happens with exercise as well – you’re up at the crack of dawn to go for a run when your friends are still asleep in bed, and you wonder why on earth you’re doing it. It’s very easy in this phase to give up on your plan. It all feels too hard. You’d rather just pull the blankets back over your head.
- It’s taking too long.
Maybe you’re feeling restless and a bit frustrated that you’re not as far ahead as you thought you should be. You are starting to see some results, but they’re just not happening fast enough. You want to move things up a notch.
So now what? Yes, you’ve hit a plateau. It’s a thing and it’s okay. You’ve got your money plan in place, your systems are working well and you can see your debt going down and savings going up. But you’ve momentarily forgotten your goals and why you started down this path in the first place.
The good news is there are some easy fixes! When you hit the plateau it’s time to revisit your goals. Maybe they’re just too far out. So set smaller, more exciting goals. For example, instead of “pay off my student loan of $8,000,” you could set a shorter goal like “reduce my student loan by $1,000 and start savings for a trip overseas.” This can help to re-energize you and get you moving again. It’s more achievable.
Review your finances. Things may have changed. Income could have gone up. Or you might’ve experienced some spending creep, and you just haven’t taken it into account or noticed it. Tweaking your plan and realigning your goals can give your motivation the boost that it needs.
Remember, it does take time to reduce debt and build some savings. So while things are running along nicely, start learning and researching what the next phase is. Use the time to find out more about investing, or buying a house, or whatever it is you want to achieve in the longer term.
Reward yourself. Take a look back at your personal balance sheet (what you owe and what you own) from when you started this journey and compare to where you are now. While you may feel as if you haven’t moved very far, looking at the evidence and improvements you’ve made gives you a sense of achievement and success. Give yourself a pat on the back. Treat yourself, refocus, and keep on moving forward.
If you’re feeling stuck in your financial management, you’ve probably plateaued and you need to do something different to get yourself moving again. Give us a call and we can help you give your headspace and your systems an overhaul.