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When I was on the track team in high school, our coach would constantly hound us about finishing our workouts strong. If we finished our drills and workouts strong, then come race day, we’d be much more likely to finish our races strong and do well. It’s not easy to finish strong when you are feeling tired, overwhelmed, and stressed– which is how most of us normally feel at the end of the year (or at least that’s how I feel!) Throw in a global pandemic and the insanity that is the year 2020 and I think we’re all just feeling a little burned out. If you are feeling a little burned financially as we close our this year, you are in the right place. Here’s how you can finish the year strong financially while keeping your peace of mind.
FIGURE OUT WHERE YOU ARE
The first thing you need to do to finish the year strong is to figure out exactly where you are financially. It can be tempting to do the exact opposite of this and bury your head in the sand, especially if you have debt that you are trying to tackle while simultaneously dealing with end of the year expenses like Christmas shopping. Burying your head in the sand and ignoring your finances will actually make you feel MORE overwhelmed than dealing with them head on– speaking from experience here. You can’t progress unless you know what your situation is. So take a close look at your finances. Look at your debt accounts– your credit cards, student loans, personal loans, or whatever debt you have. Track your spending. Look at your bank statements. See where things are. It’s counter intuitive but I promise it will actually make you feel better, or at least more in control. From there, you will be able to pick up the pieces. If you need help organizing your debt, the Paidback app helps you track your debt in one easy to see place and offers helpful debt tools– plus it’s free.
GET YOUR MINDSET RIGHT
When you’re running a race, as I did in track, it’s easy to let your mind and emotions take over about how tired you are feeling. You might even feel an inner voice telling you to stop– that you can’t do it. That you’re too tired to go on. Don’t give in to that! Instead, take a minute to think about why you are doing what you are doing. If your goal was to get out of debt– why did you set that goal in the first place? If you are trying to save money– what are you saving for? What’s your why? Frame your outlook with positivity rather than dread. Thinking about why you are doing what you’re doing will help you finish the year strong and give you the energy boost you need to meet your goals.
FOCUS ON PROGRESS
Another thing you can do to finish the year strong financially is to focus on the progress that you’ve made, rather than on how far you still have to go. On a flight not too long ago, my 5 year old son kept asking how much further we had to go. So I pulled up a map the plane had that showed where the plane was and how far away it was from our departing airport and how far it had to go to our destination. He quickly started complaining about how far the plane still had to go. I was quick to point out how far it had gone! Which is exactly what you should do. Focus on how far you’ve come and any progress that you’ve made. Progress is progress no matter how small!
When my husband and I set out to pay off our student loans, we had a lofty goal to pay them off within 5 years. So far we’re about 3.5 years in, and we just hit our half way mark. So it’s not looking like we’re going to meet our goal. When I focus on that, I feel unmotivated and frustrated. But instead, when I think about the fact that we’ve paid off $325,000 of debt on our own over the last 3.5 years, I feel really inspired and energized and thankful. Focus on the progress you’ve made– it will give you the energy you need to finish the year strong.
SET ATTAINABLE GOALS
There are still about 4 weeks left this year. That’s plenty of time to reach some goals. So set attainable ones. Can you pay off a certain amount of debt with your last couple of pay checks for the year? Can you stick to a budget for Christmas? Can you work a few extra hours or take on a side gig to help increase your income if needed? There are plenty of goals you can set to help you finish the year strong financially. You might not be able to meet all of the goals you set for yourself for 2020– that’s ok! Set small ones that you can accomplish this month.
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One of the best things you can do for yourself to finish the year strong is to practice gratitude. I know this year was rough on most of us globally and individually. We’re all dealing with tough stuff. I don’t mean to undermine that in any way. Those feelings of stress and overwhelm, sorrow, are all valid and I certainly don’t mean to dismiss them in any way. But, if you can focus on the things you have to be thankful for, you’ll be able to finish the year strong. Gratitude invites a strong force of energy that will help you finish the year strong.
Related: Why I’m Thankful for My Debt
You can finish this crazy year strong no matter what your circumstances are and what kind of crazy curve balls 2020 threw at you. Finishing strong isn’t about accomplishing every single task you put on your financial to-do list for 2020. It’s about doing what you can and doing it well and finding joy in doing so.
Ready to finish the year strong? Here are helpful tools to get your finances ready for 2021:
The Paidback app: free debt tracker, debt calculators, debt accountability and motivation.
Debt Payoff Starter Kit: free e-book series to help you get started paying off debt
Free Christmas Budget Printable – stay on budget this holiday season with our free Christmas budget printable and tools on how to get financially prepared for Christmas
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