Earlier this week, Americans celebratedINDEPENDENCE DAY. In a nutshell, this is acelebration of the original American colonies’ approved a resolution that separated them from England. Either I’m not clear on whatexactly happened, or the colonists really knew how to throw one hell of a party. Hot dog eating contests, barbeques, fireworks, Twilight Zone marathons, and every other form of entertainment that colonials could ask for were readily available to celebrate the idea that is now the United States of America*.
America is good for celebrations. I’m not knocking any other country, but it tells you how much we know how to party when we combine alcohol and lighting stuff on fire! THAT is what a party should look like. Anyway, America, as a country is great for parties and celebrations. But as individuals, sometimes we allow ourselves to get mired in details and negativity so we can’t even see a reason to celebrate.
Right now, we are right in the middle of the Greater Depression. Many people have lost their jobs over the past decade or so. In fact, just going by the numbers that the government (underreports) 9.2 per cent of the people who are able and desirous of full-time employment are unable to find a suitable job.
Many families and individuals have gone on a fiscal diet where we eat fewer “greens” and strive to live within the confines of our income. People are spending less, and starting to save and pay off debt in ever-increasing numbers. People are scared, and with good reason. But too many people are allowing their fears to stop them from seeing reasons to celebrate! Let’s look at some of these reasons.
1. Many people are unable to find suitable full-time employment. Some of those people give up trying to look. So, if you are one of those people who do have a job, even if it is part-time, you have a leg up on a lot of people. You should celebrate this victory, even if it isn’t a complete victory, or even if you aren’t completely thrilled with the job you now have.
2. While you might be one of those people who are living much more frugally than before, you are probably spending a lot of time paying off credit cards. That’s great! Debt equals stress, and if you can avoid one, you go a long way towards avoiding both. So as you pay off debt lines (credit cards), or your car, or anything, celebrate it! Sure, you might be only making the first steps, but you are making steps. You deserve to acknowledge that.
3. If you have worked hard, and have made the right decisions that have allowed you to save a few dollars, you are way ahead of many of your peers.
“But Wil, if I celebrate all these little successes, I’ll go broke, or I’ll lose my focus, or I’ll just get frustrated when I realize how far away from my goals I am, or meow meow meow blah!” Sorry, I stopped listening so I’m not sure exactly what your excuses for not celebrating are, but I can tell you that they are B.S. and you need to wrap your head around that fact.
Look, when I quit smoking (yeah, I’m finally admitting that I’ve quit), I celebrated after I made it that first week. I celebrated again the next week. I celebrated again after I was able to withstand a very stressful couple of weeks for my family. I celebrated when I was able to be around smokers without cravings or without being that prick that judges others who haven’t made the decision to quit. I believe that my celebrations motivated me to not fail because the goal seemed too large and unattainable.
When you are celebrating small fiscal victories, I’m not saying you need to have a huge, blow-out party, or spend a ton of money. That would be the opposite of what you need to do. But maybe you buy a fairly nice dinner when you pay off a large credit card. Make sure you pay cash; you wouldn’t want to charge on the card you just paid off. Maybe you go to a bookstore and buy a CD or book that you would enjoy when you add another $100.00 to your savings account.
“But Wil isn’t spending money exactly what I’m trying to avoid?”
In large part, yes it is. I’m not going to lie to you here. Having small celebrations might slow you down on reaching your ultimate goals. A little bit. But you will gain the motivation to keep going, and you might even develop the motivation to have bigger celebrations for reaching bigger goals. Whatever works for you, go with it.
One word of caution: Moderation.
Keep your celebrations to scale with your successes. You don’t need a trip to Vegas when you get a new part-time job!
I’ve had this song stuck in my head for a while now. I like it because it is a great feel good song with a bouncy little beat. I hope you enjoy!