You Won’t Always Reach Your Goals—and That’s Okay

Aim at Nothing You Wont Always Reach Your Goals—and Thats Okay

There’s a famous quote from Zig Ziglar that says, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” These words are typically used to inspire people without goals, to motivate them to work toward something rather than bemoaning everything that’s wrong with their life.

For me, I’m thinking of these words today to encourage myself to persevere when life takes turns that keep me from reaching the goals I’ve set for myself. When you’re a goal-setter, you can get frustrated when you run into unforeseen obstacles impede your progress, but do your best to look on the bright side.

Would you rather be frustrated in life because you’re not reaching your goals as fast as you’d like, or because you have no goals at all?

Forget the Law of Attraction—How the Universe Really Works

Law of Attraction Forget the Law of Attraction—How the Universe Really Works

One of the most popular false ideas I’m seeing more and more lately is the pseudo-science called the Law of Attraction. Somewhat like karma, the Law of Attraction is the belief that “like energy attracts like.” Most people who follow this false belief commonly relate it to positive thinking, believing that if they think positive thoughts then the universe will align itself to work positively in their lives.

What a load of hogwash.

I’ll be the first one to admit that an optimist will typically have a better day than a pessimist, but this is a gross over-generalization. In truth, what people are experiencing is an ancient concept called the Law of Sowing and Reaping.

Sowing and reaping are agricultural concepts that are very easy to comprehend. If a farmer wants corn, he has to plant corn. It’s not a stretch to understand that a farmer can’t plant apple seeds in the hopes of reaping a corn harvest.

Beyond this, a farmer also understands there’s a great deal of work involved in order to reap a good harvest. The soil has to be prepared properly—stones and weeds removed, and the field plowed. The seed must be planted properly and at the right time of year. The soil must be watered regularly, but not too much. Weeds and pests are battled daily and plants are pruned. And finally, even after the farmer successfully grows a good crop, he must do the work of reaping at the right time—too early and the crop isn’t ripe, too late an the crop rots away.

Nowhere in this scenario do you find a farmer spending time meditating to align his thoughts in a positive way in the hopes that universe will produce a bumper crop. Life just doesn’t work that way. Sure, the farmer who gets up with a good attitude will have a more enjoyable and potentially productive day, but his good attitude doesn’t make or break his crop yield as long as he does the hard work of reaping and sowing.

We live in a universe of cause and effect. I believe God created our universe and set up laws that govern the outcomes of life. If you truly want to tap into a higher power, then pray to the God who made you to help you do what you’re incapable of doing on your own, but realize that God expects you to work and accomplish what you can do.

Do not be deceived: God is not mocked,
for whatever one sows, that will he also reap.
Galatians 6:7

Forget the Law of Attraction and live your life according to the Law of Sowing and Reaping. Realize that we get out of life what we put into it, and that this universal truth of sowing can reap exponential results. Just as a single grain of corn when planted and cared for properly can produce a tall plant that yields hundreds of corn kernels in return, so too can your work multiply when you work hard and cultivate your life the way you should.

Live Like You’re on a Fixed Income

One of the best practices you can put into place that will help you get your spending and finances under control is to begin living as if you’re on a fixed income.

We typically think of fixed incomes as applying to senior citizens and other folks who are receiving some sort of financial subsidy. People in this situation have no opportunity to bring in more money unless they go out and find supplemental employment, nor does their income typically adjust based on inflation. Because of these limitations, people on fixed incomes must watch every penny and be intentional about how and where they spend their money.

If you will live like no one else Live Like Youre on a Fixed Income

What if you lived your life this way? What if you took a look at your monthly income and cut frivolous and non-essential expenses? What if you temporarily lowered your standard of living as far as possible and lived below your income? What if you put all that “extra” cash towards debt reduction, retirement, or paying off your mortgage early?

Keep in mind that we’re talking about temporarily living like you’re on a fixed income. If you decide to live well beneath your means while you’re working toward a major financial goal, you’ll feel like you’re living like royalty after you’ve reached that goal.

This is what Dave Ramsey calls living like no one else so that one day you can live like no one else.

Freedom from Debt is More Important than Christmas Presents

Freedom from Debt is More Important than Christmas Presents Freedom from Debt is More Important than Christmas Presents

It’s time to free yourself from the guilt you feel when you don’t want—or can’t—buy a Christmas gift for every person in your extended family.

I was slightly shocked when this subject came up a last week in my Financial Peace class. One member was relating how they’ve attempted for a couple of years to just draw names for extended family one or two nice presents rather than going out purchasing a gift for every one—all the way down to the newborns! She then told us how they had budgeted $20 per family member for Christmas gifts.

That amount of money took my breath away.

I have no idea how many people they’re going to be purchasing gifts for, but at bare minimum I think it’s probably in the realm of 10-15. That means they’ll be spending $200-300 on Christmas presents for extended family alone. This doesn’t cover immediate family where I imagine they’ll spend much more per person. I wouldn’t be surprised if their total Christmas gift outlay will sit somewhere between $500-750 this season.

I know for some of you that doesn’t sound like a ton of money to spend on Christmas presents, but when you’re working to get yourself out of debt, that money would likely cover 2-3 months worth of credit card payments, a pair of car payments, or allow you to get a month ahead or more on students loans.

I understand the pressure to buy presents for family members. In some families it’s expected, and depending on the love language spoken by individual family members, not receiving a present might be perceived as a lack of love. Even this family I’m speaking of—who is doing a great job getting themselves out of debt and paying cash for Christmas gifts—is giving in to the pressure to conform to cultural consumerism.

It’s time to stand your ground and have a talk with your family members, even if you’re afraid they’ll be offended. It’s probably too late for this year, but let them know that until you’re out of debt, you won’t be buying presents for anyone outside your immediate family. Let them know that this situation is temporary so that you can get out of debt faster. One day you’ll be debt free and have more disposable cash available to buy Christmas presents once more.

Hear me clearly. I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy Christmas presents if you want. You just need to stop feeling obligated and guilted into doing so.

And even when you’re out of debt, keep control of your spending and budget for Christmas in light of your long-term goals and dreams. Just remind yourself that every dollar spent on a Christmas gift that will probably get throw away in less than six months is a dollar you can’t apply to retirement, college savings, your emergency fund, or paying off your house early.

And not to sound sanctimonious, but think about the life lessons you’re teaching your children. Do you want them to buy into consumerism this time of year, or would you rather they treasure what’s truly important?