In a time where we have access to great sites like Pinterest and Houzz, it’s never been easier to envision our projects, ideas, and events. However, with all the resources available, it’s rare that I see people chart out their personal long-term goals. Although it may sound mundane, what’s more thrilling than visualizing the future you want to create for yourself and family? Come on, if Houzz can make remodeling a bathroom inspirational and fun, it’s possible!!

Motivation comes in many forms. I recently read the classic book, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. If you haven’t read it in a while, I highly recommend it. The matriarch of the family, who is relentless in her pursuit of keeping the family off welfare, uses a basic tin can as a reminder to save money. Despite tight resources and difficult circumstances, she has a goal to one day own a plot of land.  The can was her daily reminder to add a few cents from her pay regardless of her many justifiable excuses. Her use of a simple can was brilliant in three ways:

  • The can evoked emotion that created motivation.
  • She nailed it down to the floor of her closet, where she retrieved clothes every morning and evening. Nailing it made accessing the funds difficult but kept the symbol in plain sight.
  • Not only was it a motivational tool, the can was practical by serving as a bank. It was an instant “call to action.”

While you may not want to nail down a can to your closet floor, there are other more modern ways you can implement this three pronged approach. For instance, if your goal is to pay for all or some of your child’s education, create a series of reminders in your favorite calendar program. In the reminder, create motivation by putting a picture of your child and favorite college. Reminders could be well placed by setting them for when you expect to receive a paycheck, bonus, tax refund, holiday cash, etc. Add a link to their 529 plan making it as easy as possible for you to act in the moment rather than further delaying.

Now it’s your turn. Create your 3 pronged approach:tin-can

  • What image or symbol motivates me to succeed?
  • What’s the best place or platform to keep this symbol in sight?
  • How can I easily turn my motivation into action?

I welcome you to share your approach with others by utilizing the social media links below. Much like taking a group fitness class, we can all benefit from each other’s energy and ideas.

About the Author

Quentara Costa helps the sandwich generation prioritize kids, self, and aging parents. For years Quentara was the primary caregiver for her father who was diagnosed with Alzheimers at the age of 70. Since his passing she’s become a mother of two sweet girls. Professionally she received a master’s degree in Personal Financial Planning from Bentley University and has held the CFP® designation since 2010. Community involvement includes hosting the Merrimack Valley Senior and Caregiver Group and volunteering for Budget Buddies.

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