It’s hard to believe, but we are just mere days away from celebrating the 4th of July in the United States. I know many of my readers are gearing up to celebrate the holiday by heading to nearby parks and beaches to spend time with family and friends. We enjoy the holiday with plenty of sun, sand and surf, along with good food and the company of our friends and family, especially now that June Gloom is over in Southern California.
As we approach the upcoming holiday, I thought about all the people, myself included, who are fighting to achieve personal financial freedom. We’re not going into battle armed with muskets and swords as our ancestors did during the Revolutionary War; instead, we arm ourselves with budgets and goals and emotional competence to defeat our enemy of mindless spending, keep up urges and debt.
What Does Financial Freedom Mean to You?
Financial freedom is the goal of virtually every single person, but what I find is most don’t always know what that means beyond broad terms. It’s something they seek and crave, but can’t define what financial freedom really looks like. This alone stops most people from achieving it. You have to know why and what financial independence looks like for you, not for me, or your BFF or your co-worker. Your (or your family) vision is the only one that matters.
Many common reasons are “financial security”, “peace of mind” and “freedom of choice”, which are all great reasons. They are also surface reasons, meaning your connection to your reason is fairly shallow and undefined. This makes it easy for you to get distracted and make choices that put financial freedom out of your grasp. It becomes more of a wish than a firm, intentional goal.
Define Your Vision of Financial Freedom
Your first step is to step back and really assess why financial freedom matters to you. Go beyond the surface reasons into what life will truly be like when you have financial freedom. Be specific as possible and don’t just say things like you’ll be able to travel. How frequently? Where will you go and why those locations? How will you spend your time? More importantly — how will you feel when you are able to do those things? You need to be able to both envision it clearly and have an emotional connection to deeply ingrain what financial freedom is into your DNA. This is what will help you make choices that will turn your vision into your reality.
Success Tip: The more clarity and detail to your vision of financial freedom, the better. You want it to feel real. At the same time, do not feel that your definition is etched in stone and can never be changed. As you journey through life, priorities shift and so may your definition of financial freedom. Or your surface reason may stay the same, i.e. freedom of choice, but what that means to you may evolve over time.
Acknowledge What You Are Doing Right
Assess your past behavior with your current behavior. What positive changes have you made? I find many people tend to overly focus and dwell on their mistakes. While it is important to acknowledge and learn from past mistakes, too many marinate in their mistakes, which leaves them stuck. Take an honest assessment of your growth and give yourself the kudos you deserve for making positive change. This acknowledgement will motivate you to keep moving forward and continue to make needed changes.
Determine Areas that Still Need Work
Just as you need to celebrate growth, you also must be honest about areas that you still need to address. Where are you struggling and why? Often times, I find there is an emotional reason behind the more common excuses of time or knowledge. Dig a bit deeper to see if past experiences, especially those from your childhood, may be the real reason behind your excuse of lack of time or not knowing where to begin. For example, a fear of failure may be what is truly preventing you from starting, rather than a lack of knowledge.
Financial Freedom is Worth Fighting For
As I said earlier, almost everyone wants to experience financial freedom and yet too many will never achieve it because they won’t take the right actions. Financial freedom, like any kind of freedom, doesn’t just happen because we want or wish for it. It happens because we fight for it and willingly (and happily) make sacrifices to make it our reality. It’s my wish for everyone this 4th of July, regardless of where you live, that you fight for your financial independence and it begins with the simple steps above.
4th of July by the Numbers #Infographic
To celebrate the 4th of July, I also wanted to have a little fun and found this great infographic that highlights some impressive 4th of July numbers. Hot dogs are obviously a favorite food, given the incredible amount we will apparently be enjoying in a just a few short days. 😉
How are you planning to spend your 4th of July? How are your fighting for your financial freedom?