Don’t Give Up on Your Goals

It’s that time of year again when we make New Year’s Resolutions and then ditch them by the middle of January you wont fulfill(if not sooner).  Why do we make them? I am (cough, cough) 30 years old and I can’t name one single New Year’s Resolution that I have actually “stuck” with in its entirety. I can make resolutions and set goals all day long, but the second I “fall off the wagon“, I’m done and back to my old ways. Yet, I still seem to make them and I’m ashamed to say, they are usually the same ones year after year. I’m not only boring, but obviously unrealistic when it comes to making resolutions.

You know the ones I’m talking about because they are probably yours too…lose weight, eat healthier, spend more time with God and less time on social media, not drink as much soda, exercise more, complain less, be more thankful…yada yada, blah blah.

totalAt the end of 2011, I read Dave Ramsey’s book, “Total Money Makeover” and decided that I would forgo all of my usual “resolutions” (I wasn’t keeping them anyway) and resolve to pay off our debt in 2012.  We have never had credit card debt (thank goodness), but we did have Daniel’s student loans (mine were already donzo), and our Saturn Vue had two years left before it was paid off.  I wanted ALL debt to be cleared by the end of 2012.

In January of 2012, I planned out the “perfect” budget and I did awesome in regards to sticking to it in January, February, and March…but then April came and I fell off the wagon. I threw my hands up in the air and let that resolution die along with all of the others in previous years passed. I will even admit that I actually gave myself a pat on the back for even making it three months before “quitting”. I mean, seriously?  How many people actually “complete” their New Year’s Resolutions? I at least made it to Spring (and this was in the midst of paying for IVF! Anyone who has gone through fertility treatments KNOWS how hard it is to keep budgets during this time).

However, January 1st, 2013 rolled around and I decided it was time to revive the old resolution to pay off all debt (remember, I am boring and I do the same resolutions from year to year).  As motivation, I took “Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey off the book shelf again and read the first few chapters in hopes it would spark that same fire I had in the beginning of 2012. It worked!  I was motivated!  I was determined!  I was ready to “DO THIS!” I created another “perfect” budget, shared it with the hubs to get him on board with the plan, and off we went to making this resolution stick. My goal was to have all debt cleared by July 2013. 

January came and I did awesome! February was also successful and March was still looking good. But then hit April. What is up the month of April?!  In April, the hubs and I went to Florida to visit his family and even though I knew about this trip MONTHS in advance, somehow I failed to plan it in our budget. (slap forehead!) By the time I realized this, I had already taken our extra money for that month and put it towards his student loans so this meant the trip would have to go on our credit card.  No biggie because I knew that I would have it paid off even before the credit card was due.  However it turned into a “biggie” in regards to meeting my July deadline because this created a snowball effect and I wasn’t able to put as much extra money on to the next student loan payment.  This small hiccup pushed our “pay off” date into October. GUH-reat!  (slap forehead!)

As a perfectionist, and not being able to meet my original goal of July, I thought about just going back to paying the minimum payment on the student loans and car payment. I was getting kinda tired of being on “house arrest” and not able to venture to the mall when I wanted or randomly go out to eat if I didn’t feel like cooking anyway; but I came across this story in the Bible during my quiet time and it lit another fire to keep on, keeping on.

“…Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you?  Tell me, what do you have in the house?”  And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.”  Then he said, “Go, borrow vessels from everywhere, from all your neighbors–empty vessels; do not gather just a few.  And when you have come in, you shall shut the door behind you and your sons; then pour it into all those vessels, and set aside the full ones.”  So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her, and she poured it out.  Now it came to pass, when the vessels were full, that she said to her son, “Bring me another vessel.”  And he said to her, “There is not another vessel.”  So the oil ceased.  Then she came and told the man of God.  And he said, “Go sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons will live off the rest.”  ~2 Kings 4:2-7

After reading this story, I felt God telling me to persevere on towards my goal of clearing all my debts.  So I reworked another “perfect” budget and got back on track. I was doing great all summer and most of fall (slight pot hole in August with a trip to Target and Hobby Lobby…eek), but I hit a major road block at the beginning of October. We took another trip to Florida because the hubs’ best friend was getting married and once again, I forgot to incorporate this trip which had been PLANNED for months in advance into our “perfect” budget.  (slap forehead…again! I must be a slow learner…)

Once we returned from Florida, I contemplated on giving up again. I convinced myself that we had dramatically reduced our debt and I could “start over” (again) in January 2014.  No biggie, right?  Wrong.  That little voice inside my head wouldn’t shut up. It kept saying, “Keep going! Pay your debt”. So I listened to this voice and it seems like the moment I got motivated again to “keep going”, I also got smacked in the face with Christmas.  Can you say “budget buster!” By the end of November, I was REALLY ready to just throw in the towel, wave the white flag, and give myself a pat on the back for coming this far. But God wouldn’t let it rest.  During another quiet time with God, I randomly came across Romans 13:8 which says, “Owe nothing to anyone–except for your obligation to love one another…”

Not willing to have another resolution fail and because I was too scared to ignore God, I reworked the budget (again), and in order to save money, we lived off lots of cheap processed foods such as cereal, chicken fingers, and frozen pizza (don’t judge…my New Years Resolution was to pay off debt, not eat healthy. hehe).

screenshotToday is December 31st. The last day of 2013.  Where do I stand with my resolution of paying off all debt?  I stand free as a bird!  I owe no man anything except to give them the love of Christ. Yippee!  Whooo Hooo! Happy, happy, happy!

This is the FIRST New Year’s Resolution I have ever kept! It would have been easy to give up when I first “failed” in April and again in October, and Christmas would have had more gifts for everyone (sorry to those who got the shaft), but old ways won’t open new doors.  I am ready for new doors to open for us financially and I know that God is pleased with my obedience and perseverance. I didn’t accomplish my July goal…or even my October goal…but I never gave up. I learned that if I set my mind to it, I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength and the motivation when I need it. I also learned self-discipline and self-control when it comes to spending which my hubby is probably most excited about.  It feels good to not start the new year off with the same resolution as the year before. (Can I get a virtual high-five? Anyone?!) 

Friends, I want to encourage you today that as you make one or even ten New Year’s Resolutions for 2014, do not beat yourself up or throw in the towel at the first, second, or even third fail.  Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and persevere to finish what it was you started.  Old ways won’t open new doors. 

With Love


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26 thoughts on “Don’t Give Up on Your Goals

  1. Congratulations! Hubby and I REALLY are passionate about living within our means so that I can be a SAHM one day (soon, hopefully!) and we paid off our college loans in 1 year following Dave Ramsey’s debt snowball (then celebrated with a trip to Geemany, also budgeted for that year) You are right–it takes TONS of self discipline but CONGRATULATIONS!! You are FREE indeed!

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    • I sometimes kick myself in the booty because I have been a “Domestic Engineer” for two years now and our debt would have been paid off YEARS ago if I had continued working. But as a school counselor and having a summer off from work, I decided I liked staying home more. LOL! Our debt totaled 17,000 so I think my hard work paid off! A trip this summer is fo sho in my plans!

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  2. Go you! I’ve read Ramsey’s book and lent it out to a few friends and inspired them too. We have a pretty strict budget too. It took us awhile to figure out what our problem was, we realized it’s the card. I’ll be at Target or CVS and swipe without really noticing how much, I’m spending. We went to cash allowances for the each of us and kept the card for bills, groceries, and gas. So if we wanted to go out to eat, we better have the cash. Some people say that cash makes them spend money quicker, but it works really well for us.

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  3. That is awesome !! Totally inspiring!! I am planning to go to cash in January, too easy to use the debit card. But your story is really encouraging for all resolutions!! Thank you so much for sharing your victory!

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  4. Yay! Way to go Elisha! What a great accomplishment! I can so relate to going back and fourth and not accomplishing my goals, so I tend to not make them, which is bad! You’re great! 🙂 Lots of love to you!!

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    • thanks girlie! I was driving home tonight from a friends house and was still in shock that I was debt free…not so much debt free, but I actually accomplished it. It seems so weird. lol

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    • Thanks! As we were driving home last night I was still in shock I actually did it. It has been an “on and off” goal of mine for two years. 17,000 on one income in a year is a lot to pay off!! I honestly didn’t think I would when I made this resolution last year but through the grace of God and His constant motivation, we (me and God) did it!!!!

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  5. Whoohooo! Way to go! Hubby and I tried to be debt free by the end of 2013 as well, we got everything paid off except my car which only has us in debt by a thread and should be paid off within the next fee months to come! Proud of you, and it must be so freeing! Congrats girl! What a great way to start a new year, and what a great testimony of The money you earn truly being the Lords. With out him finances may have not gone as far! God is good and has such a generous supply!

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    • amen!!! Yes! I look back and am amazed at how He carried us! We didn’t have any medical bills (in fact, we never once went to the Dr. this year), no major car repairs, no unexpected bills, etc. He made our money stretch much further than I could have ever imagined! Praise God! I woke up this morning much lighter. No monkey on my back this year fo sho! Happy New Year!

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  6. Woohoo!!! *snoopy dance all the way to and from the bank!!* That is AWESOME! Finances ARE a huge struggle for many (US Debt is what? I don’t even know!) That book has been sitting on my book shelf for ages, I really must jump into it! I can’t even begin to fathom how awesome you have to feel right now!

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    • Girl you have no idea!!!! I smiled all the way home from a friends house on New Year’s Eve because I just couldn’t believe it! It has been a “start” and “stop” goal for over two years and now it’s done! whoo hooo!!!! I feel free…well, I will feel much free after I get the hubby’s next check. lol. Everything extra paid off the loan so I’m still on “house arrest” until we get paid again. hahaha. My hubby is kinda worried I will go “crazy” with the extra money and not save. But my next resolution is to save 10,000 by next year. fingers crossed.

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  7. Congrats on being debt free!! My hubby and I recently started doing this 2 months ago. We’ve already paid off 2 credit cards. By the end of this year we should be debt free except for mortgage. My major motivation is my desire to be a stay at home mom!!

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