Looking Back to Move Ahead

From now until Thanksgiving, the LSS blog will be looking at ‘Thankfulness’ in each of the posts. Written by various programs, check back each day for a different perspective on why or what we celebrate.

A while back my parents were watching my kids for the day. Needing to clean the house, my parents took some time to do that. Being the people-pleaser that she is, my daughter offered to help. So impressed by her willingness, my dad gave her a dollar for helping. When the basement came up, she again offered to help, so she was offered the task of dusting a few things. As soon as she was done, she looked at Grandpa and asked, “What do I get for that?”

Out of small bills, he instead offered herpenny in fingers a shiny new penny for her efforts. Being younger and not quite as financially aware as she is now, she was totally enthralled by the fact that she got BOTH a dollar AND a penny. If only she could be so easily pleased anymore. But she was just happy because of what she had been given.

Nearly every time I teach budgeting, we start by discussing goals. Where do you want to be? What do you want to have? What do you want to do? We talk long term, mid-range, and short-term goals even as near as the next month or two. We want to be looking ahead as these goals become our motivation for taking care of business on a day to day level.

As Thanksgiving nears, I want to shift to the other end of the process that we talk about in class. When you achieve your goals, you need to look back and celebrate. While it is important to look forward, those are tasks we, in all honesty, haven’t gotten done. Now, there is potential there. But it is also important for us to look back at what we have accomplished.

In our fast-paced society, it is easy to be full steam ahead without a glance in the rear view mirror. But recognizing those successes can be just as important for us, if not more so, than what we want to achieve in the future. We’ve already done those things. They are proof of our abilities and achievements. They make us feel good when we actually pay attention to them.

This is the point where my good Lutheran humility combined with the German stoic nature I’ve inherited from my family comes into play. We aren’t always comfortable acknowledging our successes. We don’t want to brag or appear over-confident in ourselves. But that’s not what I’m talking about. Pride and arrogance are shown for the sake of others seeing it. I’m talking about a moment of self reflection for your own well-being.

At the same time that we are looking forward at things that we haven’t yet accomplished, it is important that we give ourselves that little reward. Much like my daughter and her shiny penny, we like rewards. They can feed the strength and endurance that will carry us into our as-of-yet unachieved goals. I don’t doubt that, had my daughter not gotten her reward for helping clean the upstairs, she would not have been nearly so excited to help with the basement.

It doesn’t have to be a lot. It doesn’t have to be anything particularly grand and life-changing. It is simply something to remind us that we are successful. It reminds us that we do have abilities that are valuable in life.

As you celebrate Thanksgiving next week, Christmas Turkeymake sure you take some time to look back at what you have already accomplished. Be thankful for those things. Also be thankful for the abilities you have that will move you into your next set of goals and dreams. If you are gathering with family, remind them of how thankful you are for what they have done and been. You will help them with their momentum into the future as well.

If you have even a twinkle of motivation for the future, but have some financial issues that you feel are holding you back from those goals, schedule an appointment with the Center for Financial Resources by calling 605-330-2700. Regardless of your issues, our counselors will be thankful that you have made that first step.

Oh, and by the way, my house could use a cleaning. My daughter has gotten wiser in her age, so if anyone else is willing to work for $1.01, let me know. I’ve got some cleaning for you…..
written by Breck Miller
images courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

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