Several years ago, before my bride and I had children, I took the time to build a radio control airplane from a really basic kit.
It took a LONG time because it was intricate work, but the work produced a really nice airplane with six foot wide wings that would fly really well.
Along came our daughter and time for the hobby disappeared as the necessities of building a career, completing my master’s degree, and life itself. The plane somehow made it through several moves without being totally destroyed.
Now that my son is running around everywhere, he is enchanted by the plane. He always wants to see the plane, touch the plane, fly the plane, fly on the plane, and sit in the plane (not possible – but he’s too young to determine that).
Recently, I pulled it off the shelf to see if I could get the motor to start. It did not. For literally three hours, I tried to fire the engine unsuccessfully. My son became bored and wandered off. He eventually went down for an afternoon nap, and then it suddenly started for me! There was only one issue – the throttle was stuck! There was no (safe) way to turn it off, so I literally held it until the fuel ran out.
When my son awakened, I told him that I had managed to fire it up so we needed to go outside. He lost his mind in excitement. We ran outside, and it would not start. NOTHING I tried worked. I eventually put the plane back up in the garage.
The next day, I woke up with aching legs and arms from attempting to start the stupid airplane (if you’ve ever experienced starting an RC airplane with a chicken stick, you know what I’m talking about). The stiffness helped me realize I had done about 400 squats and 2,000 reps of “chicken stick motions.”
There’s a financial lesson to be learned here. Many times, we will start off our financial journey with a dream, a budget, and detailed plan to accomplish it. Everything goes well as long as you continue to dream, budget and plan. But eventually, time can cause our enthusiasm for important things like budgeting and planning to wane.
So we stop.
We put away the tools.
Time passes. A lot of time passes, and one day we discover the need to utilize the tools again. But when we pull out the tools, we’re rusty. It doesn’t operate like it used to.
No matter how much effort we put into it, it just won’t seem to work anymore. You discover the “throttle is stuck” on an expense, and it is going to require some work to turn it off! You may not be able to get your spouse to participate.
It is for this reason my bride and I:
- Put together a budget EVERY MONTH – planning our spending BEFORE the month and the bills arrive. This is EVERY MONTH, not every now and then!
- Share our dreams with each other – and keep a list. This allows us to remind ourselves and each other WHY we are doing the discipline of planning and budgeting.
- Save money EVERY MONTH – we know we simply cannot prosper if we don’t save!
- Give money away EVERY MONTH – we truly believe we are blessed to bless others!
- Invest money EVERY MONTH – we can’t fund huge dreams without the assistance of compound interest!
Take a few minutes to think about the disciplines and practices you need to pull back out and start up again, and be sure to recognize that you are going to have a few “stuck throttles” and “misfires” as you get back in the groove of discipline.
In the meantime, I’ll be out in the garage firing up my RC airplane.