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Budgeting Lessons from a Marathon

They always say marathon training is a mental thing. If you can get on top of your psyche about it, you can push past increasing miles. After running my first marathon last week (!), I contend the same thing is true for meeting budgets. My experience finds that if you’re saving $3,000 for a new computer, at $2500, the effort gets really difficult, and all kinds of little things get in the way of saving that last $500. Here are five ways to run your money challenge like a marathon.

1. Give in to the challenge.
There were so many supporters along the race course. My body was hurting but I was having fun. I expected to be resisting the last two miles of the run, so I just kind of dropped it. Think of the goal you are creating for yourself when you are toeing the line of your cash flow plan. Incrementally, life around money gets easier. It’s something to celebrate.

2. Grant permission to feel.
I knew that the last two miles were going to be hard. So I gave myself permission to feel it, and reminded myself to pull out all the stops when I did. Instead of dreading the pain at the end, I planned for it, and built a support team around it. I took care of myself. When you get close to your wits’ end around your budget, remember the parts that are hard for you. Then feel them when they hit, work through the hard stuff, and keep going to the end.

3. Make it yours.
Even though I run with my girlfriend, marathon training is all about me. I could get off race course if I wanted to. But I wanted to do this for me. By the end of the race, I didn’t feel sorry for myself the way I felt in the training runs, wishing they were over. This is so similar to budget and life planning. There is liberation in choosing and strategizing one’s own success. I choose me, my life process. This is what I want to do. It’s fully enlivening to meet a challenge that will make my life better.

4. Know thyself.

After the last training run before the race, I walked in my front door, got under my covers and cried. I was afraid to run the race. I wanted to quit. But I know this about myself. My nerves were acting up. So I stayed under the covers to give myself a break. Same with money. If I’m saving $3,000 and I have $500 to go, I’ve got to really own the last of the process. If I know I am one to self-sabotage, I’m going to give myself $50 to sabotage with, and stay on track.

5. Ask for support.

I got friends and family to show up on the race route at specific spots along the way, for replenishment, cheers, support, all that good stuff. It felt fantastic, and reminded me I wasn’t alone in my effort. Enroll the support of a friend when you are budgeting. Ask her to email you at $500 to go to cheer you along and remind you of all the great things you envisioned for yourself with your new computer, to start you on this race.

Originally published on GreenSherpa