The Final Destination Is Worth the Pain of Starting Over

ID-100199174Today I have a guest post from Brian Fourman. Brian is a former private school teacher now turned stay at home dad and personal finance blogger. His hobbies include rental real estate, running, cooking and sports. In his down time, he loves hanging out with his four kids and hearing his wife talk about all the cool things CPAs do at work. You can check him out providing encouragement and inspiration on his blog at Luke1428.com or by connecting with him on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

Tonya, the owner of this blog and I share an affinity for physical fitness. Her go-to activities are beach volleyball and more recently running, while mine are biking and running. Neither of us trains for competition at a world-class level. Our efforts are solely designed to fulfill our enjoyment, keep us fit and produce energy to tackle our respective daily activities.

Accept when they don’t…because we get hurt.

Her injury bug was a bum shoulder that kept her from playing beach volleyball awhile back. My most recent ailment was the dreaded plantar fasciitis, a foot injury common to runners that affects the tendons in the heal/arch of the foot. It typically occurs due to overuse – which was my case I’m sure after running 1,700+ miles in about two years.

The actual injury occurred last August during a marathon training run. Of course, like a typical stubborn runner, I didn’t get it examined. Rather, using a combination of ice, stretching and generous amounts of KT Tape, I continued to train through October until I completed the Baltimore Marathon- in a personal best time no less.

Then came the doctor visit…and the diagnosis…and the layoff. The…ever…so…long…layoff.

How long?

I started training again two weeks ago, 8 months after my diagnosis. Ugh!

There Is Always Pain in Starting Over

After such a long layoff, I knew what to expect once I returned. Pain. The workouts, even though short, didn’t disappoint.

Heavy breathing. Muscle fatigue. Stiffness as I crawled out of bed the next morning.

It reminded me once again that anytime I’ve started anew, the process is met with pain, setbacks and frustration. Nothing ever comes easy during times of revival. The difficulty of the task challenges our very desire to move on.

Like the time in high school where I took all summer to re-learn how to properly shoot a basketball…

Or when I left home for college…

Or when I really left home after college – moving out of state with my new bride to new jobs and a new life…

Or when our first child changed everything by coming into the world…

Or when the whole dynamics of family responsibility shifted when my wife changed careers…

Or when I started blogging.

Each new stage of my life was characterized by levels of internal and external resistance I had to overcome. There were barriers to breakthrough, routines to change, scary situations to face and emotional pain to endure as I altered behaviors. If I had not met those challenges with dogged persistence and discipline, success would never have come.

Your Money Is No Different

So do you think starting over and gaining control of your finances will be any different? It won’t. In fact, starting over in the money management process might be one of the toughest challenges of all.

There are some qualities of money that make it uniquely difficult to manage. For one, it’s a necessity in our daily lives. We need it to supply ourselves with goods and services. However, it’s also finite, which in basic economics terms means it’s limited. There is only so much of it to go around and only so much of it we can get our hands on at any given time.

Because money is a necessity and finite, we tend to get extremely emotional about it. That emotion over money regularly creates very poor decisions when it comes to its use. The equation ends up looking like this:

Lack of money + emotional pressure + poor decisions = a financial mess.

No doubt some of you reading this post right now are facing some serious money issues. Your situation may have you feeling discouraged, upset at yourself and fearful. There literally seems to be no hope in sight. You’ve thought to yourself, “What’s the point? Starting over is impossible because a) I don’t know where to start and b) it would require too much effort. I’ll just keep muddling along and hope for the best.”

If you feel that way I’m here to tell you today it can be done. Many who have gone before you have faced similar circumstances and turned it around. It wasn’t easy and yes, did require some painful choices to be made. But they had something that kept them going that you need to produce for yourself.

That thing was a vision.

Why I Endure the Pain of Starting Over

Why am I willing to start running again? It’s because I have a firm vision of what this will do for me. It goes beyond the basics of staying fit and healthy. That’s only a small byproduct of physical exercise for me. My vision is much deeper than that.

I run for my wife and kids. I want to be around for them as long as possible and I believe staying physically fit will help me accomplish that goal. It’s a long-range vision for sure but one that keeps me going.

Several years ago I had a similar epiphany when it came to managing money. I realized my spend-it-all-till-it-goes-away mindset wasn’t a healthy one and was leading me down a path with drastic consequences for my family. So in order to do right by my wife and kids I decided to attempt turning around my spend-a-holic nature.

With small baby steps at the beginning my nature began to change. It received big pushes along the way like this “Ah-a moment” where I resisted buying a second pair of shoes that were on sale. Moments like that taught me that I could tackle this spending monster inside my soul and create some discipline in my life. When I realized that my money management began to change.

All through the process of change though, there was a vision of why I was on the journey…to provide a better life for my family. That kept me going through the most difficult of times.

What’s Going to Turn You On?

You absolutely can win with money! The trick will be finding that one thing inside that turns you on. There has to be a force driving your turnaround or more than likely the attempt at change will be short-lived.

Look deep inside yourself today and discover what is going to move you forward. The final destination – that thing which inspires you most – will be worth it when reached in the end.

What is the biggest financial challenge facing you now? What is stopping you from tackling it? How has emotion over money moved you into making a poor decision? For those who have come through some financial difficulty, what big thing keyed your turnaround?

Image courtesy of Toa55 / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Tonya

Tonya is a video editor and writer living in Los Angeles who enjoys beach volleyball and running. To get the latest updates, be sure to subscribe. Check out her sister site Healthy, Fit, and Frugal.
  • http://www.makemoneyyourway.com/ Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way

    Nice one Brian, you run for your family because you want to be with them as long as possible and being healthy and having a good healthy lifestyle is the key for that. Just like on financial matters, we need to choose the right thing to do for our family’s future.

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      Agreed Clarisse. And that “right thing” is different in every situation.

  • Natalie @ Financegirl

    I agree that starting over is really the way to go sometimes. For me, my student loans are my biggest financial challenge. I have been paying a lot more on them every month and seeing them go down is great. They can’t go fast enough!

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      And just think what it will be like when you have all that debt gone and get to start a new financial life without it. That’s going to be awesome!

  • debtfreeoneday

    Thanks for an inspiring post Brian, really enjoyed reading this! That’s great how your family provide the motivation you need to keep fit and manage your money better. My biggest financial challenge right now (besides clearing debt) is finding ways to earn more money around my family commitments so that I can help us have a better financial future.

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      “…finding ways to earn more money around my family commitments…” Boy, I agree that is really tough. It can be done though. My wife recently went back to grad school so she could become a CPA. She had to do all her classes and CPA exam coursework at nights and on the weekends. I took over all household and kid responsibilities so she didn’t have to worry about that. Our lives were a frantic mess for two years…some days we hardly saw one another. But through it all we never lost sight of the goal or compromised on things that might damage our family. Now that we are on the other side of that I can honestly say the short-term sacrifice was worth the long-term gain.

  • Holly Johnson

    Very inspiring! Almost anything worth doing is difficult and painful at times, unfortunately. Staying physically fit is important for me too. I want to play with my grandkids on the floor and I know how I take care of myself now will make a difference.

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      I flip back and forth on whether or not the pain is unfortunate. Of course I’d rather not have to go through it but something about dealing with it makes me a better person I think.

  • Jfisher79

    Excellent. Sometimes the perception of financial stability can impede choices to grow. We *think* we’re in a good place but until we get honest with ourselves, the trees block the forest. People don’t change till the pain of change is less than the pain of staying the same.

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      “People don’t change till the pain of change is less than the pain of staying the same.” I agree completely. I call that the “I’ve had it moment” when the pain spikes to levels that then prompt change.

  • Shannon

    There is definitely an emotional hurdle in starting over and I think so many of us have a tough time getting over that hurdle, but once we do, it’s so true, the destination is a beautiful one. I lost 50 pounds a few years ago, and it took me 5 years of “starting” before I finally committed to the journey. I am so glad that I overcame that hurdle and all of the lessons I learned along the way have inspired not only my physical health but my financial health as well.

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      I agree Shannon…starting is often the hardest part. I know it was a huge issue for me starting a blog. Mostly overcoming the fear of being “out there” with my ideas and thoughts and having them potentially be criticized.

  • http://www.youngadultmoney.com/ DC @ Young Adult Money

    I messed up my ankle and hip through training for a half marathon. Stubborn as I was, I still ran the race when I probably should have stopped running altogether while my body recovered. Glad to hear that you are back running, though! It’s interesting how we expect and experience how large changes in our life are characterized by events (getting married, graduating college, a new job, etc.) but we don’t approach our finances the same way. If you want a big result, such as a cabin or rental property or whatever it may be, it will oftentimes require some bigger change.

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      “…we don’t approach our finances the same way.” I see that as well DC. We’ve tried to mark our significant financial milestones with celebrations so they become more memorable. There are many ways that can be done both at the start and end of the journey.

  • Cashville Skyline

    Running injuries are the worst! I’ve had stubborn IT band problems ever since I ran a 10K in Boulder, CO a few years ago. I wasn’t prepared for all the hills! Starting over is continually a challenge, but the commitment to trying again feels amazing. My biggest hurdle every month is my food & drink budget. I’d love to start having friends over for dinner again. That will help reduce the sting of avoiding restaurants.

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      I probably trained on hills too much. Our subdivision and surrounding country roads where I ran a lot are full of them. Big ones! Now I’m taking it easy while I ramp back up, only running on a track and other flat surfaces.

  • http://theheavypurse.com/ Shannon Ryan

    The return to running after an injury is both bliss and pain. You’re so happy to run again and shocked by how much stamina you lost. I’m glad you are able to run again and I’m sure those old aches and pains will be gone in no time.:) Starting over is both exciting and tough. I remember when I returned to private practice, it felt like coming home mixed in with some fears about the what ifs. But it was worth the pain and working through the fears and changes to get to the point where I am today. Like you said, it’s having a clear final destination in mind so you can face the hurdles, rather than run in the opposite of direction.

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      Eight months was a long time to be off for someone who was running consistently for over two years. Very, very frustrating to essentially have to start all over. But it taught me that I need to train wiser and smarter going forward. No more running 5 days a week.

  • Tanya @ Eat Laugh Purr

    “Lack of money + emotional pressure + poor decisions = a financial mess” So true, Brian. I find when I’m not stressed about money, then I make better decisions all around. But when I’m worried about money (I freelance so income is highly variable) that’s why I start making poor decisions because I let my emotions take over my better judgement. In fairness, I tend to overeat, rather than go on a shopping spree, but neither are good!

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      Believe it or not, I can relate to using food and shopping to compensate for foul moods. I’ve have fallen victim to both of those coping mechanisms. And you are right…neither are healthy ways to deal with emotional pain.

  • http://budgetandthebeach.com/ Tonya

    It’s not really answering your question, but right now I’m in the beginning stages of learning ukulele, and it’s tough! The initial buzz of learning a few chords has worn off as now I’m struggle to change chords, get the strumming pattern down, and sing at the same time (after all, my goal is to lead awesome sing-a-longs! lol). But I have to remind myself to be patient and kind with myself, and that if little by little I practice, I WILL get it down eventually. That was the same with my budget. I started and stopped too many times in the past because I had an all or nothing mentality. Even with beach volleyball, I put too much pressure on myself to be awesome right away, and I made for a pretty uptight partner. I hope I learned my lesson from those experiences and can take each practice sesh with the uke with a lighthearted approach.

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      Slow and steady wins the race…I am looking forward to that first ukulele video you post here. :)

  • AvgJoeMoney

    I didn’t realize you were a runner! Isn’t it funny how much “not running” changes everything? Your mood, your food thoughts…..sleep pattern. It’s crazy.

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      I really noticed it. For two years I was in a rock solid daily pattern. Getting up between 4 and 5 am to run before work. My energy levels were high…after about a month of not running I really started to feel how it was affecting me.

  • http://thebudgetsandthebees.com TheBudgetsandTheBees

    I’ve started and stopped running more times than I can count, but every time I finish a 5k or have a really good run I am reminded why I do it. Running has taught me to pace myself – I know if I go too hard in the beginning I will be hurting in the end. I try to apply this to my finances as well – I respect the small steps and steady pace. If I didn’t allow myself the occasional splurge, I’d lose sight of why I was working so hard for financial freedom and would probably give up altogether.

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      “Running has taught me to pace myself…” That’s a great lesson! We certainly can’t win/finish the race by sprinting in the first mile. It takes time and steadiness for sure.

  • http://debtdebs.wordpress.com/ DEBt DEBs

    I’ve Plantar fasciitis and it does take a long time to heal. I eventually went to a chiropractor who did Active Release Therapy and that helped the recovery quite a lot. I also get shin splints which I think may be from not enough stretching. I even get them when I don’t stretch before a walk! Alas the old knees are starting to give me pain and I have a bum left hip that goes out at the beginning of my walks. Consequently I’m doing more biking these days, which is easier to do with the season! Pain is definitely a deterrent, but if you can find ways to manage it (therapy, stretching, alternating tactics) then it should not stop you and that is absolutely no different in your finance journey either! Here, here, Brian!

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      I’ve started doing more biking as well. I’m looking into getting a gym membership this fall so I can start swimming. I think those activities will help relieve the pounding on my feet and increase my overall fitness as well.

  • http://www.debtandthegirl.com/ Debt and the Girl

    It can be really hard starting over. It can be so worth it. i feel like I have had to start over a lot in my life and it is scary every time. Once you get started though, it can be very therapeutic to actually do something. I try to remember that to help me get over the fear.

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      “… it can be very therapeutic…” I agree. There is something to be said about getting a fresh start and leaving the past in the past.

  • http://thebrokeandbeautifullife.com/ Stefanie @ brokeandbeau

    It’s all about finding that tipping point to keep you going through the pain and setbacks of the start. Be it money, exercise, or otherwise.

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      Agreed Stefanie. We all have our own tipping point that pushes us to move forward.

  • http://www.WellKeptWallet.com/ Deacon

    Our biggest financial difficulty was tackling our $52,000 in consumer debt. The turning point was going through Dave Ramsey’s FPU and realizing that there are people that get out of debt every day and I could be one of them. 18 months later, we were able to experience what it was like to not have that debt any more. Definitely a rough path, but well worth it.

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      52K in debt paid off…Cool! What a testimony Deacon! Proof that anyone can do it. I’ve run the FPU class and it is very motivational.

  • http://morethanjustmoney.com/ Kassandra

    I have had knee surgery in the past and still suffer with knee issues today. I still make it a point to train and make sure to not overtax my body when training. For me, the key is recognizing my limitations but not using them as an excuse to sit around and not be healthy and active. I used a similar attitude to conquer $55K of consumer debt.

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      “…recognizing my limitations but not using them as an excuse…” Good point Kassandra…That’s something we all have to overcome. I’d like to think it’s possible to do what my 20-yr. old self could. My brain says “yes,” my body tells me “get real.”

  • http://moneyminiblog.com Kalen @ MoneyMiniBlog

    This is a great point, Brian. I have always had the mentality of not giving up, but I never thought about how sometimes you have to start over.

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      Thanks Kalen!

  • Prudence Debtfree

    I found this post to be inspiring and timely. It can be difficult to keep motivated when the pain of starting over – or of simply starting – seems to outweigh the benefits of persistence. For me, it’s the learning curve involved in plans to ramp up my blog (and you even listed “when I started blogging” as one of your examples) that seems overwhelming. I’ll take your post as an encouragement : ) All the best as you take up running again!

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      “…the learning curve involved in plans to ramp up my blog…” I’m still learning and evolving. Don’t give up or get frustrated with it. It just takes time and patience to work through it all. If you need any help just give me a shout. If it’s beyond my expertise, I can point you to someone else.

      • Prudence Debtfree

        Thank you!

  • Maurice Dobb

    Loved this blog post. It is these types of blogs that keeps me going. Excellent one indeed. It teaches all of us to start over again even after a minor or even a significant setback. Thanks again.
    They say to balance you need to move on. When I was a kid my parents told me to keep on paddling to move your cycle forward so that balance be maintained. They said once you stop doing that you lose your balance. That’s what kept me moving till date no matter how many setbacks I’ve confronted till now.

    Let me share my life experiences. I don’t set any final destination as such. What I do is set short term goals that can be achieved within months, say one month or two month or three months, keeping in mind the destination I want to reach within one year. These short term goals help me to stay focused and ultimately achieve my goals one after the other.

    Whenever my plan doesn’t work I move to the contingency or Plan 2, which not only keeps me on track but also help me reach my 1 year plan in a targeted manner. Working as a Financial Writer, blogger, and then consulting at http://mediagroupswitzerland.com/ has never been easy. But still I try to balance everything by following the short term as well as 1 year goals in mind.

    Thanks for reminding me that everyone of us need to start over again even when something has not gone as we thought or desired about.

    • http://luke1428.com/ Brian @ Luke1428

      You bet Maurice. I like your approach to goal setting. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

      • Maurice Dobb

        Thanks for liking it Brian. This is my basic strategy that makes me going even when I’m low. Not that I can follow my goals everyday but I surely try to stick to it no matter what it takes. Nice to know that you liked it. :)