How do you describe yourself? Can you do it in five adjectives? Here are mine: frugal, generous, intelligent, impatient, stubborn.
Why is describing yourself important and what does this exercise have to do with being frugal? I’m glad you asked!
Describing yourself accurately requires knowing yourself and knowing yourself is one of the first and most important steps towards meeting your goals. But to really be successful in meeting your goals you have to be honest, brutally honest. Try the exercise again, and this time add qualifiers.
Here’s my list again: somewhat frugal some of the time, generous with time and with others, intelligent about words and culture, impatient with not making progress, stubborn when I think I’m right.
That’s a really different list, isn’t it?
Here’s how being so honest helps me to meet my goals. My goals are to live a frugal life, to have a large emergency fund and savings account, to be able to comfortably (not excessively) earn enough to meet my family’s needs.
I know I’m not frugal enough; I spend more than I think we should on things like eating out. That won’t help us achieve our goals. I am generous with my time and with others, but I think that sometimes I am not generous enough with myself and I cut myself short. I believe that I am intelligent when it comes to verbal ability, but not so much when it comes to math or science. Therefore I don’t trust myself to handle money, especially large amounts, because I think that I don’t know about that sort of thing. I am impatient with not making as much progress as I think I should be making, which leads me to believe that I’m not making any progress at all; then I throw my hands up in despair. I am stubborn when I think I’m right. This keeps me from accepting advice or changing course.
On the other hand, I am frugal. Being frugal some of the time is better than none! Volunteering can be frugal, and giving of your time or energy can help in other ways, like networking. I can make intelligent decisions about our situation and adjust our plans accordingly. Is impatience a virtue? Well it helps me to learn about new things, that’s for sure. And finally being stubborn can help me to convince others (namely my husband) that my plan of action is the best, and we should do what I want to do.
Because I am honest with myself about myself, I know what obstacles I have to overcome on the path to meeting my goals of living a frugal life and providing for my family. This doesn’t make it easier, it just gives me a head start.
And you? Be honest, brutally honest! Take it all off! What adjectives would you use to describe yourself and how do these traits help you or hurt you in meeting your goals?