What is your motivation?
On this blog, Mrs. Roy writes about the way I do things. Mrs. Roy writes about saving money and being ecologically friendly and about serving the Lord, not necessarily in that order. Mrs. Roy reads lots of blogs and newsletters and books and articles about folks who are interested in these things, too. What sets these folks apart is their motivation. Mrs. Roy will give you an example: Mrs. Roy used to be part of an office paper recycling program. Mrs. Roy talked her office into participating in this program because Mrs. Roy believes in recycling to help us preserve our planet. There was a fellow who worked for the recycling program who Mrs. Roy always thought had a totally different motivcation. He was an ultra-hippy type fellow who always smelled like BO because he apparently thought it was eco-friendly not to bathe very often or to wear deodorant and he always had on the same clothes. Mrs. Roy is sure he was very sincere but he and Mrs. Roy were worlds apart on how to get things done.
Mrs. Roy believes my first priority must be serving the Lord. Mrs. Roy takes that seriously and it is the primary motivator for Mrs. Roy’s life. For instance, Mrs. Roy believes God expects me to be a good steward of the blessings God gives me. That includes not wasting money or resources and supporting our church and charities. Mrs. Roy believes God expects me to take care of this planet He created, too. That’s why Mrs. Roy recycles and tries to buy earth-friendly products and watches water and electricity use around the house. Mrs. Roy believes that God expects me to do my job as though I was working for Him. That’s why Mr. and Mrs. Roy have always tried to instill good work ethics in our children and why we practice them ourselves. Mrs. Roy believes God gives us family so we can take care of each other. And so family is very important to Mrs. Roy, from helping care for elderly parents to helping raise wonderful grandchildren.
Mrs. Roy became conscious of budgeting and money management years ago, at a time when Mrs. Roy would lay awake at night worrying about how to pay the next credit card bill. It honestly never occurred to Mrs. Roy that an American family could survive in today’s world without credit. Mrs. Roy didn’t think it was possible. So when Mrs. Roy read Dave Ramsey’s book, Financial Peace, it was a major eye-opener. Mrs. Roy was motivated by the idea of becoming debt free – was that even possible??? That motivation led to following Dave’s babysteps and being incredibly intentional about paying off debt while keeping my family afloat. You know what – Dave is right. You can live successfully in America without credit – and you should! As Mrs. Roy progressed with living debt free and frugal, I realized that this lifestyle honors God and the motivation shifted from pure economics to good stewardship of God’s resources.
Mrs. Roy has become increasingly motivated to preserving our earth and our fragile ecological systems ever since I learned about the terrible legacy Mrs. Roy’s generation is leaving for our children and grandchildren. Already we see the results of landfills filled with toxic waste and plastic bags that won’t biodegrade for thousands of years. We have lakes and rivers too polluted to swim in or to eat fish out of. We have icecaps melting and crazy weather patterns. We have rising gas prices and electricity bills. How can Mrs. Roy make a difference? Mrs. Roy uses the “eat an elephant” approach to this problem. We recycle. We burn wood harvested from our yard to heat our house in the winter. We open windows instead of running the AC. We buy a lot of used products instead of buying new to reduce manufacturing and packaging. We try to consolidate errands or not drive at all – folks think Mrs. Roy is very strange for walking to the grocery store! Mrs. Roy doesn’t like using paper plates and I bring home the plastic utensils from carry out meals, wash them and reuse them. Mrs. Roy prefers cloth napkins and dish towels to paper towels and paper napkins. This lifestyle is also motivated by Mrs. Roy’s faith as God specifically tells us in Genesis that He created man to be a steward of all His creation. It is our duty not to be wasteful or disrespectful or selfish with earth’s resources.
In all these instances, Mrs. Roy’s commitment to God and family motivate how Mrs. Roy lives. If you want to be successful in the way your live your life, you need to figure out your motivation. Do you want to retire early? Do you want to get out of debt? Do you need a new car? Does your family want to live on one income? Do you want to be a self-sufficient homesteader? Do you want to work for yourself instead of going to an office job every day? Do you want to save the whales or be a dog rescuer? Do you want to homeschool your children or send them to college debt free?
Once you know your motivation, you can start developing a plan that helps you work toward your goal. Living a life of purpose will put a spring in your step and help you stay focused as you move forward. It’s easier to pack your lunch every morning if you know you are putting an extra $20 each week toward your goal. It is worth the extra time it takes to shop for a used item instead of new when you know why that’s important to you. If you want to go back to school, that desire might motivate you to give up some of your evenings in front of the television to take classes online.
So, what is your motivator?