I’ve always considered myself to be a good goal setter, but snowboarding has taught me a new thing or two. It never dawned on me that life can teach you so much about personal finance in non-financial ways. This is probably why I took such a natural liking to personal finance because it’s literally everywhere. At the beginning of January, I went snowboarding for the first time and learned so many valuable lessons about setting goals. This blog is a little different than my others, so you’re going to get some vulnerability and realness. When it comes to getting real, tears and several deep conversations is common with me.
Face your Unrealistic Goals
When I was younger, childless, and single, setting goals and pushing myself to accomplish them was a bit easier. Okay, a lot easier since my goals being accomplished or not didn’t affect anyone outside of myself. Now, that’s not the case, setting unrealistic goals can actually hinder my family in many ways. My husband made it apparent to me that my mood would negatively change during our financial conversations whenever we talked about unaccomplished goals. I didn’t notice it, but my face would frown with disappointment when a goal wasn’t accomplished. This made him concerned that I was unhappy and frustrated with our family’s inability to accomplish every goal on the list.
Like many women in American society, I have many goals that I want to accomplish. Some goals for myself and many goals for my family. I am much harsher on myself when it comes to accomplishing goals than I am with others. This always seemed fine to me. But as my husband shared, it bothered him to see my whole mood flip when the goal couldn’t be accomplished. I didn’t realize that my concrete goals were toxic to our marriage, our family, and myself. This is pretty hard to say, because I don’t see myself as a toxic person, but my actions were. Until I realized that my expectations and goals were unrealistic for my new situation, I couldn’t see that I needed to make modifications.
Stop Creating Cash Sh*t Goals
As I said earlier, life has a pretty funny way of teaching you a lesson you refuse to see. For me, this was when I tried snowboarding for the first time in Big Bear, specifically Snow Summit. I was so scared of snowboarding since it’s something I never tried before. My husband always tells me that if I don’t know something to just YouTube it. Well, I finally took his advice and YouTubed snowboarding tips for beginners. I learned about stopping, how to get off the lift, and so much more. These small tips helped me out a lot once on the slopes.
On our family trip to Big Bear Lake, my younger sister was bragging, talking cash sh*t, about how easy snowboarding was. She went on and on about hitting the top of the mountain. And how the beginner’s slopes were going to be a waste of time. I didn’t let her peer pressure steer me away from the beginner areas, since I am clearly a beginner. My husband got hurt an hour before leaving for Snow Summit and had to stay behind. Not having my partner to have my back on the slopes I had to start thinking strategically for myself. Funny how when my husband is around, I am such a Disney Princess, but on my own, I turn into Wonder Woman.
I got my Wonder Woman on and got on the ski lift to get on top of the beginner slopes. I took a look down the mountain and it really wasn’t that dramatic of a hill. Little kids in elementary school were zooming down like it was nothing. But knowing that I didn’t want to get hurt, I started eyeing the mountain. I realized that there was no way that I could go down in one fell swoop. So I made modifications to how I would accomplish this goal.
The Water Bottle Strategy
I knew I had to get down one way or another. This reminded me of a conversation my husband and I had when we first got married. He asked me what I would do if I had to carry a whole pack of water bottles by myself? Would I quit and leave it or carry one water bottle at a time until I accomplished my goal? I laughed and said leave it in the car and he laughed because he knows I was talking “cash sh*t”.
I thought about this conversation because a lot of times I feel overwhelmed or intimidated by a lot of the challenges life throws at me. But once I break them down and only carry one water bottle at a time, it’s not that bad. I feel like I can do it and yes, it might take longer, but I am still able to accomplish it.
When I had to figure out how to snowboard down that ice mountain, the water bottle analogy popped into my head. I literally looked out only a few feet in front of me and picked a point in the snow as my mini-goal. Once I got to that point in the snow, I purposefully stopped and fell on my butt to gather myself and figure out what worked and what didn’t work. I realized that right when I started turning that the snowboard speeded up too much for my comfort. Snowboarding front facing was my comfort zone since I was able to easily press on my heels to slow down. I did this process of stopping and going until I got to the bottom of the mountain.
Once I unbuckled my snowboard from my boots and looked for my sister. I realized that she was still at the top of the mountain trying to figure out how to get down. She was at the top for at least 10 minutes before she started to go down. She took my same approach and found her spots in the snow to stop. When she reached the bottom of the mountain, I asked her what took her so long to start. She responded that she got too in her head and couldn’t believe that she was having a hard time mentally overcoming the beginner’s slopes. Remind you she wanted to go to the top of the mountain that was clearly for professionals.
The scariest lesson of snowboarding and goal setting that I learned is that just because you know something doesn’t mean it won’t trip you up. On our last round, we were getting off the ski lift and I don’t know what happened. But my snow boot didn’t grip to the ground and the lift almost carried me away. The guys managing the lift had to stop the lift and fix a pole that I carried away with the lift. That was a pretty scary experience, especially since I did so well get off the lift the whole time. It was embarrassing, but I am okay. I learned to not get too comfortable just because you’ve done something well before. Sometimes, even the things you feel you know are the one thing that seems to get you in the end.
I think life humbled my sister and I about talking “cash sh*t” when setting goals. Every goal can’t be rushed or pressured just because we really want it to. We have to be compassionate with ourselves and others when it takes longer to accomplish a goal or when things don’t go perfect. This was a humbling experience for me. I experienced how I treated my husband and family when I created cash sh*t goals and how things aren’t always as simple as they seem.