Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Independence Day Challenge

Back in high school, I ran cross country. I was even first team all state my senior year (Thank you, smallest state in the union). Since then, I have kinda fallen off the running wagon. I played rugby in college, which interfered with the cross country season, and then switched the gym (intermittently) after that. For the past few years, I haven't run at all.

My parents recently participated in 12-week fitness program that jump-started a more active lifestyle. Fresh off that, my Dad decided he needed a new goal to work towards and enlisted me to partner with him. So basically, I got roped into running again, as we are planning to run in the town's annual 4th of July 5K.

Yesterday I was planning on going for a training run, and I wasn't really feeling like going. I made myself get up and do it anyway, because I have to be ready for the 4th of July road race. I made a commitment to my Dad and to myself that I would run in that race. It's only a month away. I don't have time to skip training runs.

So as I was running, I was thinking about the road race and how it mirrored other goals of mine, specifically getting out of debt. I realized that the reason I agreed to run in the race was that I knew I could prepare in time. If I just followed a training schedule, I would be in good enough shape to run the 5K. Similarly, if I follow my budget, I will be able to pay back my debts.

I decided to make a short term goal for the debt payoff. Wouldn't it be nice if, on Independence Day, I was independent of debt? Well, that's definitely too much of a stretch, but what about one debt? What if I can kick one credit card to the curb before the 4th of July?

As it turns out, the next debt on my list (after the tax bill, which is already planned for) is my Discover card. The current balance on that card is $5329.33. Just about $5K, huh? So although it won't be easy, I think we can do it. My Independence Day Challenge is to pay off the $5K before I run the 5K. I have 30 days to do it.

I am challenging myself - and everyone out there - to set a short term goal. By the 4th of July, promise yourself that you will be in a better financial position than you are today. Maybe you'll be independent of credit cards by taking them out of your wallet and promising not to use them again. Maybe you'll be independent of worry by setting up an emergency fund. Maybe you'll be independent of one of your debts, like I am trying to do. It doesn't matter what it is - only that we make positive steps towards financial independence. The point of money is the freedom it provides - so why not celebrate Independence Day a little more free?

How will you be more financially free before Independence Day? Leave a comment, write a post, let me know! Let's all have a little more freedom.

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