This week, I can feel the saltwater drying on my skin every day after I head in from scuba diving.  I can see the bottom from my perch on the tip of the bow, looking for fish (and sharks!) as we sail.  We’re getting closer to the goal, and I’m starting to be able to feel it happening.

But some days, that feeling is harder to focus on.  Some days, when it’s cold and I just want to go back to bed, I forget.  I forget that we’re trying to do things differently, so we can live it up later.  I forget that we’re not buying a new car, so that later we can buy a sailboat.  In the midst of the mess and the stuff, I get too bogged down by the to-do list to focus on the why.

So how do we keep the fire burning as we slog down the path to freedom?  To a real-life, sailing-off-into-the-sunset happy ending?

Here are 6 ways I keep the “why” alive:

  1. Surround yourself with reminders of your ideal life. I surround myself with tropical decor, such as these amazing pillows from Amazon (without, of course, overspending and harming your progress!):
  2. Visualize the goal.  I plastered the walls with pictures of our dream boat, a 44′ sailing catamaran.  Need some inspiration?  Search Unsplash for gorgeous, free-to-use photos that you can use in your own decor.  Whatever your dream, photos can help keep it feeling real.  I had some printed to fit some frames we already had (try searching coupon codes for Walgreens Photo), and it cost only a few dollars per large print.  I once had a boss who told me he’d put up a photo of the Porsche he wanted in his bathroom next to the toilet.  By the time I met him, he was driving that Porsche – and bought one for his wife too.
  3. Work on gaining the knowledge you will need in your post-work life.  For example, right now I’m renewing my scuba instructor license and taking some associated continuing-education courses to get back up to speed, anticipating that I will return to teaching.  I’m also working my way through the Elite Blog Academy course, in anticipation of moving more of my income streams online.
  4. Aggressively eliminate distractions.  As far as I’m concerned, anything that isn’t getting us closer to the goal is up for review.  This means we’ve been working on setting guidelines for what other types of projects, home improvements, and distractions we’ll accept as we work toward the goal.
  5. Evaluate every decision in terms of your goal.  Thinking about getting a new pet?  How will that pet fit into your plans?  Considering home upgrades?  Will they help or hurt you when it comes time to make a change?
  6. Find a way to have a piece of your dream on a regular basis – once a year, or more often.  Are you planning to move to a cabin in the mountains?  Take a trip to your ultimate destination, or do activities that you’re planning to enjoy in your new environment.

How else are you keeping the momentum going?  What helps motivate you to change your life?  Share below!