With a looming credit card bill courtesy of the festive season plus a brand new year with a whole host of new financial goals, we might be regretting some of those extra festive season purchases. Unfortunately we can’t turn back the clock, however you can stay ahead of the rat race with four little words. They are why, what, when and how.
Let’s face it, if you were told by your doctor that you needed an operation to save your life or that of someone you love, and you needed to raise $30,000 in the three months, can you imagine your heart racing and how time would almost stand still as you realised what this meant and what you had to do.
You may not know exactly how to get the money, but you would know three very important things:
1) ‘Why’ you had to act,
2) ‘What’ to do to get started and
3) ‘When’ you needed it to happen.
The only other step left was in working out the ‘how’. Four simple words and so powerful when you are crystal clear about the first one.
Think about this ‘life or death’ situation for a minute. The ‘how’ seemed so much smaller than the ‘why’ because the thought of not doing the ‘how’ is unthinkable. This driving force, the ‘why’, became so clear in your mind that you had the power to make it happen. You didn’t just think, you pictured yourself, felt the adrenaline and imagined taking action. Making it happen is a process of the mind and your key to achieving any goal(s), including your financial ones.
On this subject of setting financial goals, I could just tell you to simply list down your goals for 2014, make sure they are very specific goals, measurable and realistic, as any text book will tell you. However is this going to be enough, or do you want insurance on the outcome being achieved? Let me share with you a special technique to make your ‘why’ real.
How to make your ‘why’ a reality.
In addition to writing your goals, gather pictures and create a vision board of your life when you have achieved the goal(s). How would it look, what would you include, who would be there? This is an opportunity to have ‘me’ time and may be your best investment for the year.
Close your eyes for a minute and relax, see the vision of your ‘why’ in full colour. Smell where you are, maybe by the sea or in a forest, cruising down a highway, not a care in the world. What colours do you see, are they bright, clear, is it sunny? What sounds do you hear – laughter, are there birds, animals, waves? Who is with you and what will they be doing? How bright is your picture? Make it really bright in your mind.
How would you feel?
Now stop and ask yourself how you would feel if you don’t achieve it, what do you see and smell? What are you doing in this very different picture? Has the brightness you saw now faded? Make it dull, see grey clouds. What happened to your posture? Did you feel that you just walked from one scene in a movie to another?
Now see the picture you want and make this bigger and brighter in your mind. Practice this every day for a week, then document your goal(s) and the steps you believe you need to take to achieve it. As children we all did visualisations really well, but as adults we lost something. We need to get this back.
I cannot tell you the number of people who when questioned about their ‘why’ always bring it back to their biggest ‘why’, which is usually about spending more time with loved ones. However, when faced with so many everyday tasks the ‘how’ or the steps to take look or feel like a mountain to climb. This causes the emotion driving the achievement of the ‘why’, and the path to get your ultimate goal, to fade.
Keep the way forward brightly lit for each goal by following what I have shared with you, and get as creative as you like. Put your goals or the pictures that represent them where you are reminded daily.
Also, I have a great quote for you by Denis Waitley that goes something like this:
Don’t be a time manager, be a priority manager. Cut your major goals into bite-sized pieces. Each small priority or requirement on the way to the ultimate goal becomes a mini goal in itself.
In essence, breaking a larger goal into smaller ones makes the journey to achieving the end game so much easier.
Remember, writing your financial goals for 2014 is about being in control of your life and focusing on what you want gives you the power to live by your own design. Have a great 2014!