Are you having difficulty achieving your financial goals? Do you desperately want to buy a house of your own, spend a nice vacation in an all-inclusive, or earn enough to stop living off credit cards? Are life’s challenges intervening to make your desires seem like impossible fantasies?
Sometimes our goals are elusive because we’re not taking all the steps needed to attain them. Get back on track to achieving your objectives by following this four-step system :
The Dream Process
“We’ve got to have a dream if we are going to make a dream come true.” - Denis Waitley
The first step in improving your current financial picture is to envision yourself in a better situation. To start the dream process, become child-like in your thoughts and dream big. Visualise yourself living out your dream – see what’s around you, hear the sounds and smell the scents, taste and feel the experience.
Get to the root of your dream and ask yourself what emotional need it satisfies for you. Your desire for your own home might really be a need for security; a new car might bring the self-confidence you crave. Then use that strong need to bolster your determination that the dream must one day come true. Use visual reminders to help you continuing focusing on your dream.
The Goal Setting Process
“Goals are dreams we convert to plans and take action to fulfill.” - Zig Ziglar
Dreams can be a powerful impetus to success, but often we stifle our desires by leaving them in a vague wish state. To convert a dream into a goal, you have to express it in a way that your mind will believe it’s possible, and your body will be compelled to act upon it.
To set excellent goals, ensure that they follow these S.M.A.R.T. criteria:
S – Specific: What exactly do you want to accomplish? Be detailed in your description, so that others can understand your goals too. So instead of saying “I want to own my own home,” declare “I want to buy a J$5m, two-bedroom house in St Catherine.”
M – Measurable: If the goal is very vague, how will you know what it will take to achieve it, and how can you tell if you’ve reached it? Many people say, “I want to have lots of money.” Express this as a goal, “I would like to have J$1million in my bank account in five years.”
A - Achievable: Give yourself challenging objectives, but don’t de-motivate yourself by setting the bar too high, too soon. So while “I want to double my salary in two months,” might be unrealistic, “I will learn two new skills to upgrade myself so that I can get a pay increase next year,” will be doable.
R – Relevant: Sometimes people find goals hard to achieve because they really aren’t passionate about them, or they’re trying fulfill the wishes of family and friends. So instead of thinking “I want a nice job,” focus on what’s important to you; “I want to create a business that teaches people how to be financially successful.”
T – Time based: If you don’t put a desired completion date to your goal, then you’ll always be procrastinating about getting it done. Deadlines create urgency, so fast-track from, “I want to get a degree one day,” by stating “I am going to start UWI in September 2009.”
The Planning Process
“Setting a goal is not the main thing. It is deciding how you will go about achieving it and staying with that plan.”- Tom Landry
Now that you have your goals clarified and written down, how are you going to achieve them? To create a workable plan, it’s best to get the help of an expert financial advisor. There are several financial institutions that can help you prioritise your various objectives, calculate the amount of money required for future goals, and design a savings and investment strategy that works for you.
If your goal is to get a college degree, your action plan might be, “Save J$10,000 monthly in a money-market account for eighteen months towards the first year tuition, then apply for a student loan to make up the difference for the next three years.”
The Action Process
“If what you are doing is not moving you towards your goals, then it’s moving you away from your goals” – Brian Tracy
Dreaming big and making plans won’t get you to the goal line if you don’t act immediately, enthusiastically and consistently. Commit at once to do something to further your goal. Call a realtor or test drive your dream car – take some small step to let your brain know you are serious.
Continue onwards despite fear, setbacks, tiredness, obstacles and negativity. Be realistic about how long it will take, get support and celebrate minor successes along the way. You have to be flexible and realize that there may be more than one way to achieve your goals, and that disappointments can sometimes bring a better outcome than you dreamed. Keep going!
“Whatever you vividly imagine, ardently desire, sincerely believe and enthusiastically act upon must inevitably come to pass.” – Paul J. Meyer
About the Author
Cherryl Hanson Simpson is a financial consultant and money coach, and founder of Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services. She is currently writing her first book, “The 3 Ms of Money: How to Manage, Multiply and Maintain Your Money.” Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services is Jamaica’s number one source for practical, down-to-earth and independent answers for all questions relating to personal finance. Get more smart money advice at www.financiallysmartonline.com and and www.financiallysmartadvice.com .
Copyright © 2008 Cherryl Hanson Simpson.