(As I'm off on a mini-vacation to Glacier National Park, today's article is a guest post by David Damron. David works to help others achieve their goals and make success a reality in their life. Take it away David!) By the end of this article, you will hate me and I want you to. Read on to find out why.
Let me be blunt with you. You are not succeeding at your financial goals. How do I know this? Because you are reading a personal finance site that is helping you to correct that problem. Today is going to be a little different though.
Instead of having Caleb Wojcik break down ways to save on cell phone plans or become a free member of the Frugal Gym, I am going to ask you establish your financial goals and show you how to effectively complete them.
How’s This Going to Differ?
There is one thing I want to make clear: I am not a financial expert despite working in the field for some 3 years now. I am an expert in achieving goals. I set a goal and I achieve it. Simple as that. So, don’t be worried that I am going to tell you how to save $5 by not buying coffee today. I am here to break down your mental barriers to achieving whatever the hell it is you want to achieve.
The reason I state this is because I want you to look beyond the dollars and cents. I want you to to stop for a moment, think about the number 1,000 and not $1,000. There’s a big difference there. We often are frozen in our tracks simply by observing the idea of dollar signs (money and finances). For example, if I told you to make an extra $1,000 a next month, you see the constraints of dollar signs. However, if I told you to build 1,000 paper airplanes and provided the paper and instructions, you would make 1,000 paper airplanes in no time. The funny thing is, you could be doing the exact same thing in regards to dollars instead of airplanes. It’s a matter of working past the constraints (dollar signs/financial worry) and accomplishing the goal step-by-step.
What we are going to do today is forget about the dollar figure and see each dollar as an airplane. Your goal may not be the $1,000 extra per month, but I want you to forget about the money part and observe your goal as if you were building a house instead of a stack of cash.
What You Need to Do Before Anything Else
Get a piece of paper and a pen. Yes, we are going all pre-iPad on ya. Time to write down your goals and how you are going to achieve them.
What’s Your Goal?
Here’s the simplest question I could possibly ask you. What is your financial goal?
Before you answer that question, let me lay out some guidelines. As Pocket Changed is a financially themed site, let’s focus on one specific, tangible financial goal. That means not to sabotage yourself. Goals like saving $100 this week is a goal I like. Goals like I want to own a mansion are stupid. Yes, they are stupid. Why? Because you have $50 in savings right now and a mansion should be the last thing on your mind.
Remember, the goal needs to be simple and tangible (measurable).
What Are You Doing Today?
Over at Life Excursion, I ask this question constantly. What are you doing today to be doing whatever it is you want tomorrow?
Often we think about all the work ahead this week. Stop that. Think about the one goal you have today. If that is organizing your electronic automatic payments for all of your bills, then do that TODAY. Stop thinking about the savings you need to set up at the bank or the car insurance you need to negotiate Wednesday night or the credit card you are transferring to a card with a better interest rate. Stop that and just think about the goal that you are establishing today that will propel you in the next days to come.
Where is Your Mind-Map?
I strive when I create mind-maps and it’s time for you to as well. You have established your goal so now it is time to break it down to it’s simplest form. (For further information on mind-maps, I strongly suggest you check this out.)
What mind-mapping breaks down to is a central focus being broken down further and further from the source. For example, if your financial goal is to save $10 today, then you could break that down into 10 ways to save $1 then break that down into action steps to save that $1. You probably get the point, but if not check out that link above.
I can’t say it enough. It comes down to taking the simplest action.
Often when we just get started, we will continue farther than we originally thought we could. If you just start doing something, you will find yourself immersed in completing your goal.
What’s That? You Weren’t Paying Attention
I understand that this article is somewhat lengthy. I figured some of you may have gotten to this point by skipping through the material. That’s lazy, but I understand. So, I am going to dumb this down to the absolute necessities to complete your goal. If you do nothing else today, take the 5 minutes to write down the following and fill in the blanks accordingly.
What’s the simplest financial goal I could possibly set?
What are 3 action steps I will do today to accomplish this simple goal?
Have I built a mind-map for success?
Yes or No (If no, do so immediately following this)
I, ____________________(Name), will start acting on this goal RIGHT NOW.
Some of those questions and desired responses may sound like I am talking down to you and are for children. Yes, I was and yes, they should be. However, I know how to succeed at goals. When we were kids, we said, “I want to climb that ladder,” and we did it. Today, we say, “I want to climb that ladder,” and we think about the consequences of climbing the ladder, the possibilities of falling off that ladder, the effort needed to climb that ladder, and so on. Just f'n climb the ladder. That’s what those questions and responses are getting you to do.
At the beginning, I stated I wanted you to hate me by the end. Hopefully, my direct nature has made you do so. Why do I want you to hate me? The more you hate me, the more you will want to prove me wrong. So, go ahead. Prove me wrong. Do everything I suggest and if you still fail at your goal, I will give you a free copy of Destination X ($47 value). I am so confident that you will succeed at your goal that I have no worries that I will not receive even 1 email stating failure. Hate me all you want and by the time you have accomplished your goal, I guarantee your thoughts will change.