Goal Setting 101

               This may be the single greatest factor determining not only a person’s financial status, but every area of our lives. Unfortunately, we were taught an absurd and skewed comical method of setting goals once a year before going out to blast our liver into oblivion on New Year’s Eve. The reality is that the majority of people who set these types of goals is done in a frivolous and casual fashion. This point is not to pick on any specific person but we must be able to identify what we don’t want to do, in order to bring ourselves closer to what we want.  

               If we ever stand a chance of turning what is in our heads into the real world, we must write these goals down. Sure, mentally working through problems and thinking things through is great. Maybe we can compare these mental plans to that of what an architect has done to design a building. Awesome, so now you have a good framework in your mind of what is yet to come appear in the world. Similar to a contractor preparing to lay the concrete foundation for a new building, these mental thoughts are like concrete swirling around in our heads waiting to be laid as a foundation.

               When you really break down the process of getting these raw materials of our minds and on paper, you just made it real. Goals, thoughts, ideas, and seeds that did not exist in our world just became a little more real.

               While we will be taking a deep dive into this Principle of Goal Setting in our Focus Articles, let’s take a look further as to why exactly this step helps you attain your goals. Many times, the goals we set can appear a bit daunting when we first look at them. This often leads to creating smaller goals than we would like to achieve. Breaking down our goals into bite size actionable steps allows us to rapidly reach our goals.

               Let’s take an example which to most people would be an interesting goal to achieve. I want to earn $1 million dollars in income next year. Unless you already have some type of business that can help you achieve this, that can be a pretty large goal to tackle. Let’s break it down further. There are 12 months in a year, so we need to earn approximately $83,334 per month. With 52 weeks in the year this translates to $19,231 per week. Having 365 days in the year means we need to earn $2,740 per day. With 24 hours in each day, we need to make $115 per hour.

               I’m not discounting the fact that these are large numbers and most of us will look at this and think, how the hell am I supposed to earn that? Good, then the process is working just as planned. Our whole point of breaking goals down in this fashion is to make our brains shift into gear and start working for us. Now the way to reach this goal is not such a mystery, we know exactly how much we need to earn down to the hour. Now our jobs would be to spend time researching and planning how to achieve these micro goals.

               Putting our goals down on paper brings them one step closer to reality. When dealing with personal finances, it can become easy for us to write our goals and visions down based on our current financial situation. Yes, this makes logical sense but we want to shift our personal finances away from where they currently are.

               It’s beyond amazing how life changing setting these goals down on paper can be. Of course there is nothing magical about it, however you will often be surprised to look back at these goals in one or two years and realize that you’ve accomplished what you wrote down.

I was discussing this same concept with a friend who was sharing with me how he was currently experiencing the goals which he set one year prior playing out in his current life. Just a little over a year prior to our conversation this friend had written down a list of goals, one of them being to travel across the United States and see the country.

               When writing this down he had no specific plan or idea as to how this would happen. However, he planted the seed that day in his mind to travel across the United States. Over the course of the next year, my friend obtained his commercial driver’s license and began moving shipments for Nordstrom all across the country.

               While this may not have been the exact ideal scenario for traveling across the United States, his goal was accomplished! On top of that he was getting paid while experiencing this. I’ll never forget the inspiring text message my friend sent me on New Years Eve 2014 while he was driving a shipment into New York.

               “It’s crazy man, I didn’t know when I wrote that down I would see over 40 states in the next 12 months. Write your goals down on paper, it will happen!”

               I was completely blown away by this experience and my life has been changed ever since. I always heard about setting goals and writing them down on paper. Whenever I came across this concept I always thought to myself, I really need to do this and put my goals down on paper.

               What happened? Life happened, just like it’s happening to all of us. An infinite flow of distraction is constantly flooding our lives, making it feel impossible at times just to have a moment to think.

               So, what is the secret to this problem and how do we solve it? The answer is that there is no secret. Finding time to set your goals about your life and personal finances will be a fight. Subsequently after setting your goals down on paper, that is just the beginning. Then begins the daily fight minute by minute to adhere to your plan of action.

               I wish I knew an was an easier way to reach our goals and achieve financial independence. Maybe we can check with one of those guys on Instagram driving a Lamborghini. Actually, let’s skip that and take a moment to write your goals down on paper.

Put this book down to the side for a moment and grab a pen and paper. Don’t try to take notes in your head. Really take time to get clear on how much income you would like to earn each month. Don’t worry about how you will obtain it just yet, use a number that is reachable but stretching you beyond your known comfort zone. Writing that you want to make a million dollars a day is too far from our current reality.

Maybe start with 3 to 4 times your current income, it should be something that excites you. Our minds have evolved to be goal focused and our default state moves towards laziness and comfort without aggressive and exciting goals to reach for.

I’ll share another quick story to help you with your goals related to your personal finances. Over the years I’ve had quite a few different cars. Nothing extremely fancy at the same time not exactly economical vehicles. Among all these cars was a common denominator, I always had a car payment.

During my scaling back phase I was taking time to write my goals down, the same way you’re doing right now. I wrote down, “I will pay cash for my next car.” Sure enough, I soon found myself in a much older vehicle than I was used to which I bought with cash.

After taking the car into my ownership I laughed and thought to myself, “this isn’t exactly the car I wanted but hey, at least I don’t have a car payment.” 

I hope that these couple stories I shared help to compound an additional thought onto your goal setting. Clarity. Don’t just write down the broader goal, go into detail. When earning your income, what type of service will you be providing and to whom? Would you like to donate to any charitable organization?

All these factors will affect your goal as well as plan of action. I know it’s not as easy as telling you to hop on one leg while patting your head, then pop your right thumb up your bum and cash will start to flow. It will require lots of planning and hard work. If it was easy wouldn’t everyone have their personal finances in order?

According to an article from cnbc.com, “57 percent of Americans have less than $1,000 in savings.”

Finding ourselves in this situation is not the problem. Choosing to stay in this financial condition is the problem. I’m sure there are some people with more complex problems unable to change their situation, but I’m going to take a guess that is not you.

Here’s the truth about making excuses, even those ones we can justify until the cows come home. Excuses come with results. These are just the results that nobody wants to experience. Again, nobody else cares whether you achieve your goals or not. Most of the people around us are busy with their lives and their problems. If you want to make a real change in your life, then get clear on what you want and write your goals down.

Until next time, keep pushing and progressing.


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