Ok. It’s December; old, non-functioning seasonal decorations have been replaced, new ones have been added, and gifts have been purchased. You may have already found yourself thinking “next year, I’m going to be putting a little money aside every week as a gift fund so we aren’t so strapped for cash next December.” Don’t beat yourself up about this, but use it as energy to act.
Use that feeling to commit to forming a plan for yourself and family, but not just about the holidays. Make this plan a two to three year plan, so it’s not about resolutions but a deeper path you want to forge for yourself.
Visualize: Pick a date, lets say three years out from today, or some date close to that far out (not further) that has meaning for you and project yourself in your mind forward to that time. Describe for yourself, write your responses down on paper:
- Where you are living? House? Location? With whom? Do you own it?
- What will a typical day entail for you? Are you working? For yourself? someone else?
- What pays your bills? Business? Employment? Investments? Lottery? (just seeing if you’re still with me.) What is the nature of that work? How much do you work? From where do you work? Office? Home? Travel?
- What do you do for inspiration and fun? Travel? Charity work? Spend time with good friends? How often?
- With whom will you associate? Is there someone you’ve wanted to work side by side with because you’ve admired their accomplishments? Will you be working side by side with them?
Once you have the future state pictured in your mind and written down so you can review it, you can then consider what happened along the way to get you there. Pretend you are at that future date and being interviewed about how you got here. Answer and write down as appropriate for you:
- I learned…
- I raised the money I needed by…
- I started spending more time with people doing…
- I started reading from ….
- I got serious about my future and enlisted the help of …
- I helped…
- I prepared for obstacles by…
- I …
Put beginning dates on when you started doing the things that got you there, schedule it and work it.
This process does a number of things beyond simple goal setting:
- It sets your mind up to be more attuned for those events, people, opportunities, etc that can aid your progress. Therefore, you’ll recognize it when you see it. This is akin to buying a car and then all of a sudden you begin to see “your car” everywhere on the road.
- It gives you lead-time so you can prepare and be ready for each stage.
- It can help you quickly determine spending priorities; e.g., will purchasing this item further me on my goal or is it a bit of hype or a distraction?
- It can help you stay on track with appropriate associations and time expenditures.
Lastly, although there are many “I”s in the pretend interview section above, that doesn’t mean the path to your goal is a solitary endeavor. Enlist the help of appropriate others always. The “I”s point to the key link in this journey…only “I” can choose begin to act or not.Author: Paul LaPointe is host and frequent contributor for beforeyouneed.com