02: Planning your dreams

Thank you so much for joining me here again at Money Mindful! Today we are looking at creating goals to achieve what you want.

I’m here in my home office, it’s nice and quiet today. My little whippet Dasher is asleep in her basket beside me. It’s the perfect time to talk about goals and what you want to achieve.

Let’s first have a little recap on what we discussed last week. How did you go? Hopefully by now you have completed the ‘What is your net worth?’ worksheet and have clarity on what your net worth is. How do you feel about? Do you want to change?

Do you have debt that you want to clear?

Are there improvements you want to make to your finances?

What I love about knowing your net worth is it gives you clarity on where you really are.   If you sold everything today, how long could you actually live off that money? It’s an interesting perspective to have. If you’re living pay cheque to pay cheque and have a negative net worth or no net worth it is such great news to discover this because now you have the awareness to do something about. Which, brings us to goal setting.

Some of you might be rolling your eyes at the thought of writing goals but I want you to suspend you judgments for the purpose of the exercise today. Hear me out.

Why do you want more money?

Why is it important to you?

What do you want to create?

These are some of the questions you can reflect on to clarify what goal you want to set.

Last week I used the analogy of a GPS to find out where you are financially speaking. Let’s continue with that analogy. Now you need to work out where you want to go. Your GPS tracker is not going to get you to your destination if you don’t know where you want to go.

So I’m just going to cut to the chase and say there is a reason why successful people set goals. If you don’t plan what you want and where you want to go in life it’s pretty hard to get to where you want to go if you don’t even know where that is.

I want to presents another way of looking at goals to you as well. Let’s look at this another way. Your brain is an incredible machine that likes to be efficient and create what you tell it to do. If you are continuing to say I don’t know what to do, I don’t know where to go your brain is going to create that result for you.  She is so efficient and obedient like that.

A goal gives your brain a project to work on. It might complain or be non-compliant in the beginning or try to go back to the same old patterns it knows well, remember your brain really really really wants to serve you in the most efficient way and of course keep you safe. I’m not going to overload you with how our primitive brain works right now but a quick summary of why we usually get push back when we want to do something new is because our brain wants to keep us safe and well worn old patterns that have served us in the past is where your brain is going to want to keep you.

but I’m telling you if you have a goal that you want to achieve and you write it down and focus on it everyday and take action towards it that is some powerful sh!t right there.

I don’t want to get all whoo whoo on you but it kind of blows my mind that when I write a goal down at the start of the year even if I don’t actively focus on it all the time when I get to the end of the year that goal is usual achieved. I want to say it’s like magic but it’s not magic. You see, when you set an intention you find that your actions just start working towards that. Don’t get me wrong though, I don’t mean you can just say I want to make a $100000 this year and then proceed to sit on you arse and do nothing and expect it to happen. That’s ridiculous.

You write a goal but the secret sauce is the action you take.

The trouble some people have with goals is they have never created it before and therefore it doesn’t feel believable or they don’t know how to achieve it so they think it’s not possible. I have definitely been guilty of that. Some goals have felt so out of my reach it felt too scary to even write it down. Big goals get big results, little goals get small results. I will say I have made plenty of small goals that have got me small results. And that’s ok. There have been times in my life that making small goals and commitments was all I felt capable of and that’s fine. It only created small results but you know what? Lots of small results can start some momentum that snowball into moving you forward to a place of creating big.   It builds some confidence in your abilities.

Wherever you are right now is perfect. Start from where you are now and move forward from there. If you are all in and ready to feel all the doubt and negative emotion that comes from making a big goal Go for it. If you are ready to make some small changes in your life to build some confidence, that’s just perfect too.

You steer your own ship. I can’t tell you the answer or what is best for you. You know what is best for you right now; so just trust that, back yourself and your decisions and go for it.

There are different types of goals

Short term

Medium term

Long term

At the end of the day you need to set a goal and then take action towards it. It’s as simple as that. In the beginning that might look like baby steps. It might be something really small and short term. It might be borrow a particular finance book from the library, or listen to a podcast. (Like the Money Mindful podcast) To get your head in the space for managing your money and focusing on that. The important point is that you decide on a goal and then simply just do something towards your goal every week or every day.

In the beginning of a new goal sometimes most of my actions can be very passive and I would classify it as consuming rather than taking action. I will use the example of creating this podcast. For instance at first I spent time reading books or learning something about how to make a podcast, so that’s consuming information, But then I directly took action by creating content for a podcast episode. Can you see the difference? Both are valid however creating content for the podcast is what actually created the result that I wanted. The reading and consuming information was still a part of the process because it got me to where I am today. But that alone would not have produced this podcast. You must take action.

Ok let’s set a goal!

I have a process I do every year that encompasses my goals for all areas of my life. I’m going to give you the overview I do, so you can gain an understanding of what is possible but today for simplicity we are just going to work on the steps to create one goal.

In summary, I take the different areas of my life that are important to me, I have six at the moment, at other times I have had less. I think four categories such as personal, work, family and hobbies for example is a good place to start. If you’re curious I will share with you what mine are:

  • Work –my part time teaching job
  • Investing and money management
  • New Adventures –such as this podcast
  • Health
  • Home and family
  • Creative- I’m big on fibre art I do a lot of knitting ,weaving etc

These are 6 areas of my life that are important to me and I like to write them out and have goals for each one because, let’s face it, our lives are not one dimensional we have many areas that make up our life. Now this isn’t a balanced list. I don’t put equal time into each area. Depending on what my priorities are I may focus more of my attention on one area over another. This year a lot of my focus has been on my investing and money management as we have been acquiring some new big investments.  It changes year to year.

I create an over arching goal for each of these areas. Let’s call them my umbrella goals and then I write down all the smaller to do list goals that I will do along the way to achieving that goal. I keep this up on my wall beside my desk so I see it everyday and it’s a great reminder of what I want to keep my attention on and then I can also tick off what I have achieved, which is a great motivated to keep taking action when I’m feeling a bit stuck.

If you’re getting lost right now don’t worry we are going to hone in on just one goal and how to do it.

The way to start is to ask yourself.

What do I want to achieve?

I might write a few things down but I often find I self censor my own life and potential based on what I think is possible to achieve so to avoid this you also need to ask yourself:

If money and time were not an issue what would I want to create?

That’s where I get the really juicy scary goals that inspire me but also scare me a little!

I’ve been using goal setting as a way of life for many years. I’m in the habit of doing it and what I’ve found is that I’m a bit more comfortable now being uncomfortable setting big goals. Because believe me big goals create discomfort in your life- as my coach says

“discomfort is the currency to success”

But if you just want to start with something small to get yourself going and in the habit of creating goals that’s great too.

If this is your first time setting goals, I don’t want to impose any limitations on you but if the idea of a big 10 year goal for example, feels a little too overwhelming for you in the beginning just start with a small achievable goal to get going and build your confidence up. Once you start creating evidence for yourself that you can create new things in your life it may help develop the courage to dream big and go for what you really want.

Step one: ask yourself the questions and write down the answers. Don’t just think about it. There is a lot of power in writing it down on paper.

The first question is:

What do I want to achieve?

You might want to consider: If money and time were not an issue what would you want to create? Go big. Let yourself have it.

The second question is:

Why is this important?

Why does this matter to you? Now listen up this is the most important part: What is your compelling reason to achieve this goal? If you want to achieve something big in your life you want to be clear about why you want to do it. This will help you stay on your path when the going gets tough. The ‘why’ is personal to you. You don’t have to justify it to anyone.

You might want to earn a lot of money because you want to go on holiday every year or buy a nice car. That’s fine. It doesn’t have to be because you want to save the world although that is fine too.

The third question is:

What are the obstacles to achieving your goal?

This might seem like a funny question to ask but stay with me. Don’t get too bogged down in the ‘how’ because usually in the beginning we don’t know the how, we have to figure it out. I want you to write down all the things that are in the way of achieving your goal. This is and wait for it because it’s a goodie….. this is your to do list to achieve the goal.

Still with me?

Let me give you an example, your goal might look something like this?

What do I want to achieve?

I want to build an investment portfolio that provides a passive income in my retirement.

Why is this important?

I want to be financially independent. I don’t want to rely on the pension. I want to create my own pension. I want to feel a sense of financial security from what I have created. I want to make sure my family is looked after.

What are the obstacles to achieving your goal?

I don’t know how or where to invest my money– Action is: seek out some finance books at the library, start educating myself.

I don’t have any savings. – Action is: to start saving, take steps to learn how to spend less.

Do I need to invest in shares? I don’t know how- Action is: do one of the free shares education courses on the ASX website

Are you starting to get the idea here?

You might have 50 obstacle or to dos in your list but that’s it, you have the path now that you need to follow. You know what you need to do to achieve your goal.

Ok this is a basic framework you can use to set a goal and create actionable steps to achieve it.

It you want to get really specific with your goal, which, I would encourage you to do. Another step you can take is to write your goal up as a SMART goal

SMART stands for

Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely

The goal might look something like this.

I create a $4 million dollar unencumbered property portfolio that produces a passive income of $200K per annum. (Specific) I will do this by acquiring approximately 12 properties over the next 10 years. I will sell off 2 to 4 properties to pay down the debt. (Attainable and Measurable) I will do this by 2035. (Realistic and Timely)

This is a long-term goal that will have many many steps to achieving it over the next 16 years. So to achieve a big goal like this you might want to break it down into smaller chunks to do in the short and medium term. Gary Keller outlines an excellent process in his book The One Thing. Taking a big long-term goal and then working backwards. In summary, he teaches- to achieve this goal what is the one thing you need to do by 5 years to be on track for this goal? Then to be on track for that- what’s the one thing you need to do three years from now? One year from now? What’s the one thing you need to do six months from now? One month from now? One week from now? What’s the one thing you need to do today?

Do yourself a favour read this book. It has so many practical steps you can take towards achieving what you want in your life. I highly recommend it.

Ok my friends what are you waiting for? Let’s set some goals. I would love to hear how you go. You can leave a comment here or shoot me an email Meaghan@moneymindful.com.au

I think it was Gary Keller who said in his book – Most people over estimate what they can do in a year but underestimate what they can do in 5 or 10 years. Let’s get started.

Once again I want to make this super easy for you so I have created a goal setting worksheet for you. See the link below to access worksheet.

So that’s all I’ve got for today folks.

Get started. Take action. Until next time, have a beautiful week. Bye bye.

Take Action

Your homework assignment this week is to complete the ‘Goals’ worksheet.

To access the ‘Goals?’ worksheet. click here pdf download icon 

Inspiration for the goal setting process I personally do, as described in this post, is a combination of a wide variety of goal setting processes I have learnt over time from The Life Coach School, SMART goals, Gary Keller and Lindy Allen.

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