As we welcome in 2017, I thought it would be good to discuss how to meet financial goals and financial deadlines in the New Year.
Financial goals and deadlines go hand in hand.
The best financial goals are measurable, have a set date and deadline. If we don’t know how to meet our own deadlines, we’ll have a hard time meeting our financial goals.
Meeting deadlines helped me improve my credit score when I was paying off debt.
Truth is – you can’t build your credit if you don’t pay your expenses or debts on time.
Financial deadlines can seem like bazookas slowly moving in on us. We feel powerless to stop their progress as we watch the trigger pull back in slow motion.
As we miss one deadline, we feel the slow progress of stress as it unfolds itself into our intestines, causing ulcers.
And just like the monster that won’t die (in really bad horror movies), more deadlines pass and we find ourselves curled up on the couch, eating ice cream and watching re runs of “Friends’.
Sometimes we get lucky and missing deadlines doesn’t affect our finances or our credit score but most times it does and it quickly leads to financial overwhelm.
Deadlines can overwhelm us which leads to financial stress
According to the Pareto Principle (80/20 rule), 20 percent of something is always responsible for 80% of the results.
Not all the actions we have on our to-do list will improve our finances. So you have to figure out what financial behaviors you need to focus on in order to change your current financial state.
To see long term changes we need to prioritize the actions that will make the greatest impact on our finances.
Only 20% of your financial goals and actions on your to-do list will give you the results you really want.
The key is to take the action that will get you closer to your financial goal in the shortest time.
For me that action was paying off debt and saving so I could stop relying on credit.
Now that that’s done, my focus is on creating extra streams of income and the way I’m doing that is by building my business and my investment portfolio.
How to meet financial goals and deadlines
1. Understand your financial vision
Your vision is your end result. Understand why your vision matters to you and how it'll make you feel.
When I was heavily in debt, the vision of being free and having no worries every month-end kept me going and focused.
When I got demotivated, I’d remind myself that there’d come a day when I could easily answer my phone without worrying about debt collectors. And that would give me the courage to keep going.
When you know what you want to achieve, the actions you need to take to get there will reveal themselves to you in time.
To really understand what actions matter we need get into our heads and understand the results we want to achieve.
2. Focus on your strengths
When we’re overwhelmed and lying on that couch, it is hard to imagine an alternate future but being able to look back at past victories can help us understand the scope of our capabilities.
When you feel like you’re losing, force yourself to look at your past victories and understand what your strengths are and how to use these strengths to reach our goals.
Understanding our strengths gives us insights on the things we need help on.
Having a financial advisor and a tax practitioner has made the journey way easier for me. It helped me reach my goals faster because I understand that my strength isn’t in understanding tax implications or paperwork; I’d rather spend my time reading up on investments and connecting with the spirit of money.
3. Become solution focused
The Oxford English dictionary defines “overwhelm” as burying or drowning beneath a huge mass.
We become overwhelmed because of our thinking process: we think that the problem is greater than the solution.
When we become consumed with our financial problems and issues, we get stuck in the problem which makes the problem even bigger in our minds, which is what takes us to that couch.
Einstein said, “We can’t solve problems with the same kind of thinking that we used to create them.”
To get out off the couch we have to step back, be objective and change our thinking.
Focus on the financial solution and never lose sight of the goal, no matter the setbacks.
4. Change your thinking
You know how people say your body is a temple?
Well, there should be a saying that says your mind is a shrine.
The brain is a computer and it can rewire itself, if we keep telling ourselves we’ll never be able to reach our goals or that we’re not meant to be debt-free, the brain processes that information and makes it a self-fulfilling prophecy.
The subconscious mind is the supercomputer that controls the conscious mind, by feeding it instructions.
The subconscious mind is where all our beliefs and habits are stored.
If we can change the way our subconscious mind thinks we can change our behavioral patterns and how we react to stress and stressful situations.
So question your thoughts and your beliefs.
5. Acknowledge your successes
The key to getting off that couch and going for gold is to make ourselves believe that we’re getting closer to our goals.
A wise man once said that seeing is believing.
Who are we to argue with ancient wisdom?
Seeing and acknowledging our progress can motivate us to keep going.
Running taught me a lot about achieving financial goals. Running taught me that I get demotivated when I focus on how far I still have to run, and get motivated when I think of how far I've already run.
This shift in thought changed my running experience.
Instead of worrying about the work you have still have to do or the financial goals you still have to reach, celebrate the work you've already done and see how it changes your productivity and your finances!
When we know what we want, are clear about our goals, our strengths and are solution focused, deadlines will turn into slingshots that make us more productive and bring us closer to our financial dreams.
What financial deadlines are you facing and how do they make you feel?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below and don't forget to pin the image above.