As this year draws to a close, you might be thinking about your hopes and dreams for 2014.You may even have a monster plan to bring in the New Year with a big bang. Not me, this year I’m scaling back …and maybe you should too.
I’ve given a lot of advice about resolutions and have created my own lists for years now. But this time, I’m trying a new approach. I’m sticking to a simple plan with only one goal. For me, it’s going to be better than my past convoluted roadmaps that I could never successfully complete. Face it, I had a better chance of winning the lottery than making all those things happen.
It’s good to think big, but I’ve decided it’s better to stay focused, fight hard and finish strong.
What’s Your One Thing?
Fortunately, if you were already on the “think big” path, the hard work is already done. Now you’ve just go to narrow down your choices and ask, “What’s one thing that could make a big difference in my financial life if I could just pull it off?” Is it finally tackling that debt load, a budget that needs to be a guiding document for your spending and not an afterthought, or a savings plan that needs to be started or reinvigorated? All those ideas and I haven’t even touched on exercise or eating! So, where will you direct your efforts this year?
For my family, the resolution this year is simple: We’re going to save, in advance, for all of our major financial undertakings for 2014. We’ve already had a planning session and agreed upon an approach to fund a family vacation, holiday shopping, a visit to Arrowhead Stadium (go Chiefs!), and kids’ camps. No big last-minute budget busters this year! I’ve already done the legwork, set up the accounts and automatic transfers will begin with the first paycheck of the New Year. Bam! This year will be the first in recent memory where our New Year’s resolution becomes a reality…at least beyond January.
Visualize Success, Build a Plan and Execute
You’ve picked your goal, clearly defined success and now it’s time to map out how you’re going to get it done. The beauty of scaling back is that you won’t need an offsite planning conference with audiovisual support and complicated diagrams to design your strategy. It may take nothing more than a pad of paper and a few minutes chatting after dinner to get everyone on track. Simple or complex, you definitely need to have the whole team paddling in the same direction. And then execute. It’s never easy (trust me, I’ve hit the snooze button on more than one exercise wake-up call), but with laser-like focus on a single outcome, financial or otherwise, my guess is that success that you visualized has a much better chance to become reality.
If you can successfully plan, execute and deliver on more than one goal this year, more power to you. But whether you’re trying to turn the corner with your finances, health or relationships, set yourself up for real success by eating the proverbial elephant one bite at a time.
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