One of the most important keys to living a fulfilling life is to know where you're going. Having goals that motivate you, excite you, and push you forward can help you get the most out of yourself and experience a life that's worth living.
This is especially true for your finances. If your financial life is in order and you're headed toward accomplishing financial goals that support your greatest values and dreams, you'll be happier and more self-confident as a result.
Use these tips to begin setting fulfilling personal financial goals today:
1. Brainstorm without editing. Grab a pen and paper and sit in a room where you won't be disturbed for about 20 to 30 minutes. As fast as you can, write down as many financial dreams and goals as you can. Allow your thoughts to flow freely onto the paper without editing or judging them. The time for that will come later.
As you brainstorm the possibilities, think about the financial difficulties that frustrate you and the financial dreams that you've been afraid to pursue. Think about what you'd do or dream if it were impossible for you to fail.
As you brainstorm ideas, think about every area of your life. Would you like to be free? Own your own home? Become financially independent? Help out a loved one that has a big financial need? Supply money for college for your children? The possibilities are endless.
2. Prioritize your list. After about 30 minutes, you should have a page or two full of possibilities for your list of financial goals. Once you do, begin to think about which of these goals is most important to you. Which ones bring you peace inside? Which ones excite you the most? Those are the ones to put at the top of your list.
3. Write down all the challenges that stand in your way. After you've chosen about 3 to 5 financial goals that excite you, create a new page for each one. Write the goal at the top of the page. Then, list all the reasons you think you can't achieve this goal. Write down all the challenges that stand in your way.
Your list of obstacles will provide you with concrete next steps that will quickly banish your fear of failure. Come back to this list later and ask yourself how you can overcome each of these challenges. Who can help you? What resources do you need? What information do you lack? What next steps need to be taken?
Instead of denying that there are challenges on the road to any worthwhile goal, meet those challenges head on by thinking through them in advance. When you do, nothing will stop you from reaching the financial goals you set.
4. Create an emergency fund first. One of the simplest ways to dramatically increase your sense of excitement, peace, and joy in life is to be prepared for when things go wrong financially. An emergency fund of one month's income frees you from much of the financial stress you're currently feeling.
Once you save enough money for your emergency fund, commit to only using this money in the case of real emergencies. This fund ensures the train to your financial dreams stays on track. You'll be surprised how much of your day is spent worrying about finances. This is banished with your emergency fund.
5. Focus on action steps. The end result of your exciting financial goals should drive you to keep putting one foot forward. But it can also hinder you from progress by making you feel overwhelmed. Instead, focus on one step at a time until you reach the financial destiny you were born to live.
Finances are a source of stress for many people. However, if you put these tips into practice, your financial situation will be different. Instead of chasing your tail and feeling like you'll never get ahead, you'll be excited about the future and about the peace of mind that comes with a healthy financial life.