Solid, definable goals are the key to financial freedom. There’s no way around it.
Perhaps that’s why Dr. Thomas Stanley, best-selling author of The Millionaire Next Door, emphasizes the importance of goals in achieving financial success.
According to his extensive survey of American millionaires, the vast majority of millionaires set financial goals, helping to explain why these people became millionaires in the first place!
By providing long term benchmarks, goals help shape our daily decisions in a way that encourages positive financial outcomes. And like a map, goals keep us from going down financial dead end streets.
When we see, for example, that spending $459 on a new iPad takes us further from our goal of a down payment for a home, we are more likely to put the device back.
So what can you do to ensure that you’ll achieve your financial goals?
First, Value Your Goal As a Promise to Yourself
We’re more inclined to keep a promise to others than we are to keep a promise to ourselves. It’s sad, but true.
We’ll break our neck to keep a commitment to our best friend, to our church, or to our kids. We’ll rush to fulfill an obligation to our volunteer organization or to our parents, hoping to avoid a crushing sense of guilt if we don’t come through.
Yet, we break promises to ourselves all the time.
Promises we make to ourselves should carry just as much significance as the promises we make to others.
Write yourself a promissory note. Sit down and quietly write yourself a promissory note. This is a simple letter to yourself vowing to complete your goal. Place your promise somewhere visible. Treat this promise as sacred as any commitment you’d make to your child, spouse, or church.
Get an accountability partner. Confess your goals aloud to someone. Perhaps you want to save $20,000 for a down payment on a home. Inform a person who loves you, or who has your best interests in mind, of your goal. Not only can they act as a cheerleader, they can also ensure you remain accountable to your own goals. Better yet, find someone who has similar goals as you. Serve as each other’s support network.
Second, Visualize Your Goals
Visualization is an extremely powerful tool. It’s used by world class athletes and powerful business people alike. They mentally picture themselves accomplishing their goals in clear, vivid detail.
Use this tool of the highly successful. Close your eyes. Envision how it would feel to have accomplished your goal. Imagine coming home to the new house you saved for. Picture yourself opening the front door and walking into your living room. Move into your new kitchen. Look out the kitchen window at your kids playing in the back yard. Smell the freshly cut grass. Feel the cool breeze across your face as you walk outside to join them.
Visualization accomplishes two crucial things:
1, Visualization activates your subconscious mind. Our subconscious mind is a gusher of infinite ability. It actively pursues solutions to our most formidable challenges. The subconscious quietly works on dilemmas even when we’ve moved on to some other task.
2. Visualization squashes your internal critic. You know that little voice deep down inside that tries to sabotage any positive thoughts, successes, or good feelings we enjoy. The voice screams that we’re not smart enough, qualified, or deserving of success. Yes, we all have that demon running around inside. Visualization helps crush that voice of self-doubt like a cockroach. THUMP.
Third, Constantly Remind Yourself of Your Goals
A hidden goal is an unfulfilled goal. Write your goals down and review them nightly before you go to bed. Again, this directs your subconscious mind to search for solutions. But, don’t stop there. Place reminders of your goal everywhere.
If your goal is to save a for a new car, cut out a picture of the car and tape it to your bathroom mirror. Every morning you’ll see it. Many go even further. They create whole visualization boards lined with pictures representing all of their major goals.
Don’t be afraid to provide yourself with a visual reminder of your goal at your point of greatest temptation. Do you love to shop but need to save for your child’s education? Tape a small picture of your kid to the front of your credit cards. When you’re tempted to spend money you’ll think about your educational savings goals.
BMWK, what are some of the tricks you use to make sure you achieve your goals?