As someone who loves a good “pregame speech” and has heard and given fiery speeches before and during games, the field of motivational speaking is one that I enjoy. It turns out that one of our newest planners, Vekevia, shares a love of a good fiery speech. We talked about this recently and she shared this with me:
I love listening to motivational/inspirational speakers. They remind me of why I’m working towards a particular goal, which is what helps keep me going when things are tough or just not running as smoothly as I’d like. They drive me to keep pushing forward when what I am seeing doesn’t necessarily look as promising as I envisioned.
That helps in life goals and is especially true with financial goals. I heard one motivational speaker, Eric Thomas, ask the crowd a series of questions to get them to self-reflect. His message was “You Owe You” and I want to share the questions he asked:
“Know ‘what do you want’. What do you want in your marriage? What do you want with your son and your daughter? What do you want in your health? What do you want financially? How much money do you want to make a year?
What do you want to drive? How do you want to live? Stop just waking up like an accident. What do you want? And then, once you find out what you want, spend the rest of your natural life waking up and going after it.”
Managing your finances/financial planning is a life-long process. You don’t get to just plan today and then that’s it. You’re done.
For some, that can sound like a daunting task, especially if you don’t enjoy the process. I think that’s what makes it even more important to know why we have the financial goals that we have. Here are some tips to figuring that out.
Identify the ROOT of your goal. Know your big picture.
How to do it:
Go beyond your need to save to send your kids to college, pay off your student loans or buy a house. Do you want to give your kids a life full of better opportunities than you had when you were growing up? Do you want to be debt free and create or continue growing wealth in your family or simply gain a sense of freedom? Do you want to move into another neighborhood to surround yourself and/or your family with better opportunities? Do you want to live more comfortably?
Determine WHAT has to happen for you to get to that goal.
What to consider:
Do you have to stop spending as much on eating at restaurants or other forms of entertainment? Do you need to get a handle on how much you swipe your credit card? Do you need to sit down with your spouse and get on the same page about your finances?
Create a clear plan of HOW you’re going to make it happen.
How to do it:
Include some goals that are short-term so you have small wins and give yourself some “atta boys” along the way. Include long-term goals as well so you are always planning for consistent progress. Take advantage of resources you have through your financial wellness program at work. Find out what assistance is available through your employee assistance program (EAP) at work.
Do something daily and make it a HABIT.
How to do it:
List small steps you can take every day or every week to get you to your long-term goal. I live by my calendar. Work tasks are included. Workouts are included…everything. If it’s in my calendar, it’s getting done.
What does that mean?
At times, taking a minute to “stop and smell the roses” makes sense. It allows us to reflect on where we are, where we’ve come from and where we’re going. Pausing for a moment to experience the “now” and be grateful for all that we have provides a meaningful context for pushing forward.
Alter your plan if it’s not working.
What to consider:
Why isn’t it working? Do you need to make a simpler goal? Were the steps unrealistic or too ambitious? Do you need an accountability partner? Make changes to your plan accordingly so that your next steps take you closer to your goals.
I’ve found that people who are always pushing toward a goal without acknowledging their own success have a tendency to backslide or mentally break after a period of time. Reach a goal and congratulate yourself in some small way. One of my coworkers is working toward some fitness goals and is watching his food intake and his exercise routine. When he hits a milestone, he allows himself a “go crazy day” without working out and eating a gigantic plate of nachos, knowing that the next day, it’s back to the grind. Knowing that a small reward is ahead allows him to stay focused in between milestones.
It’s up to us to live up to our full potential. We have goals and we have to find a way to make them happen. We have to find a way to work around what we can’t control and do everything in our power to find a way to win. You owe it to you to become financially secure. If this blog post isn’t enough to motivate you toward your goals, watch Dr. Eric Thomas and he’ll light a fire that will help you get started toward your goals.