Let’s talk about goals, shall we? More specifically, money goals.
I’ve talked with so many of you (yup, on the phone. I do this on occasion so make sure to sign up for my email list 😉) and it makes me sad to hear how a) y’all feel like you’re terrible with money and b) that if you find a better way to motivate yourself or have better discipline, it’ll solve all your money problems.
You know me, I’m all about helping you, even if it means dropping some harsh truth bombs. The truth is, you’re not terrible with money, you may have made decisions that didn’t benefit you. Secondly, motivation and self-discipline isn’t the answer to your money problems.
Now I would love to tell you that those list posts with 100 things to do to start off the financial year with a bang is going to work, but it won’t. To be frank, those posts are super overwhelming and most of you will read it and move on. I’ve done that many times in the past. Self-discipline and motivation are great, but what happens if you’re tired that day? Or you start on those goals and you find you need more accountability to complete them? What will you do then?
Human beings are funny people. We have the best of intentions but then we get in our own dang way. The more time we have to come up with a decision, the likelihood of us failing is pretty high.
Take me for example. I set a goal to publish a few books in 2017. I had a lot of great momentum, but things quickly fizzled out. No, I wasn’t being lazy or anything, but the more I kept think about scheduling time to write those dang books, the more I talked myself out of it. I’m a hard worker and have good self-discipline (heck, I practice yoga for an hour six times a week!), but when it came to that goal, I let it fall to the back burner.
So What’s The Answer?
Good question. In a nutshell, clarity and systems.
Here’s the long answer: you need to be clear on what it is about your money you’re having issues with before you can begin to solve them. In other words, do you know what your numbers look like? What is it about your current situation you dislike?
Take some time to write these down. Or else, you’re going to wander around aimlessly and continue to freak out over your money issues. Now, this part seems really simple, but there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s these simple steps that builds the foundation for your success.
When you get clarity on your situation, you’ll then be more informed of the goals you want to achieve. It’s going to be much easier to see what you’re actually working towards.
Take me for example. I started my content marketing business as a side project for fun. A year or so later, I wanted to take it more seriously, as in earn a certain amount of money with it. It was frustrating because I kept putting off pitching to clients. It wasn’t until I realized I wanted to take this venture full-time so I could stay at home with my son did I put the pedal to the metal.
Getting clarity is also helpful because you may find that you’ve already achieved those goals. It sounds crazy, but it’s happened to me multiple times. I remember freaking out because I wanted to have at least six figures to invest and had no clue where to begin. It wasn’t until I added up all the cash I had plus the amount from existing investments that I realized I already reached that goal and then some.
I challenge you to look at your entire financial situation. Start tracking your spending. Start looking through all the cash and assets you already have. See what it really costs to go for those dreams. When you have those, you’ll find that those goals you set will get done. Maybe even the majority of your money problems.
Um, What About Those Systems You Speak of?
Yes, let’s not forget about those.
Systems are crucial to success. Really. If it wasn’t for them, I would be a total mess, financials and in life. Since becoming a mother, I’ve had to rely on these much more since I only have so much time in the day.
Systems can be many things. The easiest way to think about them is to view them as processes you’ve drilled down into repetitive tasks. To think of it another way, you’ve made the decision once and then you just do the action over and over again. It removes the barriers to success because you’re removing the decision making process. Since you’re only thinking about it once, you’re eliminating the chances of failure.
An easiest example is automating your finances. Let’s say you have a savings goal of $12,000 for the year. So every month, you decide to automatically set aside $1,000 in another bank account. You log online and set it up once. That’s it! You’ll automatically achieve your goals because you’re eliminating any possibility of backing out of it.
What about those financial moves you can’t automate? Simple, you come up with a set of steps to follow every single time. That way, you don’t need to think about what you’re doing before you’re doing it.
For example, I like to track my spending manually because I have this weird thing about physically touching receipts (don’t ask). I wrote down a list of steps of what I need to do right from when I get the receipt, to recording in my tracking software, all the way to where to file them.
It sounds silly, but it works. I used to be terrible at tracking my purchases until I implemented this method.
So think about a goal you have. Is there some way you can automate some of the action steps or decision making process? No goal is too big or too small.
I will say this about systems: if you’re not dedicated to setting them up and finding time to reflect and refine you will fail. All this to say systems and creating clarity are great tools, but you gotta be the one to get all that done.
There’s Isn’t a Magic Formula to Make Your Money Problems Disappear
And here’s another #truthbomb: your money “problems” will never disappear. Once you reach new income levels, become debt-free or finally retire, stuff will still come up. The important thing is to understand how to deal with these issues and all the ensuing emotions that come up. And yes, creating clarity and systems is merely the first step in making all those dreams come true.