Our 2012 Money Manifesto includes a declaration on setting goals, which is an integral part of attaining financial success. It becomes much easier to make the right decisions with money when you're focused on what you want to accomplish in the future. Many people never achieve their full potential in life because they don't take the time to create goals for themselves.
Let's examine some simple do's and don'ts that can help you to achieve your money goals:
Do: Have a clear vision about your dream
To set the stage for getting what you desire, you first have to create a vivid dream for your future. Don't limit yourself in this process; become almost childlike in designing your desired lifestyle. Use all your senses to envision what your life would be like if your dreams came true, and positively express your vision in the present tense.
Walt Disney said, "If you can dream it, you can do it," so it is possible for even your wildest ideas to become reality if you start with a clear picture of what you want. It is important to focus on the reasons why you want to accomplish your dream, as you are more likely to be successful in pursuing your aspirations when you have a strong emotional motivation.
Don't: Doubt your ability to achieve
Doubt and negativity are mortal enemies of goal accomplishment; and many fledgling dreams have been destroyed by these elements. Disbelief is a negative force that will turn your attention on unfounded reasons why your plans can't work. Protect your dream from naysayers - don't share your ideas with negative people who are not progressing or working on their own goals.
Henry Ford declared: "Whether you think that you can, or think that you can't, you are right." You can increase your belief in your ideas by reading motivational material and studying the lives of persons who have achieved great things despite overwhelming odds. Use visual reminders such as pictures and written affirmations to keep you focused on your dreams all the time.
Do: Turn your dream into a goal
Your dreams must be expressed in practical ways to make it easier for your brain to process them. If you are too vague in your thoughts, it will be impossible for you to act on your ideas. Write down a specific intention, giving as many details as possible.
For example, instead of just saying that you hope to own a home one day, create a very clear goal which outlines where you want to live, the cost and when you want to buy the home. So your goal could be, "I will buy a two-bedroom apartment in Kingston for $10 million in four years' time."
Don't: Leave out measurable objectives
In converting your dream into a goal, it's important to include some guidelines that will help you to track your progress along the way. The more information you include in stating what it takes to achieve your goal, the more likely you are to find ways of getting it done.
For example, don't just say that you would like to have more money; for if you found a dollar on the ground, you would have attained your dream! Here's a workable goal; "I will use my cooking talents to earn extra income and start saving at least $10,000 per month by the end of 2012."
Do: Create an action plan
French writer Antoine de Saint-Exupery noted that "a goal without a plan is just a wish," so the next step is to make a blueprint of all the steps required to attain your objectives. First, look at the gaps between where you are now and where you want to be. Write down all the things that you will have to do in small time increments in order to take you along the path to attaining your goals.
It's best to get professional financial advice in designing an action plan, as you will need help in working out how best to acquire the funds required for your money goals. If home ownership is important to you, go to www.financiallysmart.org to download some resources that can help you in the process of designing an action plan to accomplish this goal.
Don't: Get sidetracked from your goals
It's crucial to act immediately once you have created an action plan for your goals. If you delay getting started, it becomes much harder to create the momentum required for success. Even the smallest act will send a signal to your brain that you are committed about your goal, which will help you to remain purposeful throughout the process.
Fear is an almost inevitable obstacle that will present itself along your journey. It's been said that the greatest barrier to success is the fear of failure. However, setbacks should not be viewed as stop signs, but as directional guides to steer you along the right path to attain your objectives. Best-selling author Og Mandino asserted that is impossible to fail "if you persist until you succeed."
Cherryl is a money coach, business mentor, and founder of Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services. Her upcoming book, "The 3 Ms of Money" will reveal all the secrets she learned about financial success. Get more advice on money and business matters at www.financiallysmartadvice.com and www.entrepreneursinjamaica.com. Email comments to email@example.com.