Most people don’t have financial goals, and if they do, they don’t know how to meet them. In the new year, if you resolve to get to know your cash flow, good luck knowing much more in December about what you’re spending than you know today. But … if you set some simple action items that are measurable, achievable and realistic, you could be surprised as early as March by your personal finance prowess.
Achievable, Measurable, Realistic
The way to reach a goal is to break down a desire into action steps. Each of those steps will lead to the next in achieving your goal. And, each step should be achievable, with measurable results that are realistically attainable. This works for marathons, money matters, and relationship skills … anything you want to achieve can be broken down in this way.
Let’s talk money. If you want to diversify your investment portfolio by 2011 (or you want to START an investment portfolio) ask yourself these questions:
- Is it achievable?
- Are the results measurable?
- Are the results I’ve set realistic?
Is it achievable to diversify, or to start? Yes. Now make it measurable by setting a date and quantity. For instance, resolve to take 20 percent of the portfolio and put it in new types of investments by June 15, 2010. Lastly, ask yourself: are those numbers realistic to achieve in six month’s time? If so, you’ve got a clear goal.
Results in Action
Now set some action items that will help you achieve it. What needs to go into this goal to make it happen? Consider your level of knowledge, and what information it will take to achieve your goal. Then write down concrete tasks you can complete, all guided by dates and times. For instance:
- Over five weeks, reach out to five financial planners and ask what they are recommending to their clients.
- Every Saturday morning, spend a half hour on Kiplinger’s Personal Finance page.
- Calendar dates to spend a half hour talking to two of your closest friends and family whose advice you trust.
- From your research, plan out the action steps you are choosing to get your portfolio diversified by 20 percent.
- Then, invest.
The greatest thing about writing down and looking at action items clearly is that once they are written, with dates and specifics, they tend to get done faster than you originally thought possible.
Goals vs. Affirmations
Be careful not to set a goal when what you really want is way of being. Goals can set us up for failure if we identify them incorrectly. If your desired outcome is more of a feeling state, make some affirmations, and surround yourself with an environment that supports that feeling.
Originally published on GreenSherpa