Sometime last summer I shared with you that there are a number of psychic web sites claiming to predict your financial future – yea right. But let me try to predict one or two things that most of us will go through tonight: We will drink too much, eat too much, stay up way too late, get depressed about things from 2009, or the coming year, or make some wild New Years resolutions that don’t have a chance of surviving for more than a week or so.
It’s something that diet plans and fitness clubs count on. We get excited, sign a one or two-year contract, and show up for a month – tops. We’re still paying payments on the contract, but haven’t seen the place in months. When it comes to our finances, I want you to make this year’s resolutions different. I want you to be smart about it, and give yourself a fighting chance of achieving your dreams and goals.
For your financial resolutions, and I hope you make some, they need to include a few things:
They must be YOUR goals. In other words, they cannot be handed down to you by your spouse, or someone else. You cannot make a goal of getting your car or credit cards paid off without agreeing to it with your partner. You’re not Moses. You don’t get to hand a list of things to someone else. It won’t work.
They must be specific. Just a goal of getting your credit cards paid doesn’t work, and you’ll never do it. A specific goal would be to pay off these particular cards, in this order, not charging on them anymore, and cutting them up. THAT is a resolution you’re way more likely to keep.
You need a time-frame: Sometime next year, in the future, down the road – those words don’t get it done. Set a day and a month to make it happen.
Goals must be in writing and tell the world: Achieving your goals is 5 or 10 times more likely if you write them down. And I suggest posting them on the fridge so that they’re in your face every day. You’ll also massively increase your odds if you tell a bunch of people. They’ll hold you accountable, if they care about you, and you’re more likely to be disciplined if you feel that others are watching.
But the big one is that you have to want to want it in the first place. There is no feeling in the world like being debt free. Most of us have never been there, so we really have no idea. But it’s worth it and you’re worth it.
Start by sitting down with your spouse, if you’re married, and agreeing to some financial goals for 2010. And take 10 minutes to do a budget and a list of your debts. No TV, no kids – just you and a piece of paper. That’ll be more than 99% of the world will accomplish.
I wish you a great New Year and may all your financial goals come true for 2010!