Picture Your Future
How many times have you made big goals for the year? How many times have you came up short?
We talked about understanding and defining your why, now it's time to nail down where you want to go.
I've seen two key components to those who were successful:
- Have a Reminder of What You're Working Towards
- Keep Track of Your Progress
One of the best ways you can tackle both as a couple is start off with a date.
Have a Dream Date
Sit down this week and set aside some time for a date. Skip talking about the bills and stresses for one night and focus on where you two want to be by the end of next year and beyond.
If you're stumped on where to start, here are some questions to discuss for the year:
- What things do you want to cross your list finally? (run a 5k, play tennis regularly, give more time to volunteering)
- Are there any projects you want to tackle around the home?
- Are there any family trips you want to do?
- Would you like to explore a new career with a side business?
It's tempting to jump into the how, but stick with your dreams first, you'll get into the process soon enough.
Create SMART Goals
As you to think about your dreams for a few days, make another date to see if you can get a big picture view of how you want to get there.
How you frame you goals makes a big difference with how likely you are to achieve it. Creating SMART goals can be wonderful.
- Specific: Choose a specific goal. Don’t say ’save more’, but instead choose ‘put aside 5% of my paycheck into a savings account.’
- Measurable: How do you know when you reached your goal? If you are saving an emergency fund up, consider setting aside 3-6 months of living expenses.
- Attainable: Work on 1 or 2 goals at a time so you don’t feel overwhelmed.
- Realistic: Make sure your goal is something you can do and truly believe in.
- Time Based: By setting a deadline, you can work backwards and break down the steps into mini goals.
Write this down or make a note of your dreams as you visualize your goals.
Visualize Your Goals
Many top performing athletes have found visualization to be a powerful tool in helping them achieve their professional goals.
The typical approach is to write down your goals, but there are other ways you can keep yourself motivated as you move closer to your dreams.
Creating Your Vision Board
If you're more inclined to work with your hands, making a vision board can be useful.
Whether you create it online or with your hands, there are key pieces to creating an effective mood board.
- Gather your inspiration
- Organize it around themes
- Place it where you can see it
If you need more details, Michelle from Shop My Closet Project has some awesome tips on how to create your vision board.
Switching Up Your Screens
A more tech friendly approach is changing up your phone and laptop wallpaper or screen saver with something to remind of your goal.
It doesn't have to be fancy or have an inspirational quote on it (though here are a few if you want). I created one for my January goals.
Working from home with two little ones keeps me with plenty to do. Having my wallpaper up is a way for me to stay focused and feel more comfortable saying ‘no' to more commitments.
Track Your Progress
The second component is keeping track of your progress. I want to give you a few ideas so you can use whichever one fits your personality and circumstances best.
Make a Chart
Being the nerd that I am I love charts. Whether it's a spreadsheet or poster board, updating them regularly gives me a clear idea if I'm getting closer to my goals.
Dave Ramsey has had people credit their charts as a huge motivator as they want through their Total Money Makeover. Your Money or Your Life also encourages charting your progess.
If you're more the pen and paper type, here are a few of my favorites charts to track your progress:
- How to Pay Off $5,000 Quickly
- Creative Progress Maps
- 10 Excel Templates To Track Your Health and Fitness
There's an App for That!
There are handy tools and services you can use that also track your progress. For finances, I recommend Empower, Tiller, and Mint.
Looking to improve your health by eating smarter and exercising consistently? Apps like LoseIt and Daily Burn make it simple to keep your progress handy.
Thoughts on Visualizing and Tracking Your Goals
I hope these tools help you achieve your goals. I'd love to get your thoughts.
What do you want to accomplish in the next year (and beyond)? How are you tracking your progress?
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