Time to set some goals?
If you’ve been ignoring money for too long then this year might be the opportunity to get it sorted. Right now I'm feeling a bit fat around the one pack. I hate not sucking it up and then looking in the mirror. Too much drinking and eating over the break and it shows. I went for my first run today (hate running) and surprisingly can't wait to get back to the gym. Before you assume I'm one of those ra ra gym types, I hadn't seen the inside of a gym until mid 2014. My reluctance was finally overcome by an inability to control my weight by missing meals. That was a tried and true formula for twenty years! Anyway now I go to the gym and are a convert. I'm still not super good at it, and I still drink too much and eat too much chocolate and lollies.
So what goals have you set for yourself for this year?
Most people don't even set proper goals. If you have, are your goals realistic and can you map out what it will take to achieve them? In 2013 I set the goal of having a year off alcohol and as boring as I became I achieved it. Needless to say I started 2014 horrendously drunk! At which time I set a personal goal to do a backflip off a ski-jump. I didn't come close to achieving it and to be honest it was never really a goal, just something after a year off the booze I thought would be cool. This year my personal goal is to to weigh 80kg and have six Abs. (I've never had Abs before in my life except when I was really skinny and my ribs could be mistaken for Abs.) I've got a bit of a fitness program going, but realistically I think I'll need a Personal Trainer at some point to help out.
Have you told your friends about your goals? Have you written them down?
You need to face public ridicule if you don't achieve your goals. You also need to remind yourself what you're doing and why you're doing it. I don't tend to write my personal goals down but I tell everyone. As for business goals I always write these down and I review them at least monthly.
Have you taken any action towards your 2015 goals?
Seriously, what have you done? If you aim at something and take action, you'll be amazed at the results. Eat, sleep and repeat. I'm genuinely staggered by the number of people in my life who never even aim for something, anything. They are asleep at the wheel. I think you'd also be surprised how many people will be willing to help you achieve a goal, if only you ask. 99% of this stuff starts with getting your head right and doing something.
What about some financial goals?
My long-term goal has been to own my house debt-free and I should achieve that goal this year. Imagine being able to spend or save all of that money that is otherwise going into paying the mortgage. Is that something you'd be prepared to work hard at? I've always liked the idea of renting the house out and travelling and living off the rent. Paying down the loan faster is part of the process to get debt-free, but to be honest I only managed to pay off about $200,000 of my mortgage over the past 5 years that way. The rest has come from either property investing or the business, but mostly investing. Investing in property might not be your thing. Also, now might not be the right timing. I got in in 2010 when the market was dead and got out again in 2013 and 2014. Wealth could also come from building and selling a business, or it could be simply paying off your mortgage. Do you want to be debt-free and do you have an actionable plan to achieve it? The simplest strategy would be to increase your mortgage repayments. When I got serious back in 2010 I took a chunk of the loan ($50,000) and put it on a 2 year term. That increased our overall mortgage repayments by about $1,500 per month after allowing for lower rates. We paid that chunk off in 18 months. With a mortgage a short-term milestone like this can help you stay focused. The sacrifice for us was no overseas trips that year and a little less eating out and baby sitters - nothing that couldn't be managed. It would be rare to win at anything without some form of sacrifice. To get in shape at some point I'll have to curb my penchant for Fruit Jubes, Snakes, and Almond Magnums. That will be hard. What are your goals for 2015? What are you prepared to sacrifice to achieve that goal?