Your goals

Write down your future goals NOW

December 26, 2014

There is an amazing phenomenon that I heard about years ago, but was skeptical.  However,having now experienced this many times myself, I have become a convert.

I’m talking about the amazing occurrence of deciding on something specific that you want in your life, writing down a description of that desired outcome, and then – sometimes miraculously – having an opportunity to achieve that outcome delivered to you.

We are not necessarily talking about material things here.  Let’s move your thinking past the Boxing Day sales (although a big sale might have been your means to reaching a goal).

If you are clear and articulate (and perhaps vocal) on what you want, and then open yourself to different possibilities and to what the world has to offer you, those things you truly desire will come your way.

Skeptical?  That’s OK with me; I’ve even met people lately that don’t believe in Santa.  So, for people who require hard evidence before changing their behaviour, I have a scientific research.

And, just for clarity, the desired outcomes that I believe will come your way are not through magic or divine intervention, though they may ultimately seem that way.  No, these achievements will require you to take action toward them, ideally based on a detailed plan. 

If you need scientific proof that writing down very specific goals and objectives radically increases your chances of achieving the great things of which you are capable, I will cite some Harvard University research.  The details are in my book Managing the Bull, but the gist is that the 13% of MBA graduates who said they had specific goals - but not written down - earned twice as much in the next 10 years as their less-focused classmates.

However, the students that graduated with specific, written goals earned an average of 10 times as much in the next 10 years as those who did not have specific goals.

Same sample, same education, same credentials.  Ten times the income.  (Source is Mark McCormack, What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School, Bantam Books.)

So, what’s my point?

I want you to accomplish everything you dream for yourself, and I want you to dream big.  So I am encouraging you to do some things TODAY.

Start with a list of the things you have achieved and all of the things for which you feel grateful.  Ignore any shortcomings or mistakes, and simply use them as a learning tool.  Focus on the positives.

Now, decide what you really want to accomplish this year and beyond.

You might start with two lists:

1. Things I always wanted to do...

2. Things I never want to do again...

Share with friends, family, your life partner, even co-workers.  Those are some of the people that will help you achieve your goals.

Get excited together about any areas of common ground, and also get excited about your friends’ unique hopes and dreams.

Free yourself to dream about what you want your life to be like in one, three and five years and beyond.  Just start thinking, and write things down as they come to you. 

The thrill right now is in making your future vision as real and compelling as you can.  What does your ideal future look like? How does it smell?  How do you feel?  What are your activities?  Who is with you?

When your future vision is sufficiently gripping and undeniable, turn it into specific, measurable and time-bound goals.  These are the specific first steps and future milestones that will help you design your financial and life plan, and then allow you to measure your progress and your success. (There are worksheets in my book.)

Writing down specific goals is vital for several reasons.  When you write them down, your subconscious brain goes to work on them immediately, finding ways to accomplish them.  Writing your goals down several times is much more effective.  So, re-write your list and your plans as often as you can, refining them each time. 

Getting specific also helps you set priorities, because we all have to make choices. The key is to make the right ones, for YOU.

Happy New Year!  It is in your power to make it your best ever. 

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Dollars and Sense is meant as an introduction to this topic and should not in any way be construed as a replacement for personalized professional advice.

Please consult legal, tax and investment experts for advice on your unique situation.


David Christianson, BA, CFP, R.F.P., TEP, CIMis a financial planner and advisor with Christianson Wealth Advisors, a Vice President with National Bank Financial Wealth Management, and author of the book Managing the Bull, A No-Nonsense Guide to Personal Finance.