Envisioning Your Future
Success, Well-Being and Prosperity in the coming year
As we embark on a new year, many of us make resolutions in the effort to improve something about our circumstances or lives. Though some resolutions are kept, many of us find that, come March or so, we have modified or altogether done away with the resolution; then, come 2018, rinse and repeat.
As financial planners, it should come as no surprise that we believe there is a very distinct reason for this pattern that so many of us have—lack of planning. Though sometimes daunting, planning sets a series of steps in place to achieving a particular goal, thus making the endgame feel all the more attainable. Planning is a process that you revisit and modify as life happens versus a plan that is often developed and dropped!
Know what is important to you:
As with any plan, it is important to begin with what matters. We don't make plans about things that don't matter to us, right? When thinking about achieving success and well-being, identify areas of your life that you feel need improvement and think about why. Looking at something and judging it might help you make a list, but creating an action plan for change requires delving deeper into why there is something missing in certain aspects of our lives.
Success, on a holistic level, is about more than just accumulating money and being financially stable. Success, for most of us, fosters a sense of well-being and peace-of-mind. Setting goals on the foundation of what is important to you and your family will help to accomplish this.
Plan for the long run:
Looking far into the future can be overwhelming for some people and can tend to make people feel like the road is too long and they might never get there. It is important to know that we aren't just looking from point A to point B. We are looking at the "long run" – the path is part of the process. When we set goals, we design a series of steps that will help us achieve that goal. Each step is a small achievement and can help us to feel better about the process.
It is important to look at how our plan is going to affect us over time, so considering what will happen over the long term when we make short term goals is an important part of creating your overall financial success plan.
Analyze possible hurdles or obstacles:
Chess is a game of strategy and one that requires us to identify possible obstacles well in advance and find solutions to get around, under, over or through them. We can begin to look at each hurdle as a challenge and an opportunity to find new and better ways to plan for and achieve our successes.
Human beings are instinctually drawn to avoiding change and taking the path of least resistance. However, it is often the case that, in order to find that path, we need to think about it far in advance of when the resistance may come. This type of "plan now, act later" strategy can feel uncomfortable for some people.
Many of our clients find this particularly challenging as some of the difficulties that they could possibly face are unknown to them. For example, making a large purchase and using retirement income to fund it can have major tax implications, or it may be in your best interest. There are many factors that go in to determining the right choice for a particular situation.
Envision Your Life
Start by asking yourself these questions:
What am I looking for in my life, my career, and my relationships? If you take the time to really think about these things you might come to having a better understanding what you really want, rather than just focusing on the small changes you know you can make right now.
If money were not an issue and anything was possible what sort of life would I envision? Giving yourself permission to dream big can help you open your mind to possibilities that might not have dawned on you before.
What are the obstacles that lie between what I envision and what my current reality is? Being able to identify the things that might be standing in your way is a monumental step in the process of making changes that will positively impact your life and your well-being. Giving challenges an identity can make them seem and feel a little less scary.
What are the positive things I am doing in my life already that contribute to my well-being and prosperity? It is important to acknowledge the hard work you do every day and to provide positive reinforcement to yourself. Change requires support and while the support of others is equally important, we must give ourselves the compassion we deserve.
Plan for Change
The desire to achieve success and well-being is universal, but the way to accomplish it is unique to every individual. Identifying your objectives and creating the path to achieve them takes time and patience.
Creating a vision for what you want your life to look like, identifying the things that might be standing in your way and developing a plan for living your envisioned life are the first steps in making dreams a reality. Please let us know how we can help you accomplish your goals.