This is the time of year that’s perfect for what I call ‘Recalibrating Your Goals and Priorities’.
Now, let’s be clear, these are not New Year’s resolutions, not a wish list of things you would like to see happen with no real desire to do what it takes to make them happen.
Far from it. Recalibrating is all about sitting down and taking a good honest look at the Goals in your life and the paths you have chosen to get there.
Much like taking a cross country road trip to a place you’ve never been, you need to pull over once in a while and double check your roadmap to make sure that you are headed in the right direction and to verify that you will arrive when you intend to.
When you sit down to recalibrate your goals and priorities, you will look at your life’s roadmap and all the milestones along the way. Are you on target to graduate on time, to get that promotion you said you would get by a certain time or to get to retirement when you want with the size of retirement fund you need to live retirement comfortably?
This is the time to be very honest with yourself. There is absolutely no benefit to lying to yourself about your goals. You might as well not bother and keep heading in whatever direction you were heading and hope for the best. Remember though that HOPE IS NOT A STRATEGY and goals without a plan of action are just dreams, nice to have but only fulfilling while you’re asleep.
Chances are you have/had goals and you may have even written them down at some time. When we are young we write down our goals – want to become a ballerina, doctor, fireman or clown – but we never had the need to figure out how to make those things happen in our life. That’s because these were more our dreams, than actual goals. Most of us didn’t have anyone who said “Great, so you want to be a doctor. Let’s figure out exactly what you need to do to get there”. Most of us had a guidance counselor in school, whose job it was to help you map out your education achievement goals. But there is where it ends for most of us.
If you did manage to write out your goals, pull out that piece of paper and take a good hard look, but don’t be upset if you find that you have missed more than a few goals along the way. Things like school, jobs, marriage and kids are sure to have taken their toll on your teen or twenty-something goals list, especially if you didn’t create a roadmap on how to achieve your goals.
So let’s look at what recalibration should look like….
Let’s say you wanted to purchase your first home by the time you are 28 and that you wanted to save $25,000 toward your downpayment. Today you’re 29 and you only have $6,000 in the bank. Some would just throw their hands up and say “forget it, I can’t make this happen”. Another options is to recalibrate your goal. Figure out EXACTLY how much more money you could save by cutting down to buying just one coffee drink a day or by changing your Internet or or tv service provider. If you can save $10/day, that will help you save about $300 per month toward your goal. Now do some research on home loans. Things have changed drastically in the real estate market and you may find out that a starter home may only cost you $80,000 and you only need about 10-12%, or $8,000-$10,000, as a downpayment to make your dream of home ownership come true. You may now be able to turn this into a realistic short-term goal within the next 12 months. You would not have know that without recalibration and may have given up on that goal altogether.
You can see how this life review can really benefit you. Don’t wait any longer. Life is what happens while you’re waiting things to get better ….. Don’t run out of time!!
Resources: financial planners, banks, mortgage brokers, realtors