Posts Tagged ‘finances’

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3 Steps to Success: Shhh… it’s a secret!

January 8, 2009

Are there secrets to success?  I think maybe there are.  At least, it’s been a secret kept from me (if you know it and haven’t told me, wtf!?)  Anyway, today I was talking with my mentor and business partner about how to be proactive.  Most of what he said was stuff I knew about goal setting and planning, but the last part was new and I thought that it’d be helpful for me to reflect on it a bit and maybe you’d find something new in here too!

1.  Decide what your goal is and what steps you need to take to reach it.  This means creating a plan of action.  Whether you want to make a million dollars in the next year or run a 1/2 marathon it all starts one day at a time.  Figure out what the small steps are to get to your dream and make mid-range (1 year), short-range (3 months) and weekly/daily milestones that you can achieve.  Come up with a daily minimum of what you need to do and can do to see your dream become reality.

2.  Find a person or persons who are willing to hold you accountable to your steps, goals, and especially your daily minimum.  These people need to be willing to call at anytime and check in on your progress.

–so far, these are all things I’ve tried before and everytime I’ve fizzled out before I really got off the ground.  I want to eat healthier.  I want to exercise.  I want to be more successful in business, but while my ideas are good and I implement some support and accountability, it never seems to come in fullness.  Here’s the new step:

3.  Create appropriate reinforcement.  We as humans always take the path of least resistance.  If it’s easier, that’s the route we’re going.  It’s in our nature.  What you have to do is make the pain of failure worse than the cost of success. Here’s an example.  You set an alarm to wake up early to do some pushups.  Your accountability person/team calls you to check in.  If you have not done the pushups, there is a consequence.  Maybe you have to wash your accountability person’s car or maybe you have to mow their yard, or maybe you just owe them $50.  The point is to make it something that is going to cost you.  That way, the pain of failure is worse than the cost of success.  If you’re alarm goes off and you realize that if you don’t get up it’s gonna cost you $50.  Odds are good, you’re going to get up.

That’s it!  As your daily minimums become habit you can increase what you are doing and acheive your mid-range and long-term goals!  This is my new plan.  I’ve got goals and dreams and I’m determined in being proactive.  This time I have a strategy in place to ensure my success.  Failure is not an option.

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2009: The year of the Budget (and how my iPhone fits that description)

January 4, 2009

So, it’s 2009 now and change – it’s a brewin’.  That brewin’ can happen like a cup of coffee or a devastating storm, largely depending on whether the change is planned or not.  So, this is a year of change and I like coffee more than devastating storms (though both make me think of curling up with a good book at times) so I want to PLAN for this change to take place.

Yes, I’m talking about making a budget.  Lately I’ve had this sneaky suspicion that my reason for lack of time and money is because I give very little forethought to what I’m going to do with either of them.  I’m kinda impulsive and I like to just go with the flow, more than spend countless hours planning things out, BUT there is a time and a place and the new year is just as good a time as any to form some new habits.

First, a friend of mine has been helping me with the financial planning thing.  She works as a financial counselor for Dave Ramsey and has some awesome resources.   One of them is this budget.  It’s called a quickie and after making the obligatory  “thanks for the quickie” remark to my friend, I actually started using it and was surprised at how little I could actually be spending on my expenses alone.  It’s good stuff and I’m excited to see where my money’s going and see how much I need to set aside for stuff each month.  One major realization was how much of my monthly expenses goes to my iPhone monthly plan.  Sheesh… the thing is expensive.  I love it (as do my friends) and I appreciate that I can do anything with it at anytime… but damn…

Next, I started with some time management.  Yes, I went out and bought a planner from Walmart.  I even started using it!  I’m sure that eventually I can convert this to the aforementioned iPhone app, but I’m kinda oldschool in that I like to have a real piece of paper to look at when I’m thinking.  Plus, writing is easier than typing on the iPhone.  Anyway, the idea behind all of this is to ensure that I’m taking care of myself:  dedicating appropritate time to keeping myself healthy, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.  That’s a tall order.  Because I’m self-employed, I can largely make my own schedule how I like it, which is nice, but requires more self-motivation and discipline.  Take a look at what I came up with (all times & events subject to change):

–Morning Routine–
7:15  Wake up!  Drink my meal-replacement fiber shake and take my vitamins
7:30  Work out at the house (push ups and pull ups)
8:15  Shower, shave, get ready for the day
8:30  Quiet time
9:00  Work day begins:  First item of the day is to blog!

–End of Day Routine–
11:15  Prepare for next day (meals, schedule, clothes, whatever)
11:30  Read in bed
12:00  Lights out and sleep!

Whew, so there you have it.  That’s my start to budgeting time and money.  Once I can get my gCal, iCal, iPhone calendar all to sync, I’ll put this stuff in there.  The morning and end of day routines I’m setting alarms on my phone for each occurance for the first month.  Hopefully, this will begin the habit that can take me through the year.  What are your new routines?  What are you doing differently this year?