We can talk a big game about our financial future. Whatever our parents did, we’re doing better. Unless they’re super rich, then we might just wait for an inheritance.
Unless they’re super rich, then we might just wait for an inheritance.
But, we digress. The point we were getting to is this: why are your money goals still all talk and no walk?
Why Are You Procrastinating On Your Money Goals?
Michael Hyatt, author of Living Forward: A Proven Plan To Stop Drifting And Get The Life You’ve Always Wanted, recently wrote about procrastination. Hyatt, writes and coaches on topics like personal development, productivity, leadership, and influence.
His original post looked at reasons you’re still stuck in a rut, in general. But we drilled down and found that, when applied to setting and achieving your personal finance goals, his logic stands.
Here are a few:
1. Your Goals Are Vague
According to Hyatt: “Goals that lack clarity are merely wishes.” It’s all good and well to set an ambitious goal, for instance: doubling your salary, but have you worked out steps you could take to get there?
You could propose taking on more responsibility at work for a pay raise or start a side business in your spare time.
Hyatt: “If you haven’t set a clear destination, don’t be surprised if you can’t seem to get any momentum.”
2. “I don’t Know”
No, no, no…
We know, but do you? Your ‘why’, that is.
Why do you want to retire at 45 with ‘x’ amount of money?
Why do you want to get rid of all your debt?
Why do you want to clear your credit record of defaults?
“Motivation matters,” says Hyatt. There are countless online resources to help you reach any of your money goals, but they’re all ‘how’ solutions.
Simon Sinek, who gave the popular Ted Talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action (better known as ‘Start With Why’), in 2009, said every organisation on the planet knows what they do, some know how they do it.
“But very few people or organisations know why they do what they do,” said Sinek.
Hyatt says when you get stuck, take a step back and ask yourself why you wanted to reach this goal in the first place, and find your reasons. To make more money, to feel a sense of accomplishment, to take more time off, to go home this weekend and not have this hanging over my head…
“Whatever your key motivations, when you find yourself dragging your feet, stop to remind yourself why you wanted to do this in the first place. Reconnecting with your why will always help,” he says.
3. You Can’t Eat An Elephant In One Bite
…As the metaphor goes. Sometimes the reason you get stuck in your finances is because the goal is huge and you haven’t broken it down into easily executable actions.
“Goals are big things that are going to take a lot of effort over time to accomplish. People can get stuck focusing on the enormity of it,” says Hyatt.
He advises that large goals should challenge us, but the steps toward getting to our goals should not. Meeting your retirement shortfall after a few years of procrastination is a big goal, but setting up a retirement annuity with the disposable cash you have now, isn’t.
4. You’re Not Focused
We’ve all got stuff going on, constantly. Life never gives anyone a break, especially – it seems, when you’ve got a big goal. If you’re not careful to keep your eyes focused on the end goal, other unimportant tasks will distract you. The ‘business’ trap.
Hyatt talks about only having three main tasks per day, but unless your specific financial goal requires daily attention, this might not be appropriate. Another approach would be an ‘Eat That Frog’ strategy: Always complete your high value, or ‘A’ tasks, first.
We’ll go one further and say: do the dreaded first step (call the accountant, create that stop order) first thing on Monday morning, and then repeat, every Monday morning.
5. You’re Not Accountable
Hyatt credits Dr. Gail Matthews as saying that built-in accountability is one of two primary ingredients for goal success.
Hyatt: “You need someone who will hold you accountable without succumbing to your excuses.”
Find an accountability partner, tell them your why, and let them remind you of that and the reward for reaching your particular money goals.
Last word from Hyatt: “Set ambitious but realistic goals that include the target and concrete ways to reach it.”