Without question, New Year’s Day is my favorite day of the year.
Tomorrow will be the twelfth year in a row that you will find me sitting on my couch with a yellow pad of paper thinking about where I’ve been and where I want to be — encompassing each aspect of my life — personal, family, community, financial and business.
I have all of my notes on this project since January 1st, 2004, and on New Year’s morning I’ll spend an hour or so skimming through these and looking back at 2014, noting the progress I’ve made at living intentionally, and then move on with the project.
I hope you’ll join me. So here’s the outline for this year’s project:
Step 1 — What is the most important thing you want to do or have happen in the next 2-5 years?
A couple shared their goal with me of living and working overseas for two years with their children, before the kids reach middle school. My daughter wants to compete in the Google Science Fair 2016. I want to hike the John Muir Trail with my son and nephew when they both turn 15 in 2017. A client shared with me his dream of launching a medical missions organization with other Indianapolis physicians.
How about you — what’s the best thing on your bucket list?
Step 2 — What do you need to be doing and what steps need to take place for this dream to happen?
Lay out the steps in order, and put a time-frame on each one. The couple moving overseas has a pretty complex list of next-steps that encompasses many aspects of their life — finances, career and business changes, children, and getting rid of much of their stuff. The next steps toward my hike with Daniel are mostly business related, with some physical conditioning added in for both of us. I need to have the right people and processes in place at my company for me to be in the wilderness for two weeks.
I prefer to lay out the next steps quarter-by-quarter, so I have a clear short-term goal every 90 days. But do what works best for you, and feel free to reach out for help — setting goals and figuring out the steps to get there is the best part of financial planning!
I won’t bore you with the research, but dreams that are written down and planned out are highly likely to come true.
With the exception of a few of life’s surprises, everything I have accomplished in the last 12 years was written down as a dream on some New Year’s Day past — whether something as “simple” as increasing my savings or losing 35 pounds, starting my own business, reconnecting with family, moving to the farm, or learning to play the guitar.
Last step — Write it down, tell people about it, and create reminders for your next steps.