A friend called to tell me about his Black Friday experience. He stood in line for two hours to get a discount coupon, only to find he was in the wrong line. Sometimes life is like that. We follow everyone else to where theyre going and do what everyone else is doing, yet we dont feel satisfied.
Take a moment to think about where you are in life, what contributions youve made (not just monetary), what youve accumulated, and what youve experienced. Are you where you really want to be? Are the things you have the things you really want? Are your life experiences matching up with your desires? Are you satisfied?
You may be wondering what all of this has to do with personal finance, and I will respond, Everything. Our spending choices are determined, many times, by what the herd is doing. Lets use Christmas as an example. Every year, we participate in a certain amount of spending because it is expected, right? We may feel pressured to spend at least a certain sum on certain people, so someone isnt offended or disappointed. As you shop, ask yourself, Why am I spending what I am spending? Is it because this is what I really want to be doing, or is there another reason?
If you start asking yourself that question every time you spend money, you may be surprised to learn that youre paying for things that dont bring any real value to your life or the lives of those you care about. This is a good thing to learn, because you can re-route these resources toward the things that matter most to you. This means more resources going toward what you really want to have or experience, which leads to a more satisfying life. So, what do you really want? Heres a resource to help you figure that out.
I am reading Jack Canfields book The Success Principles. If you want to be coached toward your goals by a professional, I recommend you pick up a copy of this book and read it. Jack suggests setting goals in seven life areas: financial, career, recreation/free time, fitness/health, family/friends, personal/spiritual and community service. When you can get some time alone, take a note pad, write down these categories, and ask yourself what you really want to have happen in each of these areas. Jack suggests you come up with three goals for each area.
When I first read this, I thought it sounded like too many goals. But the more I worked on it, the more I realized that coming up with three goals for each area pushed me to really ask, What do I really want? Do you want to have less debt? A smaller house? Better health? Closer relationships? A more fulfilling career? Once youve determined what your goals are, you need to make them measureable and specific so you can actively work on them. Jack provides a number of free documents on his website to help you track your activity and progress: www.jackcanfield.com.
You can make 2013 the year that you break away from the herd and create the life you have always wanted. The choice is up to you.
Sherri Goss is vice president of Rosenberg Financial Group, Inc., with offices in Macon and Warner Robins. Contact her at 922-8100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.