Having 20/20 vision means you can see clearly (reading the eye chart, anyway). What do you see in your future? Can you clearly visualize what’s ahead?
Visualization is picturing in your mind the outcome of something (event, goal, etc) before it actually happens. The benefit is that it begins to retrain your brain to take different actions in order to achieve that result. For a professional athlete or a public speaker, this exercise can remove fears, anxiety, etc and has been shown to improve their outcome. Visualizing your future is important because it takes your goals and makes them feel realistic, bringing clarity and purpose to your actions now. Think of yourself a few years in the future. What does that look like? Are you living somewhere new? Are there changes in your family? New responsibilities in your job? Retirement? Once you visualize what your future looks like, take a few minutes to write down what you see – in other words, your goals. By writing them down, you’re 50% more likely to achieve them than just having them in your head! Seeing them in writing and putting the steps in place to achieve them will increase your focus on your goals and boost your confidence.
If your goals involve money (saving for a home, paying for college, retiring early, etc), they will require daily focus, sacrifices and making some tough choices, just like any other goal. Instead of thinking about the money you’re no longer spending (not eating out or shopping as often), think about how the money you’re saving is getting you closer to your financial goals. Knowing why you are making these choices is your motivation to see your goals through to the end. So go back to the visualization of yourself in that new home, your child graduating college, or your stress-free financial future when you’ve paid off debts and are saving for retirement. Ready to set your goals? Here are some steps to get started:
Write down your goals, their time frame and priority. Are they short, mid or long term? High, medium or low priority? Start with just your highest priorities.
Make each goal specific. We recommend using the SMART goal method. For example, “I would like to save $1,000 in eight months for new furniture.”
Review/create your budget and see what funds you have leftover each month. Income minus expenses = money to put towards your goal. If it’s not as much as you’d hoped for, look at your current spending habits and see where you can cut back or look for ways to bring in additional income.
Determine amount needed and set up automated savings/ payments. Automation sends your money where it needs to go and gives you one less task to do each month.
Review your goals. Life happens and things change. Are these still your goals and your priorities? Adjust as needed.
Monitor your progress. Check in on a regular basis to see how you are progressing, and celebrate your small successes to re-energize yourself to keep going.