goals

A Detox For The Soul: How To Eradicate Gossip For A Lighter, Happier Existence Part Four

Photo Courtesy of Bigstock

 

Choosing To Focus On The Positive Continued…

 

Focus On Existing Goals Or Create Meaningful Goals

 

Exert from ‘How To Turn Your Dreams Into Reality’

 

Bill Copeland, a well respected author, once said “the trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score.” The truth is that in today’s society whereby instant communication is the norm with sites like Facebook, Hotmail and Twitter constantly vying for our attention, it can be challenging to sit down and assess what we want to achieve on a deeper level, let alone make time for those activities.

 

In Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness, he pin points ‘perceived progress’ as an essential component of our overall happiness and, as the field of positive psychology develops, this principle is becoming widely accepted.

 

The process of making our dreams reality can be a very exciting and creative one. Essentially we are creating a map to get us from where we are now (Point A) to where we want to be (Point B). Though there is much advice surrounding the area of setting goals there is generally a consensus that all goals must be S.M.A.R.T.

 

S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timescaled.

 

Let’s explore the meaning of S.M.A.R.T. in this context further…

 

Specific goals identify what we want to achieve on a practical level and are often grounded in weekly participation of your chosen pursuit. For example, a vague goal would be to become a pop star. Although becoming a pop star is an admirable goal we need to think of how we are going to achieve that and add these interim steps to our main goal.

 

A specific goal in order to achieve chart success might therefore be to take weekly singing lessons and practice singing exercises for thirty minutes a day. Once we have specific goals we immediately feel energized as we know on a practical level what needs to be done.

 

Goals also need to be measurable; ideally goals should be measured in the short-term and medium-term. For example, you can easily measure whether you have been attending weekly singing lessons and practicing each day.

 

Every six months you can review whether you have made progress by seeing if you have attended any open mike nights or have started writing your own lyrics. The main objective is to outline how and when we will measure our progress. This helps us adjust our goals when necessary and keeps us motivated down the line.

 

In order to ensure our motivation remains high it is vital that our goals are achievable. This needn’t mean thinking small, but it is essential that we plan the steps of our goals methodically and that we allow a realistic timeframe to achieve those goals.

 

When our goals are truly achievable they will cease to be the dreams and fantasies they set out as and will start to appear more feasible, thereby increasing our drive to achieve them.

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Happy New Year 2017

Courtesy of Shutterstock

Courtesy of Shutterstock

 

As I see in the New Year I always reflect upon the year past and the year yet to come. I think it’s human nature to contemplate life like this, especially on bench-mark occasions. But what do you do if the year past was filled with trials, heartache or even unfulfilled dreams?

 

I have had many New Years when the year past felt like a dead-end, when the life I had and the life I wanted were miles apart. Times when the New Year didn’t bring with it any relief or hope; when I was desperately sad at how my life had unfolded.

 

At New Years when most people around us are happy, our pain can feel especially isolating, and, whilst there is no quick fix, there are things we can do to ease our pain and look to the New Year with hope.

 

Highlights

 

Think of five highlights for the year past. If you can’t think of five think of just three. It could be things as simple as having a coffee and a laugh with a close friend or someone you love. It could be as small as receiving a meaningful gift. Whatever you can think of, so long as it’s a fond memory write it down. Put your list down and then re-read it in an hour. Then re-read it again, recalling all the happy memories.

 

Bucket List

 

Another way of bringing joy into your life is to create a bucket list of everything you’ve ever wanted to do but just haven’t for whatever reason. Your bucket list can have big items on it like Skydiving or going to the Maldives or small items like learning to ride a bike or taking a cooking class.

 

It can be made up of skills you’d like to learn, hobbies you’d like to try, places you’d like to go and projects you’d like to finish. Try to create twelve items for the year ahead, committing to do one each month and remembering to make them financially viable. The general rule is if it makes you scared or excited, do it (and if it feels like work, ditch it).

 

Goals

 

Whilst a bucket list is super fun, creating meaningful goals is a sure fire way to ensure you feel positive and optimistic for the year ahead. I review my goals every New Years day to revise them as needed, making certain that they are S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timescaled) for the year ahead. This allows me to feel like I am on track and exactly where I am meant to be in order to achieve my dreams.

 

Indeed having a sense of progress in life has been linked to increased long-term happiness. To create goals that are meaningful to you please read my article titled ‘How to Turn Your Dreams into Reality’.  And to create a budget that supports your financial security and life goals please read my article titled ‘Why spending could be damaging your dreams; How to create a budget that supports your life goals’.

 

As the New Year dawns I wish you all a truly special year ahead, filled with renewed hope, optimism, fulfilled dreams and the happiness you so greatly deserve.

 

Join me in making 2017 the best year yet!

 

Wishing you a peaceful and joyous day,

 

x X x Jenny x X x

Budgeting in action: Finish your life goals budget

Please download Accessible Psychology’s ‘Financial Budgeting Spreadsheet’ below, to take part in today’s exercise:

 

Download “Finance-Budgeting-Spreadsheet.xlsb” Finance-Budgeting-Spreadsheet.xlsb – Downloaded 149 times – 17 KB

 

Life Goals Budget, Part Two
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Budgeting in action: do the ‘Monthly Savings Budget – Five Year Plan’

Please download Accessible Psychology’s ‘Financial Budgeting Spreadsheet’ below, to take part in today’s exercise:

 

Download “Finance-Budgeting-Spreadsheet.xlsb” Finance-Budgeting-Spreadsheet.xlsb – Downloaded 149 times – 17 KB

 

Monthly Savings Budget – Five Year Plan

 

Now you have how much each of your three goals will cost in terms of money you can incorporate this information into your ‘Monthly Savings Budget – Five Year Plan’.

 

First of all, check that the amount you find in the ‘Total Monthly Savings’ column matches the amount in the Monthly Expenses and Savings Sheet – specifically the ‘Budgeted’ ‘Total Monthly Savings’ cell. If it does you can skip the technical bit!

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Budgeting in action: research and create a ‘Life Goals Budget’

Please download Accessible Psychology’s ‘Financial Budgeting Spreadsheet’ below, to take part in today’s exercise:

 

Download “Finance-Budgeting-Spreadsheet.xlsb” Finance-Budgeting-Spreadsheet.xlsb – Downloaded 149 times – 17 KB

 

Life Goals Budget, Part One

 

Now for the super fun part! Research your top three life goals and how much they will realistically cost. Then enter in the amount you will need to save, entering in when you will start saving.

 

Remember to pay off all debt before saving (this is a goal in itself) and to save for things like six months worth of living expenses, pensions and insurances as well as your life goals.

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Why spending could be damaging your dreams; How to create a budget that supports your life goals Part Two

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

 

Last week we looked at how your spending could be damaging your dreams, this week we explore what to consider when creating a budget.

 

What you need to consider when doing your budget

 

There are many things you need to consider when creating a budget. Firstly you need to accommodate for the unexpected, such as what you would do if you lost your job. Do you have enough savings? Typically financial experts advise to save six months worth of living expenses to cover us for such an event.

 

Other things to consider are the different types of insurance, pension plans, medical cover, car costs and car emergency fund for repairs. Below is a brief list of these things so you can do your research and get the necessary cover. Whilst you might not think all of these things necessary it is well worth seriously considering acquiring them as it could save you being in a precarious financial position in future.

 

  • 6 month living costs emergency fund
  • Pension
  • Joining a work union (monthly fee)
  • Life / critical illness insurance
  • Work, lost earnings insurance
  • Medical cover
  • Car savings and annual car expenses

 

The next stage is ascertaining your monthly expenses.

 

Assessing spending (current), incorporating paying off debt monthly

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What does financial freedom and security mean for you?

Take five minutes to think about what financial freedom would look like for you. How much money would you have in savings? What goals would you want to save up for? Would you start contributing to a pension or contribute more to your existing pension? What insurances would you want to get should the worst happen? Would you want to save money for your children?

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Why Effective Budgeting Empowers Us

It’s a sad fact that millions of people in the UK have just £100 in savings, with the US not far ahead only having $500 in savings. Living without the stability of having emergency savings (typically advised by financial experts as needing to be six months worth of living costs) can have a huge psychological impact. Anxiety, depression and stress can all be symptoms of being financially insecure.

 

Although budgeting may be a scary prospect considering the state of most people’s savings the alternative is much worse. What if you lost your job? Would you have enough savings to support yourself and possibly your children whilst you look for another?

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Budgeting in action: list how in control of your goals you feel

To me budgeting is just another way to empower ourselves towards a secure future and the fulfillment of our life goals. So how in control of your goals – financial or otherwise – do you feel?

 

To help you answer this question, rate the following five statements, scoring yourself between 1-10, with 1 being completely true and 10 being completely false.

 

  1. I have not officially written down my financial and life goals
  2. I have not considered or researched how much my goals will cost to fulfill
  3. I have not broken down my goals into manageable and tangible steps
  4. I have not created deadlines for either my goals or there interim steps
  5. I have not allocated time towards working upon my goals on a daily or weekly basis

 

If you score more less than 25 you have little control over your goals and can greatly benefit from closely following this series and doing the practical exercises – as well as reading my article on goals titled ‘How to Turn Your Dreams into Reality’.

 

If you score more than 25 you have moderate control of your goals but you will gain a greater level of mastery by following this series – as well as reading my article on goals titled ‘How to Turn Your Dreams into Reality’.

 

If you score 35 or more you have a good level of control over your goals, though to acquire complete goal mastery you could fill out the exercises for the downloadable spreadsheet and read the posts – as well as reading my article on goals titled ‘How to Turn Your Dreams into Reality’.

 

Remember working towards financial freedom means turning your dreams into reality – what could be more worthwhile than that?

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Why ignorance is not bliss when it comes to finances

Finances can be a very scary area of our lives to confront, especially when we spend more than we earn or live pay check to pay check. But ignorance is only bliss as long as you are unaware that you are ignorant. The moment you discover you are sinking financially or you retire with little to no pension it is not bliss anymore.

 

Rather than have your money (or lack thereof) control you – thereby preventing you from achieving your life goals – this series aims to get you firmly back in the driving seat of your finances. With just a little discipline and some easy peasy sums, you can take back control of your finances – no matter what you earn!

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