Here we are, at the end of another year. A time for many of us to reflect on the twelve months which have just passed us by, and to look ahead to the next twelve to come. To think about where our money went, perhaps, and how we might spend it – or get it to work for us – differently in the new year. But this year, I want to talk not about new years’ resolutions, but revolution.
New Years is often the time we start thinking about resolutions and goals – and reflecting on the year gone by.
For several years, while we were working towards our financial independence, I kept a Financial Journal in which I would write down all of my savings goals, and notes from the (many!) finance books I read. Of course, you can use an online solution, but studies have showing that writing down your goals leads to greater conviction, and handwriting what you learn helps you to remember it.
I kept my Financial Journal in a gorgeous ‘Money Planner’ I had been eyeing off for some time (although naturally, I waited until I found a slightly dented copy reduced to half price!) but you can use pretty much any notebook you have on hand.
There is a paradox when it comes to creativity: the tension between freedom and constraint. While we often think of the ideal creative process as unstructured, open-ended, and free of limitations, research has found that creative individuals – in both artistic and business settings – can actually benefit from self- or externally-imposed constraints.
Most of us cringe when we hear words like ‘budget’. As with the word ‘diet’, images of spartan deprivation, meager portions, and boredom spring to mind. But my experiences of frugality have been exactly the opposite – not tightening, but freeing.
Words are like a set of blocks we can use to build structures.
I find this analogy useful in constructing goals – in particular, financial goals.
Having a set of well-defined goals is important. A goal that is too open or ambiguous cannot possibly be ‘SMART’ – that is, Specific, Measurable, Achievable, and Realistic within a particular Timeframe. Think of each one of these elements as a building block.