The world is full of data! In fact, according to Forbes Magazine, humans are producing a mind-boggling 2.5 quintillion bytes of data a day with over 90% of that data having been generated in only the last 2 years! So, when you read that, what is your reaction? Impressed or thinking “so what?” You’d be forgiven for thinking the latter. Data without context or purpose is meaningless clutter & it can distract us from seeing what’s important. As accountants, we prefer to deal in facts rather than hypotheticals but in truth, good planning, business & financial strategy requires a combination of both. Gathering data, drilling down into it, reading numbers, identifying patterns, tracking, recording & packaging up information on financial activity is what we do. The detail forms the bigger picture.
Goal setting is a valuable tool we use to provide the necessary context and purpose to help our clients. It captures the big picture. It helps give it form & make goals tangible. We use goals to grow & develop our own business too, in the professional development of our staff, our strategic planning & developing our leadership team.
Goals are probably the last thing you’re thinking about now in the countdown to Christmas Day but you can shelve this blog until New Year’s. If you have things you want & need to achieve in your life or business, this information will be important to you soon enough & as they say, “a goal without a plan is just a wish.”
So, what is a goal? A goal is an end toward which you direct SPECIFIC EFFORT; something you are working toward achieving. Most people will have them & they are not always easy to achieve. Goals propel us forward, give us focus & remind us of what’s important to us. Achieving them builds confidence & creates satisfaction.
Often to achieve the truly meaningful goals, requires hard work, determination & commitment over time. It can feel easier to procrastinate & go for the short term, “feel good” option to our long-term determinant. How can we outsmart ourselves to stay on track? Here are some tips.
1) Be a SMART goal setter. Make them Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.
2) Set goals for all aspects of life – academic, social, career, health, family etc.
3) Write them down.
4) Align your goals with your own values. When something is important, you’re naturally more motivated to achieve them.
5) Create a target timeframe e.g. today, Friday, in the next 12 months, next 5 years etc.
6) Make sure goals are attainable! NB: Winning the lottery is not a goal. You can’t plan for it or control it & it’s very unlikely to happen.
7) Number it. Put a number on it such as a time, a date or an amount. Then break it down into bite-sized, achievable actions. Each goal needs to be actionable. How will you achieve it? What specific behaviours or actions will you need to engage in to achieve your goal?
8) Tell someone your goal. If you keep your goals a secret, you’re less likely to be accountable if you don’t stick with the plan. Tell people who are close to you, whose opinion you value. They can be a great resource and support to you.
9) Identify potential pitfalls & obstacles early. Particularly times when you are vulnerable. If you have a money saving’s goal for travel for example, how will you keep to your plan of saving money & only buying what you need when the next Boxing Day or Black Friday Sale comes along?
So, after you've kicked back, relaxed & enjoyed the Christmas festivities, take a quiet moment for yourself, grab a diary or notebook & scribble down thoughts about your personal, business, career & financial goals. Follow the SMART rule for each of them. Give yourself the best chance of success. If you need support or advice, be willing to invest in yourself to obtain that & remember to make yourself accountable. You can email us at Rowe Partners with your financial, business or professional goals that you plan to achieve in 2020. Here are some ideas.
1) Start a business/grow my business
2) Move accounts to Xero
3) Save money (mortgage, travel etc.)
4) Develop a budget (See last months blog on becoming a budgeting-superhero)
5) Revise my financial plan (Visit Rowe Partners Financial Planning for more information)
6) Put more money into Super.
7) Get my personal tax done by 30 June!
8) Get BAS in on time!
Once you've got a list, develop a rough plan, broken down into tasks on a timeline & outlining how you plan to achieve them. Specifically, note any tools or assistance you might need. Email it to us at Rowe Partners via email@example.com indicating whether you feel you need help from your accountant or our Certified Financial Planner, Blake Halligan & we'll contact you when we return in the New Year to arrange an appointment.
Wishing you a very Merry Christmas & a safe, happy, prosperous & successful 2020.