by Brad Hoffer, www.xlyourfinances.com
Recently, my wife and I set a goal to hike the Grand Canyon, rim to rim. Our friends think it’s a great idea while our family is convinced we are crazy. Before you get too concerned about our safety, know that we are going with a group that has done the hike dozens of times and has strict guidelines we have to follow to ensure we are “ready”.
Planning for this hike has been unlike anything we have ever done before. This one goal has completely transformed how we approach almost everything related to our health and fitness. To begin, our weekend hikes have gotten much more serious. Some of these trails we have been on before, however, in the past, after about a mile of hiking we would turn-around because we knew we had a mile to get back home. Knowing that we need to be ready to go 7.5 miles/4,714 feet down into the canyon and then turn around and do 9.9 miles/ 4,314 feet back up, we have suddenly started getting more serious about our exercise, our eating and especially how far we go on hikes. We went for a 5 mile hike and it turned into 7 miles due to taking some wrong turns on the trail. In the past this might have been a huge frustration that we went further than we planned. Now we were happy about it because we know it is preparing us for the Grand Canyon. It is amazing how quick your perspective can change based on setting a goal!
It is interesting that the only thing that has changed was now we had a challenge to overcome. This alone has triggered all kinds of actions and changes that we never would have even attempted without it. You can have the same amazing transformation to your finances simply by setting a goal. The key is it needs to be something challenging. Saving up for a vacation is a good goal and can give you something to work towards, but probably won't "transform" your financial habits. Some big goals to consider could be paying off your mortgage in half the time, buying an investment property, choosing an amount you want to give to your kids for college, saving for adoption, starting a business etc. The key to this working is it needs to be big and at the same time it needs to be something you really want to accomplish.
Once you come up with the what, you need to then determine the how and how much. This is where you need to know where your money is going and start making a plan on what you could change. You might determine that you need to find other streams of income to get where you want to go. Again, this is something you might never consider otherwise, but now that you have a challenge in front of you, you will be surprised at what you come up with.
If you don’t challenge yourself, you will most likely stay where you are at. There may be nothing wrong with staying, but if you are not satisfied with your current situation, a goal may be the motivation you need to change it.
To better understand why this works, let's take a look at the research that has been done on goal setting theory. The following are extracts from an article I found on goal setting theory from www.positivepsychology.com.
“The following findings summarize the last 90 years of goal-setting:
In summary, when you set a goal for yourself, make sure it is positive, let others know about it, write it down, set a timeframe, be ready to make some sacrifices to achieve it, have a growth mindset, view setbacks as learning opportunities and don’t be afraid to make the goal big, but achievable.
I look forward to letting you know how our hike across the Grand Canyon goes. In the meantime, get started today with your own goal and watch it transform your life.
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I have been an Auditor, Analyst, Accounting Manager, Business Systems Manager, Controller, School Board Vice President, Director of Finance, CFO and COO over the past 2 decades of work experience. In my free time I developed the XLYourFinances spreadsheet and website I enjoy golf and spending time with my family. We attend church at LCBC.