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Goal Statements

Only about 20 % of the work force in America actually has a financial goal that they are consciously working toward. Only about 3% of the work force bothers to write it down. How good are we at earning what we want, anyway? Let's take a quick test:

Of the options listed below, which category would you want to be, and be proud to be, a part of when you retire? 

  1. Financially dependent on Social Security.
  2. Financially dependent on a charity,
  3. Financially dependent on your children,
  4. Financially 'getting-by', or
  5. Financially unfettered, or free. (Having virtually no financial concerns.)

In a nation-wide survey of high school graduating seniors, 100% answered #5. I don't expect that to surprise you. Over a three year period of teaching goal setting to Naval Officers and asking the same question of them (over 600 of them), I also had 100% of them chose #5. It would be easy for me to believe that your answer would be the same.

But if that is true, that virtually all people in America that have graduated from High School want to be financially unshackled at retirement age, and if it is also true that America is the 'Land of Opportunity', why do less than 2% actually achieve it?

Would it surprise you that 98% of that 2% had a written plan of attack as to how they were going to do it? That they periodically went over it and modified it as necessary to still achieve it?

I am not trying to glorify getting wealthy, but I am making a point. Financial Independence is something almost everyone wants, but few get. Those that do get use written goal statements and action plans to do so. Using written goal statements and action plans will raise the chances that you will achieve whatever goals you set for yourself. This works for your team as well.

For a goal statement to be more effective,
it should contain most of the following:

  1. Behaviorally specific. It specifically mentions the necessary action to be taken.
  2. Measurable. It has checkpoints or 'milestones' for evaluating progress toward the goal.
  3. Realistic AND Challenging. You know, or feel, you can do it, but you realize its going to take effort, or you won't make it.
  4. Time-phased. To help counter procrastination, give yourself a date to get done by. (Positive stress!)

Some of the advantages of goal writing are:

  1. - requiring you to focus on and clarify what you want to achieve.
  2. - reducing impulsive, unplanned or unorganized activity.
  3. - Improving performance by providing guidance in:
    1. - Structuring the way you function on a daily basis
    2. - Deciding who should do what, and when
    3. - Deciding how to use time and other resources
    4. - Monitoring progress relative to the goal
    5. - Evaluating performance toward the goal

If you want to get something, be like the magnifying glass out in the sun. Take that sunlight and focus the power into a tiny area, starting a flame. Focus your energy and time and talent, and start a flame!

To learn about how your habits will help or hinder you in your career, take this quiz:

Career Goal Setting Quiz: Work smarter, not harder, to make the most of your career potential. Take this quiz to see how your habits rank. This test was in South West Airlines magazine, and has been helpful to many.

For more information about money, see my article on "Financial Matters"