There is a saying; “life is like a roll of toilet paper, the closer you get to the end, the faster it turns.” This always comes to mind when the calendar page turns to December and I think to myself; “WOW it’s December already!!” It really does seem to come around a little quicker every year doesn’t it?
In the past I had thoughts like; I wish I had spent more time working around the house, or I wish I’d been able to complete this project or traveled to that place, or I should’ve done this thing or that thing. I don’t know if you have these thoughts, if you do, then perhaps this next year can be different.
Please don’t make this commitment as a New Years Resolution!! New Years resolutions are claims that we make in the first week of January and by February we have fallen back into our old ways. Be Intentional and Take Command of your life so that you can end off 2019 saying; “What a great year we’ve had, we really accomplished our plans.”
Every year, my wife Caryn and I will have several conversations about our key goals, desires or objectives for the ensuing year (doesn’t need to be a formal sit down discussion, but it can be of course). These discussions are about personal goals or objectives – work stuff is planned and dealt with at work. As we come to a consensus over several conversations, we then create a priority list and agree on it. The priority list could be an overseas holiday, home renovation, a major purchase of some kind or more time at home on weekends (or possibly a combination of these). We then prioritise the key themes and agree to them. Once we have an agreement, we make every major decision throughout the year based on the goals that we have set ourselves. An example of this was a trip we took in July. In July 2018 we were fortunate enough to go on a boat cruise in the Mediterranean. Sometimes I tell people this and they will say WOW you are so lucky that you were able to do that. The truth is luck had nothing to do with it. We were intentional. We took command of our lives and made decisions weekly and monthly based on the goals that we had set. Yes we made weekly and monthly decisions to make sure that our goal was achieved. Weekly and monthly meant that we had to be consistent and focused.
For example, with the boat cruise mentioned above. In December 2016 we resolved to go on a boat cruise in the Mediterranean. Caryn calculated the costs and we figured it would require us to save every month for 14-16 months. Yes it took time. We started to save from February 2017. There are some families that can swipe a debit card and pay for a trip like this, we are not one of those families. Our goals and objectives for the cruise were:
- We didn’t want to create debt to finance the trip.
- We want our daughters to experience different cultures
- We want our daughters to become global citizens and understand what makes us unique and what makes us the same.
- We wanted it to include Italy and Spain (Romance and FC Barcelona)
What were some key decisions that we had to make here:
- First one was easy: Entertain less
- Second decision was No Extravagant gifts – This was easy for us as parents to accept. A little more challenging for teenagers and an 8 year old to agree to. It was easy for the girls to agree to no extravagant or special gifts in the December when we were having conversations about the overseas trip. It was a little more challenging for them to accept in the month of their birthdays though.
- Saving the minimum monthly amount. Tough to do when cash flow is impacted by a car service, replacing tires or emergency maintenance for a plumber et cetera.
When we had the goal in mind, we are more decisive in our decision making. When we were invited to go away for the weekend we would calculate the costs and say no thanks, that money goes to The Cruise. When we were invited to dinner we would calculate the cost and say – If we can save the money that we plan to spend first, then we can go…if not, then we say no. This proved to be a very useful strategy as it accelerated the savings. It also resulted answers like why not come over to us instead. You bring your drinks and a salad, and we will take care of food.
Making consistent decisions like this is how we we can achieve big things in short period of time. The truth is, this can be applied to any of the goals that we set ourselves.
Strategy – 3 simple steps:
- Decide collectively through collaboration what the goal is – People support a world they help to create.
- Cut out magazine pics and place the goal on the fridge or in the cupboard, or use google to get images and create a screen saver so that it comes up often as a reminder.
- Determine what you need to give-up or sacrifice to achieve this goal (time, money, dessert et cetera).
Execution: 1 easy step:
- Make daily, weekly and monthly decisions to achieve the goals set.
Make 2019 your best year ever.