We have all been there before: frozen almost, staring down the road of a daunting, seemingly impossible task. Voices battle inside us, telling us that the job is too big and maybe we should just forget it.
These thoughts are often magnified when we’re starting a new year. It’s a new season, a chance for a fresh start, a chance to reset. But, where do we begin? Well, let’s start there: we have to just begin. There is no point to a steering wheel if the boat isn’t moving first.
In our lives, it’s not that difficult to sit down and dream, to imagine what we want life to be like next year, or 5 – 10 years down the road. We can write out bucket lists until our hands fall off. So, why is it that so many people get to the end of the year, or even the end of their life and they look back wishing they had done more of the things they talked about?
For me, it comes to a couple of things when figuring out your life goals: Fear and lack of planning/action.
I saw a quote recently that hit home on fear: “CFO asks CEO: ‘What happens if we invest in developing our people and then they leave us?’ CEO: ‘What happens if we don’t and they stay.’” Fear is a powerful emotion. It can both stop you dead in your tracks or motivate you to press on.
It’s all about perspective. When it comes to our goals (losing weight, getting out of debt, saving for retirement, starting a business, writing a book, etc.), we too often let fear keep us from moving forward.
Our mind plays tricks on us and tells us that the road is too long, that we aren’t cut out for the task at hand. We fear not being able to accomplish our goals, so we freeze and fight the internal battle of whether we should wander down the path or just not even begin the journey.
Fear can cripple us to the point of inaction.
Lack of Planning and Action
Once we move past fear, the second obstacle often becomes a lack of plan or action. Goals by their very nature are supposed to guide us to something that we don’t already have. Most likely we don’t have them because we have not really known how to reach them.
Simply stating that we want something does not necessarily mean we will get it. Not knowing how to get it can move us back to fear and fear freezes us. A lack of a plan creates chaos, and chaos often causes us to stall. We know we need a plan, so we start to research. We search online, we read books, we ask friends and family to offer advice.
This is how “analysis paralysis” can become a real phenomenon. Fear drives us to think that we need to have every answer and have every step planned out before we can get started, or we have so many different ideas and paths running through our minds that we are back to square one fearing that we might choose the wrong path.
One helpful metaphor here is a set of stairs. There are stairs for a reason. It would be impossible to get from one level of a home to the next by simply trying to jump 10 feet or so into the air. It would be inefficient and difficult at best.
When we walk up the stairs we don’t start at the bottom and try to skip all of them and immediately get to the top either. No, we take one stair at a time. That simple move to the first step may not seem like it did a whole lot to get you to your goal of getting to the top, but if you keep taking small step after small step, before you know it you are at the top – you’ve reached your goal.
Keep Good Company on the Journey
One of the first and most powerful steps we can take on any journey to figuring out life goals is to just get started. The second is to find a trusted friend and advisor to walk along with us. There are so many voices in our world. It’s important to find that voice that you trust and have them walk with you. Someone who can map out a plan with you and hold you accountable to see the plan through.
Finance is one of the areas where this struggle rears its ugly head the most. Fear and lack of understanding or planning keep people from taking the steps necessary to create the future for themselves that they desire. Before they know it, they are staring retirement in the face and aren’t sure if it is really something they can do.
We want to encourage you to take the first step on your financial journey. Maybe that’s simply picking up the phone and giving us a call for a free consultation. Maybe that’s finally taking the step to make a budget. Maybe it’s opening up that Roth IRA account that you have been talking about for years. Whatever it is, we want to encourage you to get started.
We also would love to be there to help guide you and walk with you on the journey. You don’t have to do it alone. You don’t have to have all the answers. That’s why we are here. Give us a call today and we’d welcome a chance to sit down over a cup of coffee and listen to your heart about where you want to be, and see if we can help get you there.
Start your boat, and we’ll be there to help steer the way!