Every year millions of people around the world (I’m guessing) take the arbitrarily defined anniversary of the earth orbiting our closest star as an impetus for setting out goals or “resolutions.” I’ve been guilty of this in the past, we all have. There is a critical flaw in this whole process, basically rendering the whole exercise largely moot. People tend to set these goals, but they don’t create plans of action to achieve them.

We can all say “well in 2014, I am going to make $500,000,” or “I’m going to lose 20lbs this year,” or “I’m going to learn a new language;” yeah but HOW? How are you going to accomplish these vague, or sometimes specific things, if you don’t have an understanding of the path required to get to these points?

Hopefully if you start a business, you have a “business plan” or at the very least a business model in mind that fills in the gaps between how you get started and how you get to profitability. We need to start encouraging people to treat their lives like a business (don’t go overboard folks). Seriously. This year, if you’re setting out arbitrary goals for the year, which I am not discouraging, I think they can be healthy, create an action plan.

Some examples that come to mind:
You want to earn more money (this is oversimplification, just an example FMA):

  1. Do a financial audit of yourself (I BET you are spending or wasting more money than you realize)
  2. Set up a savings account (money market, or something that actually has more than 1% interest, otherwise you’re losing value to inflation).
  3. Figure out how much you earn in your current situation (job/self-employment, etc)
  4. Figure out how much you want to earn this year (set a fixed target)
  5. Research the opportunities at your current job for moving up to hit that target.
    1. Are there no opportunities at your current job? Look for another job (don’t quit your current one yet).
    2. Talk to your boss about what options there are for upward mobility. A good boss will be very open to discussing it with you, a bad boss will feel threatened (so you need a new job anyway at this point).
  6. Create a plan to get to the next level. (I did say this was an oversimplification).

Other things to figure into your decision process. What is the reason for wanting to hit your goal? How will hitting your goal change your life? How will you or others benefit from you hitting this goal?

What are your goals for 2014? How can we help make them happen?

*Disclaimer: please do not take this as financial advice. Consult a professional first. (A reader suggested I make this disclaimer)