2013 is half over and I just thought it is a good time to take my temperature! In case you are wondering, I am not lost nor did I just wake up from a lost weekend. Jet lag is out the question since I have not been on a plane in a couple years. No, I am not sick and I am really talking more about financial health anyway! You cannot know where you are going until you know where you are!
Temperature is one measurement of your health. We know what normal is and any variation is indicative of illness or an abnormal condition. Financially speaking, it is similar to using a baseline measurement such as net worth. Taking your temperature is checking your financial health or in this case, the health of your budget, goals or accomplishments. Why bother? It is an opportunity to reflect on your progress.
If you are not reaching your goals, you have an opportunity to make adjustments. It is not that different from an annual or semiannual examination of your investments or asset allocation. If you are not monitoring your investments, you should! This also applies to your career, personal life, personal development (includes additional training or education) and financial/personal goals.
When I am around my colleagues, I always hear them saying how busy they are. Everyone thinks they are busy and many think they are too busy to plan. We are all busy with our careers, personal and social lives. When I was young and inexperienced, I remember going from one problem to the next and never really taking the time to catch my breath to reflect on my problems. A little planning goes a long way to solving problems!
Are you too busy to plan? I found that planning actually makes me more efficient. Part of planning is budgeting which is the structure to help me achieve my financial goals. If I did not plan or budget, I would not achieve my goals!. I would waste a lot of time and accomplish nothing! Having a plan and budget is not enough! You have to monitor your progress periodically and adjust your plan to achieve better results.
Everyone is familiar with budgeting to reach your financial goals, but planning your career, personal or social life may unnecessary. Careers and such do not just happen, particularly successful careers require planning. Imagine you were Marissa Mayer and you were employee 20 at Google. Do you think she had a plan? She probably never needed to leave Google and she would have had a lucrative and satisfying career. I think she wanted more!
I realize not everyone is Marissa Mayer, but we all have dreams. If you do not have a plan, your dream will remain just that a dream! Turning those dreams into a plan is the key to success. Now that you have goals and a plan, you need monitor your progress. Every job, assignment or experience should prepare you for the next step, but you need you know what you want for the next step.
Planning your career should start in high school. You start with your classes and your extracurricular interests. What skills do you need to achieve your career goals? Many high school students do not know what they want to do so how can you plan? You can keep it general such as the usual college prep classes, sports, student government and clubs. You achieve good grades and go to college or some other post secondary training. In college, you have to decide on a major which generally is associated with a career.
This is when your career plan can be more specific. I always had an interest in business and I set goals of management by certain ages. I exceeded my goals and changed companies for more opportunities and more hands on experience. My plans changed when I realized I was preparing myself to start a business. I decided it was better to work in small business where I could be exposed to more responsibility. Plans change, but it is up to you to make the changes.
How many people plan their personal or social life? I often hear how some singles cannot find a mate or their social life is draining their money. How do you meet people or avoid toxic people? Start with your interests and go from there! If you like sports, find situations to enjoy sports with people who have the same interests. It may start with watching a game on TV or playing a sport together. You can build a friendship from there. This is also a great resource to network for friends who have the same interests.
If you do not plan, you probably won’t achieve your goals. A plan is only the start of the process. You need to monitor your progress and make adjustments as needed. You start with a goal and a plan, but things change or you need to make changes. Periodically reviewing your plans usually reveals what changes you need to make. 2013 is half over, how are your goals doing?
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