Prosper

Set yourself smart financial goals

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Posted  Tuesday, December 17   2013 at  00:00

In Summary

Forget about procrastinating. If you start your planning today instead of waiting until the new year sets in, you’ll have much more time to prepare, organise, and jot down the most important results you would like to achieve during 2014.

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Q. It is that time of year and like many others I am trying to set targets I hope to achieve both at work and at home come 2014. This time, I find myself cautious about this matter because last year most of my friends with whom we set goals achieved theirs while I did not. I got depressed and labelled myself a failure. How do I manage to set out goals and achieve them?
Reader

There is little doubt that Nelson Mandela is one of the greatest men of his generation. When the history of colonialism in Africa is finally written, and when those who played critical roles in the liberation of the continent are recorded, his name has to be one of the few, about whom there will be little or no debate regarding the iconic role he played.

Heroes
In the roll of honour in the African Hall of Fame (of the future), he will find easy companionship with other great men of Africa, including Franz Fannon, Kwame Nkrumah, Jomo Kenyatta and Patrice Lumumba. Africa has many other heroes.

In a sense, Mandela was the last of the African giants of liberation. At his trial in April 1964 and relevant to your question, he stated, “One cannot be prepared for something while secretly believing it will not happen.”

This, therefore, is as good a time as any to address your question which is about how to set goals in life.

In historical terms, the legendary freedom fighters set very specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and to some extent time targeted goals. These were smart men who set “smart” goals.

Personal goal setting
At a personal level, the process is similar and is a critical component in personal development. As the old saying goes, if you do not know your destination, then any road will get you there. Because African liberation was their stated goal, our heroes got us there.

That said, and even as you prepare yourself this holiday season, you must ask yourself the most basic question. Why do I want to set any goals?

You must know many men and women, who in a drunken state during the holiday season set “goals” that are driven by alcohol and exhaustion, and that are to a large extent forgotten by January 2 of the following year, as they go back to “normal.”

They then wait patiently till the end of the year, ask the question you have asked, set more goals, and life continues. If you are one of those, then you will not benefit from the advice I am going to give.

Goal setting of the type I would like to persuade you to consider is that which comes from the answer to the question, why set goals?

In your case, is it perhaps because everybody else is setting such targets, or is it perhaps because you feel like a failure in life.

Timing
Are you under pressure from your spouse or employer or is it because the clock is ticking fast and you now know you are old?

Why now? Why do you think this is the right time? Why did you not do it a year or two ago or why can’t you wait till you are older? Why during the festive season and not in the cool months of June and July of the next year!

You might also want to wonder what timeframe you are looking at much as one does when looking at setting up a corporate body. Have a clear vision, mission and set a clear strategy.

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