7. Formalize your goals and put them in writing for you.
Having written goals is similar to dieting, meditation, and budgeting. We know from reams of research that the results are vitally important to our well-being. We know that, done correctly, they work to produce results. We know our life would be better if we did them. And regardless of all the evidence to the contrary, we don’t do them. Isn’t it interesting how our brains often work against us?
One of the main reasons we don’t set goals is that the task of updating or writing out goals isn’t urgent. Our lives are so filled with urgent tasks—what some time management experts call “C” tasks—like getting to places on time, attending to daily tasks, negotiating through traffic, that we rarely set aside time to do the more important, non-urgent tasks. These are the “A” tasks like drawing a will, shopping for insurance, setting up a retirement account, and writing goals. One of the benefits of a financial advisor is having a facilitated process to help you take the time to set written goals. Once goals are down on paper, there is little need to do anything else with them. Our experience says you can file them away and never look at them again. It’s uncanny how the unconscious portion of the brain can retain them and move you toward accomplishing them.