Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Your future is in your hands

Craft your own road map of life

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There are a lot of factors that influence human behaviour. One thing we know is most people who accomplish what they want have usually decided ahead of time what it is they want to accomplish.

It makes sense, doesn't it?

But the connection is incredibly powerful. In my book Managing the Bull, I cite some research that is astounding. If you have not yet purchased a copy, then just take my word for it for now.

Another established fact is that people who write down specific, measurable goals, and then create a written plan to go from where they are to where they want to be, are even more likely to reach those goals.

Perhaps the most wonderful thing to consider is that generally, the bigger the goals people set, the more likely they are to achieve them, at least in an entrepreneurial or business context.

Even for people on salaries or with limited resources, declaring BHAGs (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) can have a life-changing effect.

Other great news is that people who have small goals can also accomplish exactly what they want, and often that's all they want.

Do I have a point here?

Glad you asked.

My point is you can design the life you want and accomplish it. Some of your goals will be short term and some will be long term. Some will be reached by the target date you write down, some will take longer and some will happen sooner.

I'm suggesting you can be successful at designing your own life.

But you have to sit down and make that design, come up with a reasonable time period and achievable steps, and then make good choices every day that will get you there.

Naturally, I hope your goals involve things such as self-actualization, time with family and friends and making the world a better place.

I'm not talking here just about material items, though I hope you will give prominence to your long-term plan to achieve financial independence.

Last year at this time, I suggested you start by deciding what things you like and want more of, and what things you want to eliminate.

I did this myself and really liked the effect. Make a "more" list:

-- I have always wanted to...

-- I really like to...

-- I want to do more of...

-- Who I want to be in __ years.

And make a "less" list:

-- Things I want to do less of...

-- Things I never want to do again...

-- Situations I want to avoid...

-- I want freedom from...

That's a good start and will hopefully really get you going, because, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, this is your week.

You have an extra day off from work, the glow of a new year is shining ahead of you, and that wonderful crisp Manitoba air is helping to brace your mind for clear thinking.

Take an hour right now and plan the rest of your life. Whether you use a computer, tablet or smartphone, also make sure you use a pen and paper to write down your final list of goals and the steps you have to take each day or each week to accomplish them.

Personally, I recommend a pocket-sized Moleskin notebook, which I returned to after being electronic for years. I can pull this out of my pocket any time without worrying about a password and remind myself what's most important to me.

Live your life on purpose. Decide what's most important to you and go get it.

I wish you all the best in 2014 and hope you made huge strides toward all your most cherished goals.

Happy New Year!


David Christianson, BA, CFP, R.F.P., TEP, is a financial planner and adviser with Christianson Wealth Advisers, and a vice-president with National Bank Financial Wealth Management.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 27, 2013 B7

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