When it comes to budgeting I often find that many of us struggle with instant gratification.
Many of us think that saving for retirement or long term goals can always start “tomorrow.”
Then years go by and our bank accounts are similar to those of high schoolers. We drive nicer cars, we have nicer things, but no real income producing assets to show for our professional working years.
How can you budget or save when you don’t know what you are saving for?
Have you ever started a workout program because you were inspired by a transformation picture you saw? In that moment you could visualize the end result.
Similar to working out, budgeting is an ongoing process. If you want to see results and get to your end goal, you have to be able to visualize it.
Whether you are new to budgeting or consider yourself to be a pro, visualizing the end goal is key.
Here are some tips to help you define, achieve, and push the limits of your goals:
Spend a week journaling about where, who, and what you want to be in the next 1, 3, and 5 years
Figuring out what you value will help you narrow your vision in order to attain it with little distractions.
When I was saving for my first home I cut out expensive dinners and vacations, replacing them with dinner parties at friends’ homes and weekend trips to low cost or free local attractions. I knew that in the next year I wanted to be a home owner and I had a very clear picture of what type of home I wanted to own.
Make a vision board
A vision board is a visual board of pictures, sayings, and whatever else portrays your goals and dreams. Using old magazines, pictures from the internet, or fun materials can make this task both fun and inspiring.
Once you have created your vision board, take a picture of it, and then hang those pictures in places you are often. Place on in your work desk, gym bag, car, phone background, or where ever else you look often and spend your time. If you carry a wallet, make a smaller version of it and place it by your money so you are reminded of your goals when you go to make a purchase.
Learn how to dream
Dreaming is different than having goals. For example, I used to say that my dream was to have 5 homes by the time I was 30. I later learned that this was a goal, not a dream.
I was lucky enough to work with our talented dream manager from the company I work for. He reshaped the way I created dreams by encouraging me to raise the bar.
As it turns out all the dreams I had written down were actually goals. They were things I knew I would attain in my lifetime. Our dream manager encouraged me to live outside my comfort zone and write down 100 things I dreamt of doing but was too afraid to include on list for fear of failure.
When I did this exercise, I wrote down things like owning 25 properties by the time I was 30, traveling to over 100 countries by the time I was 40, retiring at age 35, etc.
Something amazing happened when I began to truly dream. I started to remove the limitations I set and started to find new ways to make those outrageous dreams a reality.
So what if I failed? If I got to 15 properties instead of 25 it was still far more then my original goal.
The more you dream, the more you make your own path to achieving what you once thought was impossible.
Visualize your goals, dream bigger then you imagined, embrace failure. When you can see where you are going it is easier to get there.