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Time flies, make it count

I think we all agree that time flies. For me it seems like only the other week that we were celebrating the new year, and the Met Office issued a rare red weather alert warning us of Storm Eunice… when this month we’re halfway through 2022 already. Before we know it, summer will be over and we’ll be planning our Christmas celebrations.

This week also marks my second anniversary here, so with my 104th column I’d like to share my experience on being financially well-organised – while remembering that information is useless without action.

It’s our decisions in life which will shape our future, not our knowledge or our conditions. That’s why when working with my clients in my financial planning practice, and in my book The Money Plan, I always want to know two things from people before we start talking money:

What’s your outcome?

I need to know what you want to achieve because if you don’t know what you want, how can I help you achieve it? The clearer you are with what your outcome is, the more likely it is that you will achieve it. With clarity comes certainty, and you feel some excitement because you can begin to visualise what it is you want.

Take a moment to try this: think of something you’d really like to achieve, close your eyes and see it clearly in your mind’s eye. Next, make the colours of this image bright and vivid, like the most vibrant image you’ve ever seen. Now make it a motion picture and put yourself into the film, with surround sound which in turn brings feelings to your body. Magnify these feelings, making them more intense.

This is how you truly visualise your outcome. Professional athletes and sportspeople have known this technique for years, and now you can use it to clarify your outcome in life.

What’s important to you?

Knowing what you want is important, but it’s only part of the process; why is that outcome important to you? What are your values?

Are there times in your life when you’ve felt like everything is going in your favour and you just can’t help but win at life? Athletes call this being ‘in the flow’ and it happens when your actions and your values are aligned.

The advertising world spends billions of pounds to grab your attention, to try to tell you what you need. But you already know if you only ask yourself ‘What’s important to me about…’.

So this weekend, to mark the second birthday of Time To Talk Money, why don’t you ask yourself: ‘How do I want to live the rest of my life?’ Allow yourself some me-time to ponder the answer and live your life by design, not by default.

Five key things we’ve covered in the last year, which you can do now to make this year count:

  1. Know what you want out of life. If you don’t know, how will you ever know when you have achieved it?
  2. Know what’s important to you about money. Living true to your values will give you a happier life.
  3. Take action! Knowing these things is great, but procrastination is the assassin of success! Do something with your knowledge, and make it count.
  4. Take time to review your results. We need to check in on ourselves and our goals from time to time to ensure we’re still on the right path, our true north.
  5. Give yourself time. We often overestimate what we can achieve in a year, and underestimate what we can achieve in a decade.

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