Setting your financial priorities is all about taking your responsibilities and finding a way to turn them into attainable goals. You know what you should do. You’ve set goals to get those things accomplished, but goals are practically worthless until they’re prioritized, so once you’ve set your financial goals, what’s next? “What is the next action?” is a great question, but if you’re faced with a nagging sense of uncertainty about which goal to tackle, you can wind up like the proverbial dog chasing two rabbits and catching none.
Without a prioritized plan, there isn’t much hope that you or I will reach our goals, let alone accomplish them in the most effective and least stressful ways possible. While there are many models around that help me focus and re-focus on those things that are either important or urgent–or both, or neither–I think it’s helpful to have an acronym on my side as that quasi-life coach reminder of what I need to be doing to untangle my life and get where I need to be going.
Here is a quick planning acronym I use to help set priorities by turning them into attainable, measurable goals. Make sure that your ACTION plans are:
- Accessible and measurable.
- Compatible with your life mission and your values.
- Time-specific with a start and finish time.
- In writing. There is power in a written word.
- Owned by everyone involved, including you.
- Negotiated if others are involved.
So, once you’ve worked through the acronym, your next step is to decide what goal has the highest priority. If you’re repaying debt, the account with the highest interest rate usually has the highest priority, unless you have another account that you can pay off in a very short amount of time.
If your goal is to increase your income, you’ll need to prioritize by the amount of time you have and the amount of return you’ll be able to generate.
Now is when you start asking yourself, “What is the next action I need to take?” Then, you take that action. Move. Get going and do what you know you need to do.
Only you can decide what is your priority. Don’t let someone else make that decision for you because you’ll just be a participant instead of an owner. To really reach a goal, you gotta own it.
[tags]financial priorities, money, life, debt, goals, goal, financial goal, finances, priority[/tags]