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Piss Poor Preparation: The Missing First Step to Personal Finance

In my welcome post, I made reference to a saying from my dad that has structured my view of life:

“Piss poor preparation leads to piss poor performance.” - Papa G.

It is crucial to take time to plan and prepare your next step.

Goal Setting:

This has been key in my financial journey. Most people overlook the very first step when working on their personal finances and jump into creating a complex budget.

The first step should be Setting your Goals and Establishing your Vision.

Some people believe that taking time to set goals is pointless, as your goals will inevitably change over time and instead you should focus on your system. This is only a partial solution. Without a direction in mind, how efficient can your system be?

In reality your goals and systems must work together. Treat your goals as a compass and your systems as the process that allows you to obtain your goals.

In short: Goals + System = Actionable Plan. An Actionable Plan implemented consistently will yield Results.

How to Create Goals:

Contrary to popular belief, I believe that goals should be simple. SMART goals have their place, however they are not always necessary. There is nothing wrong with having a simple one-statement goal of “controlling your finances”, “getting out of debt”, “wanting to travel more”, or “focusing your time on family” to give you a sense of direction and priority.

Be creative! Pretend for a moment that you did not have to worry about money at all. What would you do? Travel? Create art or music? Learn a new language?

Though cliché, a vision board is extremely useful to spark your imagination. Personally, I would love to travel more and be able to visit my family and friends whenever I want to.

What's next after you set your bearings ? Working backwards from your goal will give you a better sense of the steps involved in meeting your goals. Divide your main goal into smaller and smaller milestones to the point the task in front of you doesn't seem as scary. Everything is Figureoutable as Marie Forleo says.

How to Create a System:

With a goal in mind, a system can be formed to attain it. Your habits are your systems and the reason you haven’t met your previous goals is due to those habits. Atomic Habits author, James Clear, states “the most effective way to change your habits is to focus not on what you want to achieve, but on who you wish to become.” If your goal is to be debt free, your habits should reflect that of someone that is debt free.

Clear also references a set of simple rules to build better habits or systems as The Four Laws of Behavior Change.

  1. Cue - make your desired habit obvious.

  2. Craving - make your desired habit attractive.

  3. Response - make your desired habit easy.

  4. Reward - make your desired habit satisfying

Goals + System = Actionable Plan

Now that you have a goal aligned with your vision and a system identified to attain your goals, you have an Actionable Plan. Only with consistency will your Actionable Plan yield results.

At this stage, it's important to enjoy the journey you’re on everyday (system) and not focus on the checkpoint destination (goal). Take pride in who you are choosing to be and let me know what your goals and systems are!

Until next time

- Tej

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