For years I made a New Year's resolution to take control of my personal finances, and for years I broke that
resolution. I was in good company - four out of five people fail to keep their resolutions.
Resolutions are easy to make and even easier to break. If you want to turn your resolutions into habits, you need
motivation and a plan. When it comes to your personal finances, there is one thing that can fuel that motivation: a
dream. A dream - a big goal, even one that seems out of reach today - can inspire you to make real and lasting
Somewhere along the way you may have stopped dreaming. I know I lost track of my dreams as my debt began to pile up.
The financial choices I had made limited my options, and they left me unable to see my dreams.
Do you have a dream powerful enough to pull you through the hard work of taking control of your personal finances? If
you don't, a dream session can help you tap into a larger vision for your life and provide the motivation to turn those
resolutions into habits.
Start your dream session by getting a notebook, journal or 11 pieces of paper. On top of each page write one of the
following categories: travel, financial, adventure, spiritual, creative, physical, material, character, relationship,intellectual and legacy.
Then find a quiet place and start writing. Don't worry about being realistic" or about what others might think. Just
write. Write down eight to 10 dreams for each category. In some categories, dreams will come easily; in others, they
will require searching and imagination.
From the list, pick one or two dreams that you can reach within five years; make sure they are powerful enough to serve
as your personal-finance compass. Picking too many dreams can dilute your motivation as can picking one that will take
a very long time to achieve.
The dream you pick could be a reward, such as going on a paid-in-cash vacation after you have your debt paid off, or it
may be something more lasting like saving a down payment for a home. Regardless of the dream, make sure it is important
Use your dream for inspiration and guidance to help you stick to your personal finance plan. When choices arise, ask
yourself, Is this going to lead me in the direction of my dream?" If your choices are not leading you toward that
dream, stop, change your behavior and get back on course.
Break each goal into 90-day action steps. What are three to five actions you can take in the next 90 days that will get
you closer to your dream? Imagine a staircase and each action is advancing you up one step closer to your goal.
Using the dream vacation as an example, the 90-day actions steps might be: 1) Pick a destination. 2) Decide on lodging
and activities. 3) Determine the cost of the vacation. These first three steps cost nothing and bring the dream into
focus, making those day-to-day sacrifices easier.
I invite you to follow this column each month as I lead you through the process of developing and implementing a plan
to take control of your personal finances and get out of debt.
www.personalfinancecoaching"http://www.personalfinancecoaching.com">.com. Durango resident and personal finance coach Matt Kelly owns
Momentum: Personal Finance Coaching.