Financial planners often say, “People do not plan to fail, they just fail to plan.”
This truism applies not only to financial planning but also to the many other aspects of our lives, including but not limited to, our mental, work, family, and spiritual activities.
Often we are so busy getting through the day, that we do not take the time to “live” our lives. We often feel that we’re on a roller coaster and can’t get off. We go through each day trying to complete the next task, to rush off to the next meeting, helping our children get to a ballgame or assisting with homework. We’re tethered to work by our cell phones. We even eat fast food without considering the nutritional value it might have for us and what effect it might have on our future health and longevity.
So how can we find the time to not only live our lives, but also to be able stop and smell the roses? It all comes down to making a decision as to what is important to us and a commitment to changing from who we are, to the person who wants to enjoy what we’re striving to become.
So where do we begin? It all begins with the smallest step. First, we can get out of bed 15 minutes early and begin with a short prayer, such as, “Lord help me to do the best I can at whatever I do today, to do it in a way that is satisfying to you and will best serve my future and that of my family.”
Second, get a notebook and write at the top of each page a single word to describe the areas of our lives that we want to ensure future success, such as, physical, mental, spiritual, financial, psychological, and social.
Third, on each page, we list a short-term (six months or less), a mid-term (six months to two years), and a long-term (2 to 5 years) goal.
Fourth, and this is the most difficult and time-consuming one, for each goal, on a separate sheet of paper, describe how we will attain it. Be specific. Anticipate occasional roadblocks and list how we will overcome those in order to stay on track. Determine if we will need any assistance and the type of assistance to be successful. Describe how we will measure our achievement.
Steps one through four could take as much as a month to complete so we must take our time. Remember, we are doing planning that will affect our future for quite some time.Finally, at the beginning of each month, review our progress in each area and unless our goal has become totally unreachable or no longer desirable, reevaluate our methods to ensure that they are delivering the desired result. “Plan our work and work our plan.”
It is very important that we spend sufficient time on the spiritual area of our lives, for from it we can draw strength to get through the toughest times. It is the foundation that helps us in every other area.
As usual, the Bible gives us direction in this task when it says, “Come now you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we shall go into such and such a town, spend a year there doing business, and make a profit’-you have no idea what your life will be like tomorrow. You are a puff of smoke that appears briefly and then disappears. Instead you should say, ‘If the Lord wills it, we shall live to do this or that.’”(James 4:13-15)
So, we must take control of our lives now, plan for the future, be prepared for roadblocks, evaluate our plan, adjust as necessary, and remember that the key to our future lies in building a strong spiritual foundation, so we pray for guidance.