Maybe it’s not a word, or even a real disorder but I’m telling you it is TRUE…I have “start-itis.” You may know (or even have) the symptoms: some new idea or thing catches your attention and from all appearances is EXACTLY what you were looking for. So, you leap right in with vigor and your mind is ripe with all of the possibilities of how this could change everything for the better. In the beginning, when the romance with the new object of your affection is unexplored and every interaction offers new and fulfilling promise, sticking to this new thing is easy. You may find yourself unable to think of anything else and you approach each day filled with anticipation.
Then…the honeymoon is over. Little things get in the way and you are too busy, too tired, too distracted…too “something” to spend time on the object so in a corner it sits, longing for your attention.
Truth be told, I have several things that fall into this category. I love adventure and new challenges so much so that each year my partner and I take our grandchildren to a new place and they learn a new activity (last year was badminton – we were running out of new sports to try). I take up new sports, activities and tasks frequently and I often find that after a brief spurt of intensity, my level of participation wanes. I notice that my interest in the thing doesn’t change, but frankly, life gets in the way…and I let it.
So what in the world does this have to do with financial planning? EVERYTHING! Financial planning is ALL about allocating your resources in a way that provides you the security and the life experience you desire. If you have your financial life in order then:
your financial management systems are in place;
you have appropriate and adequate asset protection;
you know how much you need to earn, save and invest to achieve your financial goals; and
you are free to give your attention to the people/places/things that make your heart beat fast (in a good way).
When we are overloaded with things that we haven’t quite finished we can be distracted, stressed and unavailable to do the things that really matter most.
Psychologist, business coach, consultant and public speaker Ed Jacobson has a very useful tool that can help you sort through your busy life and determine what things are most important to you. Jacobson’s Looking Back on 2011. Looking Forward to 2012: An Appreciative Year-End Review guides you through a series of questions designed to help you reflect on the previous year (Looking through the Rear-View Mirror) and envision your direction and goals for the new year (Peering through the Windshield).
I have decided that 2012 is my “Year of Completion.” There, I said it! I don’t make resolutions, but I do set intentions and this year I will complete my pending or outstanding projects. All of my current knitting UFOs (unfinished objects) will be DONE, my new financial document organization system and family operations manual (more next month) will be DONE and I will complete the Rosetta Stone Spanish Language program. Well, I feel better already.
What about you? Are there any projects pending or that you know you want to do to make your life better? Have you developed a financial plan that will move you toward your life goals? Do you feel secure in the knowledge that when “life happens” you and your loved ones know what to do to appropriately address the situation? If not, what do you want to do about it?