Ok, so how are you doing so far with your resolutions? It’s usually mid-January that we start to feel the full brunt of them. Let’s face it, some were pretty optimistic and reality has a way of bringing us back to earth.
Even if you feel them slipping, don’t despair. There’s no saying they can’t be tweaked or even reset.
So how do we come up with a good resolution anyway? I’d like to suggest you think in terms of investment strategies.
When it comes to investing, of course, we immediately think of financial investments. Sure, they’re important, but that’s way too narrow a focus. If you ever watch Shark Tank, you can learn some important lessons from these millionaire and billionaire investors.
When the Sharks evaluate an investment opportunity, they always want a higher percentage if they have to invest their time along with their money. They may have billions of dollars but they only have so much time, just like you. The sweetest deals are those that have their money working for them with no time of theirs required.
So, let’s look at your 2019 resolutions from this investment vantage point.
When it comes to your money, you have some that you need to live on, some you invest (or should), some you save for a rainy day, and some you spend and enjoy. The same goes for your time.
So, when we talk of a time investment strategy, the key element is to evaluate if the activities you choose will pay you back some kind of dividend in the long run. For instance, time building your own business that will eventually pay you passive income would be time invested, not simply spent. Time working your job to pay your cost of living expenses may seem like time invested, but it is often more time spent, unless you’re investing in a 401K and a pension, than you can view that time as invested as well.
Start with your priorities
So, what are your priorities? Do you want a good marriage, good relationships with your children, good health, financial freedom, travel, golf time? Do you want to make an impact in the world for good and support causes that are important to you? Write these priorities down. Prioritize them…which are the most important to you?
Next, keep a record for a couple of weeks of how you’re spending your time. Write everything down—time working, commuting, exercising, shopping, preparing meals, tidying the house, watching TV, learning, surfing the web, social media, time with your kids, your spouse, your family and other friends. I mean everything.
Once you’ve kept that record for a couple of weeks, set aside some time and calculate your totals. Compare this with the priorities you wrote down. How much time are you actually devoting to those stated priorities? It may be a big eye-opener.
Change your thinking
You need to start thinking about time differently…very differently. For so many of us time seems a cruel master or an out-of-control banshee. We feel like passive victims of sunrise and sunset. But once you start thinking differently, that we each have the same 24 hours a day and 7 days to the week, you’ll start to realize that millionaires and billionaires have no real advantage over you. Making deliberate and informed decisions of how you spend your 24 hours will make the difference between success and failure. Between happiness and misery. Between freedom and slavery.
Take this seriously
You can lose money in the stock market and make up the loss, but once the day is over, you can’t get it back. Let that sink in.
Ok, once you’ve completed these steps, you’re ready to set some real goals and resolutions. Just like your financial budget, you need to divvy up your time budget in the same way. How much is available (hint: 24 hours) and how much is already spoken for: job, sleep etc.? Set aside time for those things that are most important to you. Block out time on your calendar for them and treat that time like you would a doctor’s appointment or business meeting. Commit.
Obviously, you can’t do everything at once…and you may have a lot of lofty priorities that seems impossible for you to accomplish them all. I think that’s what gets most people in trouble…trying to do it all at once and then, failing that, not trying at all. Pick no more than three priorities for a two-week period. If you have more than three, you have none. Think about that.
Consult with God
God has a perfect plan for your life. Your dreams and desires may be your own whims or may have been inspired by God. Take the time to pray for His will in your life and to discern where He is leading you. We can get pulled into a lot of rabbit holes if we’re not careful. Like kids in a candy store, everything looks attractive but if we don’t limit ourselves, we will wind up getting sick.
Start with your state in life
To everything there is a time and a season. Being faithful to your state in life is the best insurance that you’re doing God’s will for your life. If you’re raising small children and one of your priorities is to fly to Mars, chances are that’s something you need to put off until the future when your kids are on their own.
The long and short of it
Think in terms of short- and long-term goals. If you want to retire on the beach somewhere in 30 years, than setting some short-term goals to save, invest, and create financial freedom are the ones you’ll be devoting your time to now.
Organizing our goals with prayer and discernment can pay big dividends. Working with a Catholic coach to help you discern, set good goals, and a plan to achieve them is one investment which can pay off in a huge way.
So, get started now. Remember, the Sharks truly have nothing on you!
Allison is also the Founder and President of www.CatholicTherapists.com, a nationwide network of dedicated Catholic therapists.