Welcome to Day 16 of the 30-Day Financial Wellness Challenge.
Each day will comprise of financial exercises, some short and others a bit longer, to help you become financially fit. The goal is to tackle different aspects of personal finances one day at a time.
After the 30 days, you’ll have a stronger understanding of your financial health and an action plan to improve your financial wellbeing. Review Day 15: Evaluate Your Financial Past
Today, we begin the Awareness Phase that’ll help you envision your dream life, clarify your values, and identify your joys. We’ll be covering the following in the next few days.
|Vision||Sets your direction.||What is your future life like?|
|Values||Categorizes what’s important.||What are your priorities?|
|Mission||Plans to achieve your vision.||What are your life goals?|
|Goals||Goals supporting your mission||What are your financial goals?|
These are brainstorming sessions on wellness to help you define your ideal life before setting financial goals. One thing about financial goals, we often set them without considering if those goals actually build the life we dreamed or end up derailing us.
There’s a reason for the process you’ve undertaken in the past 15 days. First, I wanted you to see your financial vitals to assess your current state of financial health. Second, I wanted you to go into your financial past. Doing so gave insights on how you’ve managed finances and your relationship with money. And now that you’ve seen your numbers and reviewed your past, you will approach Phase 3 with more clarity and direction.
Let’s get started with today’s challenge.
On Day 16, you’re going to create your vision statement.
A vision for life
Where do you want to be? What’s your destination? How do you hope to feel? I’m sure you’ve asked these questions at some point. And having a vision statement will give you clarity and focus.
My vision statement: Living a life of freedom to pursue work of positive impact around the world.
In other words, I envision having complete autonomy over my time, traveling, and pursuing meaningful work. Having this vision has allowed me to choose missions that create that life. For instance, I created the Road to Financial Wellness, continue to speak around the country, and volunteer my time to organizations that align with my work.
Personal Vision and Your Wellbeing
Your vision focuses on your future. It defines what you want to be and what you want to create into the world. A vision isn’t about milestones or financial goals, both of which are defined better when your direction is made clear to you.
A vision takes all your hopes and dreams, thoughts and feelings into context for the purpose of direction. Your vision is the why and the big picture reason behind your goals. Life happens and many things can derail us but having a clear vision can help us get back on the path.
Difference between a vision and goals
Your vision is the bigger picture while your goals are the details that support that vision. We often set goals before we have a clear idea of the life we want to create.
I’ll give you an example. Many set a goal of going to college without a clear idea of what college offers in return. So we rack up student debt pursuing a degree that will make it difficult to pay off that debt and pursue our dreams. Or we set a goal of buying a home that can easily trap us into a job that doesn’t really align with our values.
Do you see where I’m going with this? If you’ve read my book You Only Live Once, I stressed the importance of vision and values before setting financial goals.
A vision is “your why” and a goal is “the what”.
Why vision matters?
It’s easy for us to get distracted as life happens. Sometimes we’re faced with conflicting priorities or multiple opportunities. A vision can keep your focus on what’s important. It can help you make decisive and impactful decisions. Although a vision may not keep you from making the wrong choices, it can help you move past them.
Your vision won’t eliminate distraction but it can help you filter out much of the noise. The clarity you gain with a vision statement can help you focus on the future while living in the present.
Envisioning your vision for life
Creating a vision statement requires introspection and reflection. You must think big and get into a dream-like state as you envision your future life. Don’t think about what’s possible. Imagine all things are possible. Remember, this is your vision. Give yourself permission, for even just a moment, to dream again.
Your vision should excite you and may even excite those around you. Be honest. When creating your vision statement start with answer questions like:
- What type of person are you in the future?
- What are you capable of doing? And what things have you’ve done?
- What kind of life are you living 10 years from now?
- What would people remember about you or say when you’re no longer around?
Don’t limit yourself to these questions. Go deeper. It may be difficult and probably the hardest part of financial planning. In fact, it’s probably the reason many “advisors” will only ask about goals than spend time helping your get clear about your vision. Again, keep in mind your vision is the big picture reason for the goals you’ve set.
How to create your vision statement
Without vision, it’s difficult to see through circumstances and make sense of the challenges we face. Having vision, allows us to make sense of our situation knowing there’s something we’re striving for that is larger than the distractions.
Step 1: Envision
Take a moment. Close your eyes. Ask the question: what brings joy and happiness into my life?
Allow your thoughts to flow. Take a pause. Answer the question.
Now, you might find this challenging as thoughts of your finances creep up. Fight the urge to focus on your current life. This is your opportunity to dream of your future life.
When those financial issues prevent you from conjuring images of your future, ask a followup question.
Ask yourself, “If I have no debt or financial obligations, how would I spend my time?”
How you spend your time says a lot about your values and knowing what you value can help you craft that big picture vision. We’ll go over clarifying your values on tomorrow’s challenge. And how those values inform your financial missions the day after.
Step 2: Brainstorm
|If you never had to work another day, how would you spend your time?|
|What 3 things must you do each and every day to feel fulfilled?|
|What 10 things do you enjoy doing?|
|What environment do you live in?|
|What do you want people to remember about you?|
Don’t limit yourself with these questions. Ask many more questions that help you envision your future.
Use brainstorming to capture your thoughts. Don’t rule anything out when brainstorming or analyze whether or not it’s doable, realistic or plausible.
Step 3: Details
Write broad statements as if you are already doing or have accomplished them in your life. Don’t focus on length. Use this as an opportunity to fully articulate your vision.
|What’s your impact?|
|What people are in your life?|
|What work are you’re doing?|
|What community do you serve?|
|What’s your overall state of wellness?|
Day 16 Assignment
Now it’s time you create a statement that describes what your ideal life looks like. Doing this process will be rewarding.
- Follow the How-to steps
- Complete your statement
|My vision is…|
- Get a copy of my book, You Only Live Once: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life. Learn more about having a vision, clarifying your values, and following a money philosophy.
Next Daily Challenge: Day 17: Identify Your Core Values