Hope for your financial life and beyond

Want to Chase Your Dreams? This Is the Right Way to Win Big

I hope you have some big goals you are trying to reach. Setting the right type of goals is key for personal and professional growth. But have you adequately prepared for what is ahead as you chase your dreams?

Our family faced a situation several years ago when my wife was facing a professional identity crisis. She enjoyed teaching math to high school students and was quite good at it. Although she loved the students, teaching wasn’t leaving her personally and professionally fulfilled.

So we began to discuss a big goal for her – making a career change that would take her from classroom math teacher to CPA. Those initial discussions were exciting. But, they were also filled with some indecision, apprehension and a little fear about how to accomplish the task.

chase your dreamsThe point here isn’t to be a discouragement as you chase your dreams. By all means, find your passion and go for it. However, many people have a tendency to jump before they think. That’s a mistake. You have to plan for the drawbacks and unforeseen situations that will arise as you chase your dream. The better you can prepare for those ahead of time, the easier they will be to deal with when they come.

We faced our share of issues during my wife’s transition. The great thing is we dealt with them and she eventually reached her goal.

Could it have gone smoother? Absolutely! That’s why I’m sharing five hints today from our experience that I hope will help you chase your dreams and reach that goal. You have to think these things through ahead of time and know how to deal with them if you want to win big.

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How to Make a New Year Resolution That Works For You

Once again it’s the turn of the calendar to January which means you may be thinking about making a new year resolution. It’s quite normal to think about all you want to accomplish in the year ahead. Having targets to shoot for is important to move forward in life. Without direction our life will grow stagnant and directionless. It will have no spark.

new year resolutionBut just thinking about a new year resolution isn’t enough. You have to develop a definitive plan of action. These are the step-by-step plans that will help you accomplish what you want.

In order to get your plans on the right track, you have to decide on the right type of goal. Goals are hard enough to reach. I’m convinced though, we frustrate ourselves by not making the right type of goals in the first place. Consequently, we end up drifting aimlessly because we did not have the proper starting point.

So how do you set goals that will help your new year resolution become a reality? Above all they must contain a few basic elements.

New Year Resolution Goals Done Right

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The Best Definition of Teamwork You’ll Ever Read

Like all other basketball enthusiasts, I love the month of March. It is both exciting and maddening as you watch the NCAA basketball tournament unfold. Watching the teams play reminds me of what it means to work as a team. It also points me back to perhaps the best definition of teamwork I’ve ever heard.

definition of teamworkIt’s not from someone related to sports. Rather he was a successful businessman turned philanthropist. He generated an incredible fortune in the steel industry. He believed that great wealth was a sacred trust and that the possessor of such wealth was bound to use it for the good of the community.

If you’ve guessed Andrew Carnegie, you’d be correct.

Being a successful businessman, Carnegie must have known something about leading teams. So it’s no surprise he came up with this definition of teamwork:

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SMART Goal Examples For Your Money This Coming Year

smart goal examplesThis year is rapidly drawing to a close so what better time than to think about some financial goals for 2016. I’ve set and achieved many goals over the years. The best tool I’ve used to help me set goals is the acronym SMART. Today I’m going to outline what that means and give you some SMART goal examples for your money so you can see how it works.

There really is no debate that setting clearly defined goals will help you reach a target. Without something to shoot for how will you know if you’ve achieved anything? And what goals could you possibly set for your money? This is where the SMART acronym is useful.

What Are SMART Goals?

We often make mistakes when creating goals. This leads to frustration when we can’t complete them. Ever say you are going to save money but then never save any money? There are many factors that contribute to why that happened. One reason is that it’s not a very good goal to start with.

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What Would You Sacrifice to Gain Something Valuable?

Hidden Nuggets Series #89 – “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” – Matthew 13:44

ladderThat valuable item you seek will cost you dearly. You’ll have to let go of something you already value in order to pursue it. We know this to be true because we’ve seen it play out in our lives.

Completing personal goals…achieving wealth…working through a career change…renewing your spiritual walk…healing relationships…none of it comes easy.

None of it happens without great sacrifice.

The question you need to ask yourself is, “Will I be willing to give up “X” to pursue “Y”?

Jesus put it this way when he explained to the people how aggressively they should pursue heaven. He said in Matthew 13:44-45,

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Reshaping My Focus in 2015, Plus a Short Survey For You

Happy New Year catMay I say an early Happy New Year to you! We’ve finally arrived at the final week of the calendar year. I hope 2014 turned out to be all you hoped it would. I’m excited about the future that lies ahead and am looking forward to making some big blog steps in 2015.

I’d like to take a few moments today to share several goals I have for Luke1428 and beyond in 2015. I mentioned the other day how not developing clear and specific goals for 2014 was a big disappointment. It caused me to drift around many a day in that I didn’t have targets on which to focus. I’m not sure why my apathy toward goal development happened in 2014 but I’m committed with renewed effort to a different course this year.

My Goals for Luke1428 in 2015

Here are the three main things I’ll be focusing on in 2015. They represent a change in focus as to how I’ve approached managing Luke1428 to this point.

Understanding the Needs of My Readers

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3 Big Victories and 3 Big Disappointments From 2014

2015 is just a stone’s throw away. I’m eagerly awaiting the start of the New Year and all the hope it promises. As always though, before I look ahead I’m usually looking in the rear view mirror at what’s behind.

rear view mirror imageLooking behind can be productive. It reminds me of where I’ve been, what I’ve accomplished, and what I’ve struggled with. It allows me to celebrate victories and analyze defeats. With both endeavors I’m looking to derive the best practices that can move me forward with greater productivity and passion in the future.

As I’m sure it did with you, 2014 provided me with some ups and downs. So in what has become an annually ritual on Luke1428, I’m highlighting three big victories and three big disappointments from this past year.

Hail to the Victors

“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory.” – George S. Patton

If you’ve been a regular reader of my blog throughout the year, these three victories should come as no surprise:

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Starting a Small Business in 2015

One of my goals for 2015 is starting a small business. I’ve been thinking about this for some time now and believe I have an idea that’s worth pursuing. It does relate to writing and blogging so I do have some experience in figuring out how this venture can turn out to be profitable.

starting a small businessNeedless to say though, when starting a small business there is so much to plan for. One can’t be whipped up in a night. While this won’t be an exhaustive list of everything that must be considered, here are the top five things I’ve been thinking through lately.

Pursuing an idea or passion that fills a need

Ideas are a dime a dozen. The light bulb goes off on a new one every day. But does a small town with five pizza stores really need another one? Probably not, unless there is a unique angle to it that differentiates from the others. You will have a hard time getting started let alone succeeding in a town filled with so much competition.

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An Audacious Goal Recap: What Bloggers Learned From Writing For 31 Days

writing on paperAfter hearing Jeff Goins speak at FinCon in September I became inspired to push myself as a writer. So I embarked on a challenge for the month of October where I would write 500 words a day for 31 straight days. This isn’t unique to me as there are similar writing challenges being promoted around the web at certain times of the year. But I thought I’d give it a go to see what I could learn and accomplish.

I encouraged some of my blogging friends to join me. To my surprise 19 signed on. So 20 of us set out to encourage one another and see how much we could write in October. Here is how it went and here is what we learned.

What I Learned From Writing For 31 Days

I successfully completed the challenge, writing 500 words a day for 31 straight days. The fewest words I wrote was 501 (think that was when I was sick) and the latest in the day I finished a writing assignment was 11:30 p.m. (almost missed that day).

This challenge drove home several points for me:

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I’m Sick But Still Writing Only Because I Set a Goal

Hidden Nuggets Series #60 – “Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection…”- I Corinthians 9:26-27

words "sick day" written on sheet of paperI feel awful today. From top to bottom and places in between the body is just not working the way it’s designed. I’m this close to calling it a day and going back to bed.

Yet, here I am at 9:30 am writing a post. Why? All because of the writing challenge I chose to lead and participate in for the month of October. Thirty-one straight days of writing 500 words a day was the goal. I’m a third of the way home at the time of this writing without missing a day.

And I’m not about to let some bodily discomfort and multiple trips to the bathroom stop me now. (In fact, sickness is the one scenario that I suspected might derail my efforts when I announced the challenge. Interesting isn’t it…it’s come true.)

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Pushing Through An Identity Crisis: 31 Straight Days of Writing

Have you ever dealt with an identity crisis, not sure of who you really are?

identity crisisDo you wear multiple hats and thus stumble for the right words when people ask, “So, what do you do?”

Did this ever lead to an impasse where you weren’t quite sure how to present yourself?

I’ve been there in every form and fashion since I started writing on this blog over two years ago. At the beginning I still was teaching high school and always felt the blog writing was an add-on to any conversation. When people would ask me “What do you do?” I’d respond by saying I was a teacher and then somewhat sheepishly add how I was writing a personal finance blog on the side.

The first part about teaching people could relate to and was met with the typical follow up questions one might expect when inquiring about someone’s career. The add-on about blogging produced nothing. The statement crash landed.

The experience continued earlier this summer when I began to lead with “I’m now a stay at home dad.” Same results.

It’s hard to convince yourself you are something when nobody sees you that way. All people could see in me was teacher or stay at home dad. They didn’t see personal finance writer.

I’ve come to realize that wasn’t anyone’s fault but my own. You are who you say you are. People will follow your lead and respond accordingly.

Identity Crisis: Turn Pro In Your Mind

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