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The Secret to Having the Best Year of Your Life

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all of you.

For those of you who are thinking of having a New Year resolution, this is the blog post for you.

For years and years, my New Year resolution was to lose 10lbs by the end of that year. I picked 10lbs because I thought that I could start with losing only 10lbs and then I could lose another 10lbs the next year after.

I picked a number I liked to see on the scale based on conventional thinking (influenced so much by what defined beauty these days) of what my weight should be and then I went from there.

Of course, this resolution never came true. I would be lucky if I didn’t gain any weight from the beginning of the year.

Spent Saturday morning helping out at the Hamilton Basket Brigade for Christmas with the entire family. We had achieved a new height of feeding an overall total of 1,000 families in the last two years!

As you can tell, this New Year resolution thing that everybody does is pretty weak.

If you are a bit more serious, the next step up is called “goal setting”.

High paying business coaches often tell you that writing down your goal at the beginning of the year will make it much more likely for you to achieve your goal at the end of the year.

If you look at your goal every day in the morning, it makes it even more likely for you to achieve them.

For more sophisticated goal setting exercise, they ask you to visualize what you would like your life to be in 20 years from now. You then break down the steps that are required in small chunks and implement them systematically.

They also teach us to do SMART goals, Specific, Measurable, Agreed upon, Realistic, Time-based.

In my example, my SMART goal to lose weight can be – lose 10lbs by the end of 2017. But if I only weight 100lbs to begin with and I am only 5’3”, losing 10lbs may not be very realistic.

Another example, I can set a goal to make $1million gross income by the end of 2017. It is specific, measurable and time-based, but I am actually not sure if it is realistic and agreed upon, given that having such a crazy income goal would sacrifice my time with my kids.

But there are times that you may set goals that you genuinely believe are achievable and you try your best and you still would not be able to get it done. That’s just part of life.

Over our vacation, we came across a “new goal setting” methodology written up by Dave Dee, who’s a successful business coach.

It resonated with us very well because the entire goal setting methodology is designed based on our values.

For example, let me share some of my values here.

  • To be an excellent mother
  • To be a great wife to Erwin
  • To be happy
  • To live an active and healthy life
  • To live financially free
  • To be a good daughter and sister
  • To live a spiritual life

These are my values. But what does that mean to be an excellent and a great wife?

We have to go back and define the value, each and every single one of them.

Writing down my values and actionable steps while on the cruise.

For me, to be an excellent mother means that I spend time with my children, I ask them questions, understand them and lead them by examples.

To live financially free means that I take control of my finances, I generate enough from my properties/businesses to cover all my expenses, and support my other values.

To live a spiritual life means that I will live happily (tie to my other value) and contribute to the community I live in whenever I can.

Now that I’ve defined my values, the next step is to write down 3 actions to achieve each definition.

So for me, to live financially free means I take control of my finances, my 3 action steps I can do today is

  1. Do an annual budget and monthly budget for 2017
  2. Update and prepare our financial record and net worth calculation on a monthly basis
  3. Meet with Erwin once a month to go over our overall financial picture

For me to live a spiritual life, this means that

  1. I meditate daily
  2. I write down 3 things I am grateful for every day
  3. Challenge myself with something new every week
  4. Raise funds for Basket Brigade Charity by hosting paid accounting classes
  5. Act as the Treasurer of the Charity and prepare the accounting record for free

At the end of each month, I sit down to review all my values again. Pick a couple of the actionable items and write them down into my calendar for implementation.

(This is the charity that Erwin and I, and a bunch of friends, started two years ago. We fed over 1000 families. All the volunteers did a mannequin challenge on Dec 17. A mannequin challenge is when everyone freezes to hold the same position with a camera crew who goes around and films it all. We held our position for five minutes so that they could film us.  🙂  All the donors and volunteers made this Christmas very special for Erwin & I.  Thank you all for coming.)

The idea is to do a couple of actionable items every month. Yes, only a couple of them!

By the end of the year, you would have accomplished 24 actionable items. Some of them are new habits that you form and will be with you for the rest of your life.

I really like this method of “setting my goals” even though the quantifying aspect is limited to only one of my values, i.e. financial freedom.

To share a small success with you – I wrote down my values while I was on the cruise a couple of weeks ago.

I walked by a homeless guy on the street asking for money last Friday night. It was pretty cold that night. Normally I would simply walk past him. And I did walk past him initially.

Subconsciously (probably from writing down my value) something clicked, and I went back, pulled out my wallet and gave him some money.

It’s a small act but it was definitely resulted from me writing down and formalizing my value.

Regardless of whatever methodology you are using to set your new goals/resolutions in the New Year, the key is to have them written down.

Look at them repeatedly during the year.

Magic will happen in your head. 🙂

Until next time, happy holidays and happy Canadian Real Estate Investing.

Cherry Chan, CPA, CA

Your Real Estate Accountant

PS. For those of you who also want to give back, please sign up to volunteer next year.  We will do this all over again in Easter.

 

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