Tuesday, September 04, 2012

A Scoreboard for Success

Much like the above scoreboard can help clarify the story of a game, who's winning, and why; our goals and our progress toward them need clarity also.

We've all heard the expression, "there are thinkers and doers" or "there are dreamers and doers". What these sayings are really getting at is that some people achieve things, and others talk about things.

Furthermore, some people work hard but lack direction, and they may quit before reaching their goal. Others may have the plan and the foresight, but lack the motivation to get started or the gumption to see their goals all the way to the finish.

Let's see a practical example then, of how creating your own scoreboard can work to help you achieve the goals most important to you.

1. Own a home

This is a goal a great many of us share or at least did at one time in our lives. The simplest scoreboard is;

Do you own a home?
A) Yes.
B) No.

That is not altogether helpful, so let's dive a little deeper. You're 25 years old, and have no money saved. You'd like to own a home by your 30th birthday. For simplicity's sake, let's say your average income for the next 5 years is $50,000.

Your goal now has a tangible result, a timeline, and certainly can be very realistic.

Main scoreboard: Own a home by 30
Supportive metrics throughout your journey:
a) amount saved for downpayment
b) estimated house price
c) time left until 30th birthday
d) amount needed to contribute monthly
Time-sensitive metrics:
e) homes/ open houses visited
f) top 3 homes pro/ con list

With a 'scoreboard' like this, you can visualize the attainmnet of your goal, you are held accountable to it, and you can make adjustments if you fall off of the plan.

It would be great if you save $200 a month the entire 5 years, thus ammassing $12,000 as a deposit which could easily become over $15,000 if invested in a reasonably performing mutual fund or tax-free savings vehicle. $15,000 would allow 10% down on an apartment in many cities, or even 5% down in more expensive markets like Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, or New York.

If you fall of that plan in year 2 because of say, an unexpected auto expense, regular reviews of your scorecard can allow you to catch up, adjust your monthly amount invested, or worst case scenario, push back your purchase date.

The fact is, without a scorecard, and without the discpline to review your Key Performance Indicators (KPI's), many people abandon their goal at the first sign of adversity.

If your goal is truly important to you, then your purpose should remain rock-steady.
If you set yourself up for success through effective goal setting and planning, then your direction & progress towards your purpose should be obvious.
When you combine these successful habits with the 3rd habit of regular progress checks and revision of your overall system, you are all but guaranteed success.

The 4th habit of successful goal setting and planning to remember is that if this system helped you own a house by 30, it can also help you lose weight, get that job you are longing for, or acheive just about anything else your heart desires and your mind can dream up.

It's not easy, but it can be simple.

No comments: