Personal Finance for Sports Fans – Plan for Success

March 13, 2007

Setting Goals for Success
How do basketball teams win championships? Many of them sit down together at the beginning of the season and come up with a shared goal. For some, it’s to win the conference championship. Some teams set their sites on making it to the NCAA tournament and others pick the lofty goal of winning the whole thing.

These teams use the motivation of this goal to drive them to prepare and play harder than everyone else. Some of the teams that advanced to the NCAA tournament this year did so by winning games that appeared to be lost. Even though they were exhausted or outmatched they never gave up and willed their way to victory.

Success in personal finance also begins with setting your goals. First decide what you want out of life, and then determine what your finances need to look like to get you there. Meeting your goals won’t always be easy but if you have a driving reason to achieve them you won’t give up.

Use Milestones to Your Advantage
While every basketball team would love to win a national championship any coach will tell you the first step is to win your first game. Then win your second, then your third. As a Kansas Jayhawk fan, I’ve seen the danger of looking too far down the road over the last two years as they lost to both Bradley and Bucknell in the first round of March Madness. A lack of focus on the current task can doom your future goal to failure.

The Jayhawks have done a pretty good job of taking things one step at a time this season. First they became regular season champs with the best record in the Big 12 and then they won the conference tournament. We’ll see what the remainder of March holds for them.

Whether your goal is to get out of credit card debt or to build a million dollar portfolio, you have to do it one dollar at a time. Either task can prove to be a long road. Make the journey easier by breaking it up into bite size chunks called milestones. Set small, achievable milestones with short time frames such as a day or a week. As you achieve these goals your confidence and momentum will grow. When you have a bad day, don’t be discouraged, instead look back over all of your triumphs and they will surely outweigh the recent downturn.

Think about Lance Armstrong. He didn’t ride the whole Tour de France in one day. He won it one stage at a time. Some days he wore the yellow jersey, some days he crashed and burned. If Armstrong could win the Tour de France seven different times by taking it one stage at a time, surely we can pay off our debt or build our net worth taking the same approach.

Check out the other articles in the series Personal Finance for Sports Fans


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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