An idea reaches its "tipping point"—where momentum carries the idea, product or new craze to take off. Think zero to hero overnight. In reality though, it's never that simple—virtually nothing is overnight. Hours of thought, work and care go into taking any concept from an idea to actual success.
The same can be said for your financial life.
Begin with an idea. Maybe, "I'd like to be free from financial worry" or "I'd like to have choices in my life that only financial security can provide." These are simple statements with a focus on a valued outcome. What brings the idea from concept stage to reality is more than just saying it. Words like commitment, discipline, choices and sacrifice come to mind.
As author Terry Pratchett says: "If you do not know where you come from, then you don't know where you are, and if you don't know where you are, then you don't know where you're going. And if you don't know where you're going, you're probably going wrong."
Let that sink in a minute.
Getting your finances into viral mode means you have a plan of action combined with the willingness and desire to build momentum toward success. It means you have put thought into action and are actively making decisions that bring you closer to your desired outcomes. Let's break it down:
- Like everything else, you need to define why your dream is so darned important. Until you get that solved, you are likely going nowhere fast.
- Now that you know WHY, get a handle on your NOW. Kenny Rogers had a hit song "Just Dropped In To See What Condition My Condition Was In." What condition is your condition in?
- If you're like most people, your condition needs anywhere from a little cleaning up to a major overhaul. Now is the time to be factual. No excuses, just the facts.
- Assess your Money Mindset. How do you think about money? Is it a tool to accomplish your goal? Is it a burden? Do you associate money with problems? Do you see money as a way of obtaining security?
- If money is a struggle, get help. Whether it's a counselor, therapist, coach or planner, work with someone who can assist you in helping you get on the right path.
- Once you are on the right path, acknowledge the habits that are aligned with your end desires and keep doing them. For example, if you are adding to your wealth by creating automatic investments, then keep doing it AND see where you can increase your contributions. If you are eliminating debt by making a payment every time you get paid, keep going and look for areas where you can cut your spending to increase your paydown.
- Appreciate your progress. While the big goals are there, each step forward is a reason to feel really good about your progress.
- Reaching viral status means consistently making decisions that make a difference. Each success breeds the next success until you've built meaningful momentum.
- Bumps in the road are normal. Setbacks, mistakes and the unexpected happen. Think of being on a diet and being really disciplined and losing ten pounds. Then you meet a cookie that lures you into its delicious trap and you fall in. That doesn't mean you've failed, it just means that tomorrow is a new opportunity to reset your plan. It's the same with your money. You might have a slip, but only you can pick yourself up and get back on track.
Imagine yourself in viral mode. You are happy with your plan, your actions and the outcomes most important to you in your life. Now keep that image firmly in your head and use it as fuel to get started on making your dreams your new reality.