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  • Writer's pictureSteven Schoenberger

Your Best Year Ever!

If you are a client of Open Door Financial you recently received a book titled "Your Best Year Ever: A 5-Step Plan for Achieving Your Most Important Goals." If you are not a client … what are you waiting for? ;)

We sent this book to clients because we believe that a life well lived is not enhanced merely by financial planning, but by a process of reflection, goal setting, and growth in multiple areas. This book provides an excellent framework for helping the reader expand the planning process to those other life domains that are not always treated with the same level of discipline as financial planning

In fact, the book identifies 10 interrelated life domains, and provides a means for measuring and comparing them against one-another - where are we strongest and what areas have room for improvement? While Open Door cannot provide guidance in each of these areas, we pride ourselves on the financial piece of the puzzle, and want to extend an invitation to clients and non-clients, to have a conversation about each of these domains, understand how they relate to finances, and create strategies to try and improve. If you want to complete a self-assessment on these domains, you can even do so here: (Please note: (1) this sight is not affiliated with and results are not shared with Open Door Financial; and (2) you will be asked for an email to see your report.)

The book, in chapter 9, shares another message that we think is consistent with our planning philosophy and valuable for consideration in multiple financial and non-financial situations. The section titled "Growth in the Journey," is about the process of setting goals and taking risks. The book asserts "You may think that comfort leads to happiness. It doesn't. Happiness comes from growth and feeling like you are making progress." (emphasis added). This is relevant to financial planning in multiple ways, some of which we have written about before, and enjoy seeing conveyed by others.

A first reflection on this idea reveals that comfort is elusive. If we have a mindset that happiness comes from an end-state, we may end up hopeless when our goals don't bring about the happiness we are seeking, or when happiness abates, and we constantly need to move the goal posts. If, however, we shift our perspective to one of abundance, we may be able to achieve a better result. Consider what you do have, not what you are lacking. By taking this approach we learn that the initial threshold for happiness is actually much more attainable than a never achieved future state.

Second, adopt a "journey mindset." The journey mindset shifts the focus of success from the outcome of a process to the process itself. This concept illustrates why an all-star athlete is often not satisfied with merely achieving the pinnacle of the game, but rather loves competing and improving season after season. It confirms why people often add weight back after completing a diet, whereas someone who adopts better eating or exercise habits is more likely to keep it off. And, in the financial realm, provides support for adopting a lifestyle that is within one's means, rather than trying to "keep up with the Jones'" or simply getting on a saving/spending hamster wheel.

At Open Door Financial, we often start our process by talking about a destination, but we are also aware of the need to chart a path toward that destination that is enjoyable and sustainable. By thinking not just about a goal in three decades, but also the next three months, the potential to adopt a plan and achieve it is increased dramatically.

The book provides a number of templates that you can use to plan your "best year ever," but we think the four critical components for action are summarized in chapter 12. They are: Learning, Encouragement, Accountability, and Competition. For Open Door, we incorporate these ideas to educate clients about financial planning and investing. Engage with clients to provide encouragement and accountability. And finally, create plans which spur a certain level of competition (even if it is just with yourself) so you can experience wins on the journey to your ultimate financial goals.

Do you know what your journey looks like for the next 12 months? Where do you want to improve? Where do you want to focus? Starting to think seriously about these questions will set you on a path, we hope, to achieve your best year ever!

Good Luck!

-Open Door Financial

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