3 Ways to Make Your Financial Ideas Happen

by Jason on February 29, 2012

I just read an excellent book called Making Ideas Happen.

Author Scott Belsky, who started the Behance Network, puts years of research into book form on why people with great ideas rarely act upon them.

One of the simplest, yet most profound things that Belsky says is that “If you want to make ideas happen, you need to have a process to do so.”

How many of us have ideas of what we’d like to accomplish financially in our minds, yet we lack the process to make it happen?  I know I do.

Ideas in our heads, however great they may be, are worth less than ideas in action.

Here are three ways to help you put some wheels behind your ideas for financial improvement:

1.    Break Projects into Primary Elements

Belsky says, “Everything is a project”.  His point is that unless you put an action verb behind your idea, you won’t follow through as often.

We need to start viewing our goals, our To Do’s, and our ideas into three categories, or primary elements and break them down even further from there.

  • Action Steps – These are directions that begin with action verbs.  For example, “Create a list of financial goals”, or “Open a Roth IRA and begin saving $250 monthly.”
  • References – These are any type of reference items that you may want to refer to at a later date.  For example, you may have a Reference folder that includes a post on Roth IRAs.
  • Backburner – These are things that you want to remember for the future, but are not likely to take action now. For example, you may have a Backburner item entitled Investment Real Estate since you may want to look into this in the future, but are simply not ready to do so now.

 2.   Keep Moving the Ball Forward

Belsky says that “Constant motion is the key to execution.”  What he means is we need to continue to ask ourselves, “What’s next?”  This helps keep the progress moving forward.

Identifying each action step that needs to be taken in a certain project will help you know where you stand and will help you measure progress.

For example, you may have a Project called Roth IRA.  Within that project, you will have a number of action steps that need to be completed, which might include Research Roth IRA advantages, Open Roth IRA online, Research investment ideas, and Begin saving $250 monthly into new Roth IRA. 

If you break it down with each step and create a task for each one, you are more likely to follow through than if you only had one task listed that said “Open a Roth IRA”.

3.    Remember that Progress Begets Progress

A great point that Belsky makes is that progress produces progress.  In other words, the more quick wins you can make along with celebrating those little victories, the more likely you are to continue working toward project completion.

We need to really celebrate the steps completed.  Let’s use our Roth IRA goal as an example.

After you complete those steps I listed above, you should celebrate.  Go out for dinner, buy a new book, or have some friends over to have a Roth party!  These things make reaching our goals and acting on our ideas much more enjoyable.

If something is drudgery, we will likely procrastinate.

So implement these steps and start making your financial ideas happen!

What financial ideas do you have that you’d like to make happen?

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