Click below to listen to Episode 91 – Setting Goals and Living Life with Purpose in 2021

Setting Goals and Living Life with Purpose in 2021

Write down your 2021 goals to help you find purpose this year.

What are your goals for 2021? Bob and Bailey share 21 personal and financial goals, in no particular order of importance, that are ideas for goal setting for 2021. From eating healthier to creating an estate plan, these are ideas for everyone!

Did you know that, according to a Harvard Business School study, 83% of the population does not have any clearly defined goals much less financial, 14% have goals but they never write them down, and only 3% have goals that are actually written down! Writing down your goals makes it more likely that they will be achieved. It doesn’t have to be 21 goals, but maybe 5-6.

When you do write down your goals, think of the acronym SMAC. Make your goals:

Specific to you personally. Not what someone else wants.
Measurable so that you can see progress along the way
Achievable so that it is possible to reasonably reach your goals
Compatible with your values and beliefs

HOSTED BY: Bob Barber, CWS®, CKA®
CO-HOST: Bailey Theaker

Mentioned In This Episode

Christian Financial Advisors
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Bob Barber, CWS®, CKA®
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Bailey Theaker
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EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

[INTRODUCTION]

Welcome to “Christian Financial Perspectives”, where you’re invited to gain insight, wisdom and knowledge about how Christians integrate their faith, life and finances with a Biblical Worldview. Here’s your host Christian Investment Advisor, Financial Planner, and Coach, Bob Barber.

Bob:
So, welcome to our first podcast of 2021. Bailey, I am amazed we made it through 2020. COVID and all that crazy stuff. And you know what? This is our 91st podcast. Now, can you believe that we have that many podcasts? I tell you every subject you can possibly imagine from buying a car to buying a house to how much you should put in your 401k to the different stages of life planning. We’ve done it all. And if you are just listening and today’s your first time, go back because there’s so much good information, good education for you. But we like to start off each podcast with a scripture. So, go ahead and read it.

Bailey:
We do. It’s Philippians 3:14 and it says, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.”

Bob:
Hey, there’s a word in there that has to do with today’s podcast. Which word is that?

Bailey:
Goal.

Bob:
Yes. Yeah, we’re going to talk about goals today, and I want 2021 for me, for you, and everyone that’s listening to us. I want 2021 to be a year of living life on purpose. Seize the day and make this a good year, the best year ever. So many of us are, like you say, we just kind of want to be done with 2020. That was just a crazy year not just with COVID, but all the wildfires. I remember when we went up to Colorado in August like we always do, and we couldn’t get out of the condo cause everything was on fire and the smoke in the air. And it was like, yeah, this is kind of on par for 2020. So, I’m really looking forward to this year of 2021. I love that scripture, “Press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” God is calling us to live this life on purpose. Genesis 2:15 is another scripture I like. It says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden to work it and take care of it.” That is also saying we’re not put here just to coast through life, but to work it and take care of it. Like I say, with this being the first podcast of 2021, I thought today is going to be a good time for the subject “living life on purpose”. And we’re going to talk about setting goals, setting lots of goals. Think about this now. Everyone might not relate to this, but me I’m such a goal setter. I just thought, well, okay, it’s 2021. Let’s set 21 goals. And as it started getting into me and I started thinking about this, I actually came up with more than 21 goals. So, we’re going to share more than that with you today, but you don’t have to pick all 21. I just want you to listen and glean off. Take five or six of these, maybe, for yourself. And there’s every kind of goal you can imagine from financial to personal to spiritual goals. They’re all kind of mixed in there.

Bailey:
Yeah, I think it’s exciting to do this kind of thing because one way to look at it is that it’s goals that you’re setting for yourself. But another way is to say we’re kind of dreaming. We’re dreaming about the possibilities that are available just this next year. And if there’s anything we’ve learned in 2020 it’s that things might not always look the same. And so, maybe take advantage of the day that you’re in today because it might not look that way tomorrow. You might not have the same things available to you tomorrow. It might look completely different. So, live today intentionally. This is kind of a space to dream about what that could look like.

Bob:
The word that you said intentional, to live the day intentionally. I shared this in our last newsletter, and I want to want to share this as we get to talking about goals. And it’s an old study I heard from many years ago by Harvard, and it was from their Harvard Business School, and it said that that 83% of the population doesn’t have any goals, any clearly defined goals. I find that sad. It’s just kind of like walking around in a maze. You don’t know where you’re going. 14% of the population does have goals, but they never write them down. 3% of the population though, in this study that they did, has no goals, and they write them down. That’s the key is writing the goals down. What’s interesting is is they went back and they studied the people that wrote down their goals and they found they were earning 10 times more than the 83% of the group that didn’t have any goals. They’re earning that much more money. And in addition, the studies showed that individuals with written goals also tend to be healthier and have a happier life, happier marriages, than those without goals. So, it’s definitely worth it as we’re here at the beginning of the year. So, it’s a new start. Think of 2021 is a new start, a fresh start, to write down your goals. And I use kind of a formula, and I’ve been using this for years and years and years. I got it over here in my briefcase, I meant to pull it out before we started the podcast, but I’ll reach over here while you’re talking and grab them out. I’ve got my goals laminated, and I pulled out one just before I came over here to make the recording for today’s podcast. It was from 2010, and I looked at all those goals and I’ve hit them all, every single one of them. But when you’re setting goals, I want you to think of this acronym of SMAC, S-M-A-C, and the S means specific. Make it specific to you personally, not what someone else wants. It needs to be your goal. Measurable, make a goal that you can see progress along the way. Like one of these goals is going to be to put less food on my plate. That has to do with losing weight. So, I can measure that. I can easily measure that by not getting on the scale every day, but once a week. I can measure that and see that my weight is dropping. Or, when you’re saving, you can measure that and see your savings going up and being specific with that. It may not be reasonable for you, Bailey, to save a $1000 a month towards cash reserves, but maybe it’s reasonable to save $50 a month. So, you’ve got to make that to you. Achievable was another one, that’s the A in SMAC. So make it achievable, aiming high is good, but not so high that it’s impossible to reach that goal. And then it’s got to be compatible. Your goals need to be compatible with your values and beliefs. So, by being specific with your goals over the years and putting them in writing, like I said, I’ve reached nearly 100% of them over time. I’ll show you this form here, and we’re going to go over the form that I’ve got here at the end. And we’re going to make this available on the podcast website on christianfinancialpodcast.com. And you can go to that.

Bailey:
About writing down your goals, it reminded me of this quote that a pastor of ours used to say all the time, which is the faintest ink is more powerful than the strongest memory. And his point was that you should always write things down. And when you think that it’s just going to stick in your brain and “oh, I’ll remember that later” when it comes to every area of your life – when it comes to memorizing scripture or making goals or anything like that, the faintest ink is actually stronger than the strongest memory that you could possibly have.

Bob:
That’s interesting. Say that one more time. Just that the thing…?

Bailey:
The faintest ink is stronger than the strongest memory.

Bob:
Okay. That’s very interesting how that phrases that.

Bailey:
Yeah! So, I think you can set goals in every area of your life, from financial goals to physical goals, to spiritual or relationship goals. You can put them in every area of your life, and you get to pick which goals you might want to adopt for yourself in 2021 and which ones you don’t really care for and don’t really fit you. And so they do get to be specific for you. So here we go, we’re going to go through 21 possible goals that you could have. And like we said, maybe they fit you. Maybe they don’t, maybe they inspire you to dream up some new goals for yourself. But the first one, and this is a big one for me personally, would be to pay off some more debt this year. I think all of us could stomach paying off a little more debt. And so for me, it’s going to be buying less non-essential things, specifically eating out. I think I spend a lot of my money on eating out. And so, spending less on that and putting that money towards paying off debt.

Bob:
Yeah. it’s amazing what you can spend on eating out. It’s amazing what people just spend on coffee, coffee alone. A lot of people spend $4 or $5 a day, and they’re doing that, out of 365 days, maybe they’re doing that 300 days. And if you’re spending $5 times 300, that’s $1,500 that you’re spending on coffee when you could probably buy enough coffee from the grocery store to do the same thing for maybe a $100.

Bailey:
Probably better coffee.

Bob:
Yeah, my wife has, what is it called? You’ve seen it at our house. She pours it over. She’s got the container and she puts the coffee in there. She pours the hot water right over, and it’s so good. I mean, it’s amazing. So, that is a great goal to pay off that debt, eat out less. And that will give you the extra money to pay off that debt. This is one of mine. It always is. I guess, at 58 years old the metabolism slows down, and I need to lose some weight. So I say, okay, how am I going to do that? I’m gonna lose some weight by putting less food on my plate. My wife is such an amazing cook and she cooks three meals a day from scratch. I find myself going back two and three times. So, I need to quit doing that. And we’ll talk to Rachael about that. Fix less.

Bailey:
Fix less food. Yeah. Well, and in line with paying off more debt for me, I think it’d be helpful to not add more debt in addition to that that I have to pay off. And so, I’m setting the goal of cutting all unnecessary spending on our credit card, to just stop putting things that we don’t need to on it and adding to the debt that we have to pay off. And number 4 would be well, I’m a reader. And a lot of times I read books that I kind of call junk food books or junk food reads. They’re not helpful. They’re not great reads. I just read them just to kind of take up the time. I would like to spend a little more time reading books that are actually positive and good for me rather than ones that either have no effect or have somewhat of a negative effect.

Bob:
Yeah. “The Purpose Driven Life” is one of my favorite books. It’s from a long time ago by Rick Warren, but that’s a good one to read. Have you read it before?

Bailey:
Yeah. That’s a great book. And then you mentioned this before, but to stop buying overpriced coffee. I mean, we have a pour over, too, at our house and we want to get a chemex, which is the same thing, just bigger, and you can make really good coffee at home. I usually buy coffee on the way to work because it’s convenient. But I think there’s something to be said about taking a little bit longer to move through the morning slowly and do things like that with intentionality. I think that’s a good goal.

Bob:
So what are you going to do with that savings? You’re going to pay off debt and other things that some people can do if they don’t have as much debt, they can invest it, invest those dollars or give away the savings to those in need. And what’s interesting when you say that about the coffee. I’m not so sure if it’s more convenient. I think it’s more convenient to make it at home. We have the pot that you just have the water in it. I mean, it takes literally less than 30 seconds to put some water in it, fill it up, turn it on. I wait for it to get to the boiling point then do the pour over. The total time in that is about four minutes or five minutes. I see these lines at these coffee drive-throughs and it looks like people are waiting in those lines for 15 or 20 minutes sometimes. So I’m not so sure if that’s really convenient or not. I think you can spend your time better. Here’s one of my goals. I think this is one that we could all relate to is limit our smartphone usage to no more than an hour a day. There’s just so many more productive things you can do than just look at your phone. We’ve become a society where we walk around looking at our phone all the time. So, that’s going to be one of my goals.

Bailey:
And not spending as much time on your phone, they have studies that prove that that actually just makes you more productive as a person. Like it makes your brain work better.

Bob:
You also sleep better. Oh boy, that’s a big one for me, watch less negative news and more Andy Griffith. Look at life from the perspective of it’s always half full instead of half empty. I’ll tell you, the news can be so negative and that will get into your soul. I have some relatives that I’ll go see them and I mean, Fox News is on all the time. They’re even watching it until 10 at night. And I’m thinking, okay, this is so depressing to watch this after awhile, especially with all what was going on last year and we had all the riots and everything. Turn that stuff off. It’s not helping your inner soul at all. I mean, I’m not saying to completely bury your head in the sand, but it doesn’t need to be on more than an hour a day at the very most.

Bailey:
Sure. Goal 8 eight would be building more cash reserves for emergencies and unexpected expenses. I know that we could all use a little more cash reserves.

Bob:
Yeah. When that air conditioner breaks, you shouldn’t have to go to your investment portfolio or go to your credit cards. You should have enough in your cash reserves, in your savings account, to be able to pay for that.

Bailey:
Number 9 would be finish getting that bachelor’s degree or master’s degree or doctorate degree that you started on years ago. Or maybe, go to school for the first time. Maybe it’s something you’ve been considering. Take the leap.

Bob:
That’s a good goal. Yep. so many people have started on their bachelor’s. They never finished it. Maybe they’ve got three years and they’ve just got one year to go or get that Master’s. We were just talking. One of our clients just yesterday, I think 52-53 years old and is getting their master’s degree. I’m like, wow, that’s great. You wouldn’t think at that point in life you would want to do that. But I think it’s fantastic. It’s never too late.

Bailey:
My husband, he got a couple of credits when he was 18 and when he graduated high school and didn’t finish, and this year he’s almost 30 and he’s going back to school. He’s going to seminary because he’s found something that he really loves and he’s passionate about. And so he’s kind of picking it back up and he’s going to finish it.

Bob:
That’s a great goal. That is a fantastic goal.

Bailey:
Another great goal would be to set the standard for yourself, to wait at like 48 to 72 hours before buying big new stuff. Don’t allow emotions to make all your financial decisions. But to kind of say, if I’m thinking about making a decision, I’m going to wait. I’m going to wait two to three days before I make that purchase.

Bob:
Now, if you’re going to buy a car, they’re going to hate you when you say that. But it’s interesting. I’ve got a five-year old Ford Explorer. It’s getting close to the 100,000 mile mark. I get that new car itch, but I’ve gone and looked at several and I see the prices of cars. And every one of them they’re like, well, we can make this deal today. I was like, no, you’re talking to a guy that makes a financial podcast. I’m not going to let my emotions get involved. And it’s interesting. The two or three I’ve gone and looked at, I’ve allowed three or four days to really get in and settle down. And man, I think I’m going to be good with my Explorer for maybe another 100,000 miles. I go out and look at it, it’s in good shape. I mean, why not? Maybe I can go five more years, make it a 10 year old car. I think about what’s the reason for buying a new car? So I think about that car, and is it really a need or is it just a want? So by waiting several days, those emotions calm down and you get away from that. Here’s another goal that’s interesting that comes along here. This is a financial goal that I see for a lot of people. I want you to think about setting a goal this year of maybe getting a life insurance policy if you’re younger and you’re a breadwinner or increasing the coverage on the one that you do have, because I see this more times than not. I’ll see the life insurance policy strictly to cover maybe one year of income if the income winner were to get in a terrible accident and were to take their life. Unfortunately, I’ve been in the business so long that I’ve seen lives taken by car accidents and sickness. I want you to make it a goal for many of you to go look at your life insurance policy and see how much you got and how much would it cost for you to increase that to at least 10 times your income. Because think if something happened to you and you have younger children, you want to be able to provide a financial stipend for them for at least 10 years. So, I think that’s a good goal for this year.

Bailey:
Absolutely. And kind of in line with that would be just kind of getting things in order, just in case. Updating your will, a medical power of attorney. Getting those things, if you don’t have them, setting them up, but not to live in fear, but just to walk in wisdom that life is happening all around you and things happen and life changes. You want to prepare so that the people around you are taken care of.

Bob:
That is a really good goal. About 80% of the population does not have a will at all. So, we have here to update the will, but a lot of them don’t we have a will. So, I would make that a goal this year, too, to get a will and a medical power of attorney. I mean something, if you were to get in a bad accident, you need to be able to tell people what you want done to you and a durable power of attorney, which has to do with the financial decisions, being able to be made by your spouse, or if you’re not married, like we have those power of attorneys for our youngest daughter because she’s not married so we can help make decisions if something were to happen to her. We just actually updated that this last year. Boy, this is a big one. Go get a complete physical and screening. Make that a goal ASAP and every few years after that, and get that physical of your lungs, your heart, your colon, prostate for men, and breasts for women, because remember the five deadliest cancers today is prostate cancer for men, breast cancer for women, pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, and lung cancer. And as long as you’re getting those physicals and you find it at the beginning stages at stage one, you have such better odds than procrastinating to get that physical of all those different areas. I just had a complete heart exam, and that doctor was so excited. She says, I think you’ve got about another 40 years left on you. I was like, I’m 58. It means I’m going to 98. She said, you can go do P90X all you want. Your heart’s in perfect condition. But I had a complete heart exam. Y’all know around here, it took a couple of times. I did a complete nuclear stress test and they did the ultrasound and everything of my heart, but it all came out good. I feel good about that. I’m exercising harder and I’m noticing my breathing is getting better. So important to make that a goal if you’ve not had a complete physical in at least, if it’s been two or three years, it’s too long,

Bailey:
And doesn’t it feel good once you just get those things done and you kinda know where they’re all at? You did it. It’s done.

Bob:
Exactly. And if there is something you find, unfortunately, like you say, get it at the beginning stages. Rachael was a cancer survivor. If we’d done some more screenings, we would have caught it much faster. And she’s fine now. But we’d gotten to nearly stage three. And next, start putting money in a retirement plan, like a 401k or IRA if you’re not doing that, or increase your contributions a little bit if you already are. That’s a great goal.

Bailey:
And we had talked about this a little bit earlier, setting a goal to wait two to three days before making major decisions. But I think you could increase that even to a week or two for really large purchases like cars or boats, or just really expensive items that you’re looking at. Why don’t you just wait? Wait a week. Wait two weeks and see how you feel after that. It might be a very different story after that two week waiting period.

Bob:
I noticed the next step kind of goes with this, doesn’t it?

Bailey:
Yeah. To create a detailed monthly budget and then try to stick to it. Something that I think most of us try to do at the beginning of every year is make that new budget and try and stick to it. And that is a goal to be reckoned with. I would love to do that.

Bob:
Yeah. So by waiting, you can go back and look at your budget and think, okay, can my budget really take this large purchase that we’re looking at? Maybe it’s a car. Maybe it’s a new house, or maybe even it’s a vacation that you really want to do, but you can’t afford it. So, do a staycation, lots of nice parks around here. Oh, we’re going to talk about that one later, too. You know what? We’re at goal number 17 now. And so, if any of these kind of stuck with you and you’re like, “Hey, I want to make that one of my goals.” Again, we’re going to put this entire script on our website and you can just go through it and see all these written out. I think this is such a worthy goal is to spend more time in prayer for 2021 and reading the Bible, because God’s word is so full of wisdom. I think all of us can use this. We’ve gotten so caught up and we’re just so busy that I am guilty of not spending enough time in prayer and reading my Bible enough. I’ve always put this as one of my goals every year. It just pretty much automatically goes in to remind me to read God’s word daily. Along with the daily thing, too, is exercise daily. It’s easy to procrastinate on this. And this is a great goal. This is always one of my goals to exercise for at least 30 to 60 minutes a day. That might be just taking an outdoor walk or just doing some old-fashioned calisthenics like pushups, sit ups, and jumping jacks. Those are old-fashioned. You don’t have to go to a gym that you have to drive to that’s 15 to 30 minutes away. You can do that right in your own living room floor or just outside in your backyard. But it’s so important that you do that. You’re going to feel the difference in your life with the amount of energy you have and it’s going to help you be so much more healthy.

Bailey:
Goal number 19 would be to volunteer more often, whether that’s in a charity or in your local church body to find a place to serve and do that more. I mean, it’s kind of in line with doing a physical or getting those things done. It just, it feels good. It’s good for your soul. It’s good for your community. It’s good for everyone. It benefits everyone. And so, find a place to serve. Find a place where you can regularly say, this is not all about me. And I’m going to serve the people around me.

Bob:
You know what that does, too? It releases the bondage that all of us have, and that is a bondage of selfishness. So when we’re helping and volunteering with charities and giving more, that releases that bondage. It’s makes us more Christ-like. He came here to serve, not to be served.

Bailey:
Good. Yeah. Goal number 20 would be to focus on the positives of life and not the negatives. One of my favorite ways to do this is I have this journal that I call my “ever be journal” because there’s a song that says your praise will ever be on my lips. And so it’s my ever be journal. It’s a journal that I fill with reasons that I should praise God, the reasons that his praise will ever be on my lips. And so if you could start jotting down the positives of life, the things that we have to be grateful for, rather than focusing on the negatives, I think that would be a helpful goal. And then goal number 21 would be to spend more time with the people you love.

Bob:
So there’s 21. Do you notice it keeps going? So I’m going to go through some of these last eight or nine, because I started listing these down, and I was amazed at how many goals I could come up with. I could have continued to go, but there is just a few more. So, we’re going to go through these pretty quickly. Put others’ needs before my own. Again, that’s Christ-like. Listen to positive uplifting music. Here we go. This is speaking directly to me. If you’re a workaholic, I am. Work less, and play more. There’s an old saying, and I’ve heard many pastors say this. I’ve never met a person on their death bed that said they wished they had worked more, but they always say, I wish I’d spent more time with my family, more time reading the word of God, more time serving, and helping others.

Bailey:
Well, number 25 would be do special acts of kindness for someone at least once a week like taking them some food or flowers. I love to write people cards. And so I’ll drop those in the mail pretty regularly. And goal number 26 would be get outside of your comfort zone. Go do something that you wouldn’t normally do.

Bob:
Number 27, and we were down to just a few more, buy that state or national park pass and go visit one every few weeks and enjoy God’s outdoor creation. He created it for us to enjoy. Go enjoy it. And there’s so many beautiful state parks around the entire nation and national parks. Rachael and I, we buy a state park pass, an annual pass, and we just go visit parks all the time. And many of them, we’ll go back to four and five times because just so many of them have lakes and trails and hiking trails. They’re just beautiful, and you can buy a state park pass. I don’t know what we pay, Rachael does it, but I think it’s like a hundred dollars. But when you think about that, you’re going to visiting it throughout the whole year. It’s pretty cheap entertainment, and it’s a great way to get out and enjoy life. Plant some flowers or vegetables, tend to them weekly, and watch them grow. I planted a bunch of flowers in my front yard this last year. It’s a row of them, and you can see them as you go up. They’re just really high now. And it’s been amazing to watch that go from just three or four flowers. I planted about 20 different ones, and they’re all over the place. And now all 20 of them have 20 flowers. It’s just gorgeous as you walk up our sidewalk to our house. And it’s been fun to watch that.

Bailey:
Sure. I love that. And goal number 29, which is our last goal on our list, would be to finish some projects that you’ve already started in the last few years. I know I have about a million DIY projects that are about half finished, and I ran into a spot where I just felt like I couldn’t move on. I think I’m just going to tie them up. I’m going to finish them up. And again, it feels good to finish something you started. And so, pick those back up, finish them up.

Bob:
Well, I hope we helped motivate you today with setting goals for 2021. We’ll put this on our podcast website. Again, I have a goals form that I use and you notice, Bailey, how I’ve got spiritually what I want to do and what I will do to accomplish the goal. I write that in there – physically, financially, relationally, mentally, and professionally. These are how I piece all these together. And all of these goals that we mentioned today will fit within one of these categories. We talked about spiritual and physical and financial and relational and mentally and professionally. I want you to still remember that the Harvard study we talked about at the beginning of the podcast, it’s so important that the 3% that have written goals were earning an astounding 10 times more than 83% of people that didn’t have any goals at all. Similar studies have shown that individuals with written goals tend to have better health and happier marriages than those without goals. I hope we’ve motivated you today to live life on purpose in 2021, not a life of mediocrity, but one on purpose. Talk to you in a few weeks.

[CONCLUSION]

That’s all for now.

We invite you to listen to all of our past episodes covering many financial topics from a Christian Perspective. To make sure you don’t miss any of Bob’s upcoming episodes you can subscribe to Christian Financial Perspectives on iTunes, Google Play Music, Spotify, or Stitcher. To learn more about integrating your faith with your finances, visit ciswealth.com or call 830-609-6986.

[DISCLOSURES]

Investment advisory services offered through Christian Investment Advisors Inc. DBA Christian Financial Advisors, a registered investment advisor. Comments from today’s show are for informational purposes only and not to be considered investment advice or recommendations to buy or sell any company that may have been mentioned or discussed. The opinions expressed are solely those of the host, Bob Barber. Bob does not provide tax advice and encourages you to seek guidance from a tax professional.