January 18, 2024 by Dymphna

Make money a tool not a target this year

How to set yourself up for the year.

So… 2024. Strap yourselves in, here we go.

Now, I tend to think that in some ways, these are the most important weeks of the year right now. Now that the Christmas craziness is behind us, and before all the craziness of the year really begins, there is a small window of opportunity to map out our course and to set ourselves up for the year ahead.

If you haven’t charted out your goals for 2024 already, then now is the time to pull the finger out and get going.

But when I’m talking about goal setting, I’m not talking about New Year’s resolutions.

In fact, by and large, I think New Year’s Resolutions tend to be a bit of fluff at best, and a dangerous distraction at worst.

Goal setting should be a constant process of experimentation, testing and calibration.

It’s not something you do once a year between mince pies and a glass of Brandy. It’s something that should inform every week of your year.

Now I’ve talked a lot about goal setting before, but one thing I wanted to look at today what’s the difference between targets and tools.

Let’s say for example that you set yourself the goal of earning an extra $80,000 this year.

It’s a SMART goal. It’s specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound.

So that’s great. But why do you want an extra $80,000 this year?

Some people will know exactly what they’ll do with an extra $80,000. They’ll have budgeted it out already. It’s part of their twenty-year plan.

But most people just want to have a bit more money because they have a vague sense that most of the problems in their life would probably just go away if they had some fat stacks of cash.

And it’s true. Money does tend to fix most problems, or at least remove their sting.

But money is the tool here, not the target.

And the danger here – well it’s not really a danger. No one ever got into trouble through having more money. But maybe the trap here is that if we focus on money as a tool we stop digging. We stop that process of inquiry that helps us understand what our needs truly are.

Do we need more money so we can move the family into a bigger house?

Do we need more money so we can repair our relationships to our loved ones?

Or do we need more money because we have status anxiety, and we just can’t believe that anyone could love us for who we truly are?

(Tell me about your relationship to your mother, Dymphna.)

So digging that little bit deeper will help us understand if money is the tool we actually need or not.

It will also help us understand If there might be better strategies for meeting our needs. Do we need more cash to help us feel better about our status in the world, or do we just need half a dozen carefully chosen affirmations?

And I get it. Life is busy. We don’t have the time to do that digging. It’s tempting to think I just need more cash and leave it at that.

But money is a tool not a target.

And if it’s one thing I would recommend to people in these crucial weeks of the year, it’s to dig past the tools and check in with your targets.

That’s how to get your path this year into full alignment.