Jumpstart your Goals with Financial Reflection
Winston Churchill once said, “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” When it comes to our money, the best way to have a successful financial future is to analyze our financial past.
Financial reflection is a powerful practice that can help us make wise financial decisions and align our money with God’s plan. It involves looking back on the past to learn from what has worked and has not and then making adjustments for the future.
Here, we’ll explore the value of financial reflection, provide tips for how to get started, and offer some action steps for the next 90 days.
Why Financial Reflection?
First, let’s talk about the value of financial reflection. It’s easy to set financial goals and New Year’s resolutions, but it’s much harder to follow through on them. That’s why I don’t consider this only an opportunity to make a new resolution, but rather an annual habit throughout our lives that makes it natural to steward our money wisely.
That’s where financial reflection comes in. When we look back on the past and evaluate the outcomes, we gain valuable insights that will help us make better decisions. In official terms, it’s called an After-Action Review, a strategy created by the military that is used by many for-profit and non-profit entities today because of its effectiveness.
3 Questions to Ask to Reflect on Your Finances
So, how can we start practicing financial reflection? We start by looking at our financial situation and making an evaluation using three key questions to ask yourself:
- What worked and why? When you think about this question, compare it with the nine money moments (giving, saving, investing, spending, borrowing, taxes, planning, counsel, and prayer); which ones have been most successful for you in the past? Why do you think that is?
- What did not work and why? On the other hand, which money moments have been the most challenging for you? Why do you think that is? Try to remember where your heart and head were at the time. When our clarity around ‘what didn’t work’ grows, so can our success and faithfulness with finances.
- Now what? This a simple but compelling question. This is where the right moves can “make this year’s ceiling next year’s floor.” Based on what you’ve learned from the first two questions, what are your top priorities for the next 90 days? I recommend focusing on the two or three money moments that will make the most significant impact on your current goals leading to your faithful financial future. And consider the following three objectives while organizing your 90 day action plans:
- Build and grow: Identify areas where you can improve and set specific goals for how you will do it.
- Avoid or correct: Identify any financial pitfalls or mistakes you need to avoid and adjust accordingly.
- Prioritize and plan wisely: Determine what is most aligned with God’s plans and most important to you and plan how you will achieve it.
Financial reflection is a powerful process that can help us make wise financial decisions and align our money with God’s plan. And it’s important to remember that financial reflection is an ongoing process.
It’s not something you do just once and then forget it. Instead, make it a habit to do a financial reflection weekly, monthly, or quarterly throughout the year. This process will help you stay on track and make the most of your money on your stewardship journey.
And let me close today with James [1:22]-25 to reinforce the process of financial reflection for new actions from new insights, “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks intently at his natural face in a mirror. For he looks at himself and goes away and at once forgets what he was like. But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.”