One Minute Goal Setting For Your Finances

“Secondhand books are wild books, homeless books, they have come together in vast flocks of veriegated feather, and have a charm which the domesticated volumes of the library lack.”
– Virginia Woolf

One of my favorite places to visit every year is a quaint little town called Lewes – just minutes from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, which proudly claims the title of “The First Town in The First State.”

If you’re one of the 3,000 people who live there, I salute you – you’re place is beautiful! :)

Lewes is also the home of a kick-ass used bookstore – Biblion*- which this day in age is getting harder and harder to come by. And as much as I’m not helping the cause much with my publishing of thoughts online vs print, I very much prefer holding a physical item in my hand and would choose to read blogs all day long that way if I could. Imagine every time picking one up there are new pages (posts) automagically added? Would be heavenly!

But I digress…

In this cute little bookstore there are many a books to peruse (d’uh), and I usually come away with a new financial one to scan throughout my vacation – always at a steep discount.

This time around it was The One Minute Manager by Kenneth Blanchard, Ph.d. and Spencer Johnson, M.D. circa 1982 (for $2.50 – woo!):

the one minute manager book

I’ve only made it half-way through, but so far its promise to “quickly increase my own prosperity” has not lived up to its hype :) And only realized about a fourth of the way through that it was actually a management/business book vs a personal finance one, d’oh. I think the New York Times had it right when it remarked that it was “one of the more unusual books on the bestseller list,” haha… The concepts are actually great, but you could have told me a high school student wrote this and I would have believed you.

At any rate, there were parts to it that could very well be applied to many areas outside of just business/management, and particularly the 2nd stage of the three “easy-to-master management techniques.” It is called One Minute Goal Setting and would actually be a pretty smart thing to do if you can get yourself to try it!

Here’s what One Minute Goal Setting looks like:

(Per the outline in the book)

  1. Agree on your goals
  2. See what good behavior looks like
  3. Write out each of your goals on a single sheet of paper using less than 250 words
  4. Read and re-read each goal, which requires only a minute or so each time you do it.
  5. Take a minute every once in a while out of your day to look at your performance (*ahem* easy to do with net worth tracking and expense/income watching!)
  6. And lastly, see whether or not your behavior matches your goal.

#3 and #6 are the key ones in my opinion. Putting your goals down on paper increases the odds of hitting them so much more – especially if you write 250 words on it! – and then measuring your *actions* against those goals. Anyone can dream up some good ones, but actively working on them on a continual basis is a whole other thing. As Albert Einstein may or may not have once said, “the definition of insanity is doing something over and over again but expecting different results.”

And I’m not immune to this either, believe me.

Basically though, following these six steps could only help you reach your goals that much faster. Whether in your financial life or your career.

I’ll finish reading the book to see if any other gems pop out of it, but seeing how my kids just got a hold of it and thought it would be funny to rip out all the pages and try piecing them back together, it may take me a while to get back to it ;) I also love how my dad commented that he had just read it himself, not realizing that 30 years had passed since he did, haha… Apparently it was a hot item back then!

One last random thing before we go.

When I opened the book after purchasing it, I found a nice bookmark in it which re-affirmed how much I love used bookstores. On one side was the quote I shared up at the top, and on the other was a list of 10 reasons why shopping at independent bookstores are so good.

biblion bookmark

Here’s what it said:

Thanks For Shopping At Your Local Independent Bookstore.
Here’s what you just did!

  1. You kept dollars in our economy
  2. You embraced what makes us unique
  3. You created local jobs
  4. You helped the environment
  5. You nurtured community
  6. You conserved your tax dollars
  7. You created more choice
  8. You took advantage of our expertise
  9. You invested in entrepreneurship
  10. You made us a destination

You can’t help but feel good after reading that :) And interestingly enough channels technique #2 out of The One Minute Manager – the One Minute Praisings! Seems like they had read it themselves.

(The third, and last, technique, btw, is the One Minute Reprimands which says to tell people beforehand that you’ll always let them know how they’re doing no matter what, and then to reprimand immediately if anything comes up while simultaneously letting them know they’re still very much valued (i.e. scold the behavior vs attacking them as a person))

*Biblion means “little book” in Greek, in case you were wondering

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  1. The Green Swan July 20, 2016 at 5:13 AM

    Ken Blanchard is one of my favorite authors. He’s written a bunch of business and sales related books. The way he writes seems very simplistic but his concepts are very thought provoking. I think I’ve read all his books and heard him speak live in an auditorium. I definitely recommend his books, especially for folks just starting out in the business world. Thanks J!

    1. J. Money July 20, 2016 at 6:48 AM

      Oh, cool! Didn’t know he was that popular! I did enjoy this story telling style vs the more traditional approach – made it a lot more enjoyable to read especially when you’re trying to relax :) And this book in particular is only like 100 pages so it’s great for the A.D.D. impaired!

  2. Chris @ Flipping A Dollar July 20, 2016 at 5:42 AM

    Lol I love that it took you 1/4 of the book to realize it wasn’t about money! :) I’d totally do that too.

    For physical books… I love hen but I also love my damn Kindle paperwhite. I can read in the dark with a soft light that doesn’t keep you awake. I can add a ton of books onto it, and the battery lasts a month.

    I used to buy used books all the time but I never read them. I just liked the idea that I might read it. Favorite one was a hollow earth book by some doctor. Really proves that you can’t take those credentials at face value!

    1. J. Money July 20, 2016 at 6:52 AM

      Haha yeah – my bookcase is full of books I’ve never read yet. Fortunately they double as cozy decorative items though while waiting to be picked up! I love rooms full of books… (I just imagined a room full of kindles in its place and almost spit out my coffee! Haha… But I agree they’re more practical.)

  3. Our Next Life July 20, 2016 at 6:41 AM

    Who can write 250 words — by hand! — in under a minute?! Haha. I don’t think I’ll be going out scouring the used racks for that book, but I do love little tidbits like that one-minute tip, even if the only part of it that would take only a minute is checking in on the goal. I love the idea, though, of thinking through a goal, what it will take to get there, and then continually checking in on the progress. Totally solid advice. :-)

    1. J. Money July 20, 2016 at 6:59 AM

      Yeah, I think the whole “one minute” part comes after the system (or in this case, the goals) are all set up. Just takes a minute to manage them all. I love the idea of having a sheet of paper for each of the goals though that you can always go back and reference or update. Something about them being *real* and put down like that always helps them get accomplished faster! As if our brains weren’t capable of doing everything on its own, haha…

  4. Matt @ Distilled Dollar July 20, 2016 at 7:04 AM

    #6 is so so critical since it helps us avoid BS’ing ourselves.

    The surface level discussion is if our actions are aligned with the goals we are seeking.

    The deeper discussion, which we can call #6 to the nth power, is if our results from those actions show to other people that we’re making progress. If not, then there’s a space that needs to be filled between BS’ing ourselves and seeing results.

  5. Roy Largo @ Band of Savers July 20, 2016 at 7:05 AM

    Great reminders. When I started my first real job out of college my manager handed me this book when I first met with him. In his opinion it was standard reading material that he expected his employees to read during their first week working for him. It was a good start but the follow-up wasn’t there because I don’t think that I was ever actually asked to do any of the activities and I had completely forgot about it until now. Thanks for reminding me.

    1. J. Money July 20, 2016 at 11:02 AM

      Interesting! Does HE at least follow them? With the praisings and quick reprimands? It’s more for managers than others as they’re the ones who need to set things up right really (though still good for everyone to read).

      1. Roy Largo @ Band of Savers July 20, 2016 at 12:10 PM

        Now that you mention it, I don’t think he followed them either.

  6. Vicki@Make Smarter Decisions July 20, 2016 at 7:21 AM

    I love the bookmark more than the book! Our small downtown business district could use those! The advice from the book can be used for lots of areas – I was thinking fitness/healthy eating. But there are all kinds of apps that can keep track of things now too. Yet I have started a few of those and never really carried through. The 250 written words could really be what is most important – writing may = deeper commitment? Just a thought!

    1. J. Money July 20, 2016 at 11:04 AM

      I was originally going to write a post all about just the bookmark, but thought it would be way too boring, haha…

  7. Apathy Ends July 20, 2016 at 7:26 AM

    I prefer my finance/career/personal development books in print vs E-Reader. I just don’t think I would read or use them again if I didn’t physically have them. Plus I write in all the margins.

    I like the 3rd step, Getting feedback on something you are doing poorly after 3 months is frustrating – the earlier the better

    1. J. Money July 20, 2016 at 11:07 AM

      Exactly. Especially when it means you could be doing something wrong for the entire 3 months up until it’s called out too! And what point does that serve?

      There was a part in the book about how managers should always be looking for the “good” stuff their employees do vs. waiting to catch them make mistakes all the time – as if it excited them. Gotta make sure to treat people well or they’re gonna work a lot less effectively!

  8. Kristy July 20, 2016 at 7:43 AM

    Love Lewes!! I hope you had lunch or dinner at Agave….it is one of my favorites!

    Great post about finance too….I love used book stores or any book store!

    1. J. Money July 20, 2016 at 11:10 AM

      We didn’t but it always looks great! We pretty much spend most of our time now at that nice newish kids park down by the water next to that red boat in between our walks. Much harder to sit down or shop around with them in tow but they LOVE that place :)

  9. Mr Crazy Kicks July 20, 2016 at 8:50 AM

    At least the price was right! I like free at the library, but when they do not have a book, I grab a used one, then donate it when I’m done to help them expand.

    1. J. Money July 20, 2016 at 11:10 AM

      The circle of life, baby!

  10. Stacking Dollars July 20, 2016 at 9:10 AM

    I loved hitting the used book store as well. I give enough money to Amazon, but going down to the store an actually looking through the books is a better experience.

    I’ll try to find this one. I’m a believer in #3 and #6.

  11. Paul July 20, 2016 at 9:25 AM

    This is kind of like the minimalists site. Does this action (or in their case purchase) align with your values?

    The only problem I see is that this assumes people have good values in the first place. It could also be a one minute guide to bad decision making if you really think about it. If your goal if nefarious then it becomes a faster way to do harm.

    1. J. Money July 20, 2016 at 11:13 AM

      Haha yes, that’s also true. But technically it’s still a *priority* for you whether good or bad – which is how you should be spending your time/money :) Maybe we need to come out with a new book targeting all the criminals out there – hah.

  12. Miss Mazuma July 20, 2016 at 9:28 AM

    Damn, that Virginia Woolf has a way with words! Love that quote… :)

    I have a list of books to read on my phone and I try to order them from the library but some are so hard to find! I especially love travel memoirs and was dying to read Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley. I was telling my friend about it as we passed a used bookstore and low and behold, there it was right in the window as we were walking by. Kismet!

    Let us know how the rest of your book works out. :)

    1. J. Money July 20, 2016 at 11:18 AM

      Cool story!! Love when stuff like that happens.. feels like you’re on the right path in life that day :)

  13. Liran @ Debitize July 20, 2016 at 9:46 AM

    Don’t they have some killer Bloody Mary’s in Lewes?

    1. J. Money July 20, 2016 at 11:13 AM

      Haha… no idea, but next year I’ll stop in and do some “researching” for you :)

  14. PhysicianOnFIRE July 20, 2016 at 10:09 AM

    I love the little free library movement. There’s a few around town. The likelihood of finding a great money book is as slim as the pole holding up the library, but they sure are cute and fun.

    1. J. Money July 20, 2016 at 11:28 AM

      I know – that’s what I’m finding out too :( Every one I check out here looks like they’ve been sitting there for years! And no money/business ones yet either…

      I think I’m going to have to do something about that :)

      1. PhysicianOnFIRE July 20, 2016 at 8:27 PM

        When I write a book, I’ll send you some copies to surreptitiously sneak into those little guys.


        1. J. Money July 21, 2016 at 4:45 PM

          even better!

  15. Dollar Engineer July 20, 2016 at 10:45 AM

    Very cool, hopefully you’ll be able to piece the book back together after your kids unleashed havoc on it though! One thing I need to address is writing down my goals for the remainder of the year and throw down some long term goals. Thanks for the tips!

  16. FinanceSuperhero July 20, 2016 at 10:51 AM

    I read this title and a few other Blanchard books during grad school. I like his writing, but I think there are plenty of other similar titles I would recommend over OMM.

    I like the extrapolation of principles and subsequent application to personal finance, J. Since it’s been a little while since I’ve read the book, I’m a little cloudy on how one might apply #2. Can anyone help me understand the basic intent of that statement? Maybe it will come to me after I finish my second cup of coffee. :)

    1. J. Money July 20, 2016 at 11:35 AM

      It’s basically just that both parties know what to *expect* and that the performance standards are clear. So you know exactly what you have to work on in order to reach the goal and don’t waste time going down the wrong route. (I don’t know why they use “behavior” like that as it confused me too at first)

  17. Robin July 20, 2016 at 12:23 PM

    Wow I bought that book back in the 80’s. I recognized it immediately!
    I guess I should have mastered it by now.

    1. J. Money July 20, 2016 at 1:53 PM

      Hah! Awesome.

  18. Linda @ Brooklyn Bread July 20, 2016 at 12:33 PM

    Strategically putting things down on paper is, like, the secret to the entire universe.

    1. J. Money July 20, 2016 at 1:55 PM


  19. ZJ Thorne July 20, 2016 at 9:16 PM

    I love the treasures that used bookstores hold! Gets my goat sometimes that such poorly written things can become bestsellers. Then I remind myself that I’d rather focus on creating what I want and not necessarily what is marketable. That’s under 250 words, but I think I’ll stick with it.

    1. J. Money July 21, 2016 at 4:39 PM

      Haha BOOM.

  20. Staci @Streamline365 July 20, 2016 at 11:14 PM

    Goal setting is key! Napoleon Hill is a great author to read when I get off track, he lays it out there. (Old school style!) I love books/book stores. A far off dream of mine is to open an amazing book store/community gathering place like Parnassus Books in Nashville. ( You would love it! Def. check it out if you head that way. Maybe FinCon 2017=Nashville?!?

    1. J. Money July 21, 2016 at 4:34 PM

      oooooh yes please!!!! to both Nashville and opening up a cool bookstore like that one! just watched part of their promo video – crazy that every single book there was read or picked out specifically by someone who works there! There are thousands!!

      Napoleon Hill is a pimp too – I agree. Have you ever signed up to get his daily emails? They come from his foundation and are always something quick to think on before starting the day. You can sign up here if you want (it’s free):

      1. Staci @Streamline365 July 28, 2016 at 2:16 PM

        Thanks so much! Those daily reminders are great! (And naphill sounds like a cool rapper, not a cranky old man. Makes me feel cool! ;)

        1. J. Money July 28, 2016 at 11:29 PM

          It does, doesn’t it!

  21. Fiscally Free July 21, 2016 at 11:10 AM

    It’s amazing how poorly most managers are at actually managing. After just a few years in the working world, it seems pretty obvious how you should and shouldn’t manage people, yet so many struggle with it.
    This book sounds like a good reminder of some basic management strategies. I’m glad the author kept is short rather than trying to stretch it into a lengthy tome.

    1. J. Money July 21, 2016 at 4:22 PM

      YES! Exactly!! It really comes down to a few simple “treat others how you’d like to be treated yourself” type mantras. Would be great if people actually followed them!

  22. Free to Pursue July 21, 2016 at 1:06 PM

    Sounds interesting. I’ll add this one to my book list.

    And hey, for a guy who doesn’t tend to read all that many books, you managed to get through half of that…while on vacation!

    1. J. Money July 21, 2016 at 4:19 PM

      Well, don’t pat me on the back too much over there – as you you’ll soon see, the pages are written as if a 5 year old was reading it :) Pretty short with enlarged lettering!

  23. Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore July 27, 2016 at 11:19 AM

    I like this tip! It is good to take a little time to reflect on your goals and remember what you are working towards.