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Your financial dreams are worth an hour of sleep

This weekend, most Canadians will shift their clocks back and gain an hour. Instead of us spending the extra time in front of the TV, sleeping or mindlessly scrolling online, use the extra 60 minutes for something that will actually move you in the direction of your dreams. Next week, devote one uninterrupted hour, for five days, toward focusing on a specific action that will do just that. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Monday: Decide what you want

Devote an hour to thinking about your short and long-term dreams. For inspiration, click here. You might scribble them down in five minutes, but take the full hour to really think them through, and jot down a brief description for why you want to reach each goal. Don't worry about the logistics or how you will fund each one, the goal is to just get them down on paper.

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Tuesday: Lay the groundwork

Spend one hour calculating the costs and desired dates associated with each goal. Use an online calculator to tally up totals and timelines quickly.

Then set up a system to automatically fund your dream. Automation is easy to do and incredibly effective, yet many people don't take the time to set it up. In less than an hour, you can hop onto your financial institution's website and link your chequing account and savings account so that every month a certain sum of money is deposited into your savings. For extra motivation, break your savings into sub-categories that match your goals: spa weekend, Disney fund, or trip to Spain. Don't waste time. If you're having trouble navigating the site, call your bank and they'll walk you through the set-up.

Wednesday: Find the funds

Are you surrounded by items, clothing and gadgets that you could sell online? Likely, yes. Could you car pool for the rest of the week? Put the gym membership on hold? Skip the grocery shopping tonight and use ingredients you already have to whip up something tasty? Or, do you have skills (sure you do) that you could use to bring in extra income? You'll be surprised at all of the "hidden money" right in front of you when you set aside 60 minutes to look for it.

Thursday: Motivation

You've got the goal, have set up the account and figured out ways to fund it. Today, use your hour to set up support systems to help you see your plan through. You could set up a money group, sign a " commitment contract" online and up the ante by placing money on the line if you don't reach your goal by your set time period. Or simply share your dream with friends, your partner or colleagues. For extra motivation, download images that visually represent what you're after, and create a dream board to save on your desktop or print out to hang somewhere you'll see it daily.

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Friday: Reward yourself

You should feel good about what you've done this week. While your friends were watching TV or spending hours scanning everyone's Halloween pictures on Facebook, you were taking simple leaps toward achieving something that is important to you. Spend an hour rewarding yourself - you deserve it.

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About the Author
Angela Self

Angela Self is one of the founders of the Smart Cookies, a group of five women who specialize in personal finance. They are hosts of a self-titled show on the W Network and the authors of The Smart Cookies' Guide to Making More Dough. More

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