Written by: Penny Anthem staff
Realize your goals and your potential.
I sit down with people all the time and ask them their goals as part of the process to get them financially secure. You’d be surprised by how many people have no idea what they want out of their own life.
If you don’t know where you are going- then how can you honestly get there?
At the end of the day, it’s your life. Take some agency. Imagine your life is a book- what kind of story do you want to tell? What kind of character do you want to be? What are your goals? Seriously, what do YOU want out of your life? One thing I learned long ago, no one is going to hand you success. No one is going to give you a savings account, your dream job, or pay for your travel. If there are things you want to accomplish, you need to envision them, make a plan, and then work towards them.
Realizing your goals is a 2 step process with A LOT of work in between:
First: ENVISION AND PLAN. Figure out what you want to accomplish. This is harder for some than others. An easy trick is to think about your day dreams. How do you envision your life?
Create a vision, dream big but also be realistic. People complain about money day in and day out. They wish they “were rich”, but that means something different to everyone. Rich for some people means being able to pay their bills on time while rich for others means owning a yacht. You need to decide what you want your lifestyle to be before you decide how you want to provide for it.
Do you want to pay off debt? Get a new car? travel the world? Move to another city? Do you envision yourself as a stay at home mom?
Imagine what you want, and then write it down.
An easy way to get started is to break your goals into 3 time periods
- Short Term: Short term goals can be anywhere from the coming months to 1-3 years.
- Mid Term: Middle length goals range from 3-5 years.
- Long Term: These are what I call ‘Big Picture Goals’.
Once your goals are written down, keep them somewhere where you can see them. Studies have shown that you will be more likely to accomplish your goals if you visualize them, write them down, & cross them off as you go! It’s a visual way to track your success. The act of writing something down and them crossing off gives us a sense of accomplishment. It’s a way to hold yourself accountable.
Second: Action Step. Once you have your goals set, it’s time to start working towards accomplishing them! You’ve already decided on general timeframes, so now it’s time to get the ball rolling. The timelines will serve as milestones and all you need to do is commit daily/weekly/monthly to what you have set in place.
For example: say you want to add $1,000 to your savings account- break that up into smaller pieces. If you are able to save $150 each month then in a little under 7 months you’ll have met your goal! Set up an auto-draft once a month to move $150 into your savings.
Another example: If you want to publish a book think about how much content you need to create and in what time frame. Perhaps you want to commit an hour every day or commit to writing two pages a week. Whatever it is- be specific so you can hold yourself accountable.
When you meet your milestones, big and small, cross them off and celebrate your successes!
Remember that setting goals and accomplishing them is a process. If you miss a “deadline” or don’t met a goal then assess what happened. Do you need to adjust the deadline? perhaps the goal was too demanding? This process is about improving yourself, so there is no sense in beating yourself up.
Avoid these pitfalls.
Often times people don’t meet their goals as a result of poor goal setting.
Too demanding– you need to be honest with yourself. If you want to pay off your $1000 credit card, but only have $50 extra a month then it isn’t likely you’ll pay it off in two months. You may need to adjust the time frame or your level of commitment to met certain goals. Be realistic with yourself.
Not specific enough– setting a goal of “getting fit” isn’t necessarily measurable. Not being specific enough makes a goal very hard to met as their isn’t any way to really plan for it or hold yourself accountable. A better example of a similar goal might be- ” to be able to run a 5k within an hour” or “Gain 5 pounds of muscle”. These are goals that you can plan for and you’ll definitely be able to measure them.
Not important enough- If the goal you are attempting you meet isn’t even your own, it’s likely that you won’t make it a priority. For example- quitting smoking. Ive talked to countless smokers who have tried to quit numerous times as a result of a spouse or their kid’s requests. These attempts almost always fall flat and that because the person working towards the goal doesn’t care about the outcome! When the smoker WANTS to quit, is when they meet their goal. Set an attainable goal that matters to you.
Not held accountable/ not enough support- If you silently set a goal and don’t have support then the chances of you meeting it are much less likely. A good way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to partner with someone with a similar goal. Find someone to support you. Similarly, if no one knows you are trying to studying for a test- then what difference does it make if you fail it? Sometimes we need outside influences to keep us on our toes and remind us what we have set out to accomplish.
Good luck in setting goals and accomplishing your dreams!