Ever since I graduated college in 1999, I have set out all my goals from 22 to 85 years old. I met with a financial adviser right out of school, and he said one of the biggest things you can you do to secure your financial future is set goals. Goals from now until when you think you’ll die.
Right after that meeting, I went home and wrote all my goals in five year increments until age 85. My roommates and friends thought I was crazy, but it was truly motivating! I had a clear vision and descriptors of what each five year increment would look like and where I would be at.
As I’ve continued to update my five year goals, and look at them every birthday for the last 16 years, I’ve realized my goals take a lot of work. Work to continue to stay focused on what matters. Work, with your spouse, on how you are going to accomplish a goal TOGETHER. Adjustments based on fluctuations in the economy, number of kids, or even medical issues. Through all these hurdles, here are a few tips that have helped me stay focused on my goals.
- Look at your goals frequently – goals shouldn’t be a “make it and forget it” event. It has been crucial for me to look at my five year goals at least once a quarter, and not just every birthday or New Year’s Eve. If you post your goals some place where you walk by them frequently, then it’ll keep you focused on what really matters. During your normal day it’ll help remind you of the goal you have of “living like no one else, so you can later live like no one else.“
- Don’t give up – too often we give up, because we hit some bump in the road. One bad day, week, or year, doesn’t mean that all is lost. Get back on the horse (easier said then done), but it needs to be done.
- Make adjustments based on your life circumstances – giving yourself permission to make adjustments is the first step in not giving up. Do you often give up, because you think the goal is unobtainable? Take weight loss for example. Let’s say you have a goal of losing 50 pounds this year, but after a few bad days in January and a bunch of bad weeks in February, then you are only down 2 pounds after the first two months. This doesn’t mean all is lost. Consider adjusting your yearly goal down, and still striving for 35 or 40 pound weight loss this year. The point is that January 1st is just another day, and shouldn’t be considered any more special then March 1st or April 28th. You don’t need a new year in order to start or adjust a resolution!
- Break your five year goals into smaller goals – lately I’ve been breaking my five year resolutions up into one year new years resolutions. On top of that, I’ve broken those new year resolutions into monthly resolutions. Here is a snippet of what my February goals look like. As you can see I’ve written my 2016 goals in the left hand column and my February goals in the middle and the results I’ve had thus far in February. I stick this goal sheet in my “The Utmost for the Highest” devotional and read it everyday before my quiet time. It helps me focus on what is a priority in this month. This allows me to see and measure what I’m striving for each day for what matters to me this year. This tip has been my most productive goal tip ever!
- All goals shouldn’t be financial – as a guy, I focus a lot on financial goals, because they are easily measurable and not subjective. I like goals that are factual and can’t be disputed (is that just me or do you feel the same way?). Regardless, it is important to have goals that are both physical and spiritual that will help you be a more well rounded individual.
- Write how you did – besides writing out your goal, it is also important to follow it up with documenting what your results are at the end of each year or month. This will hold yourself accountable in achieving the goal. Don’t worry, if you fail, face your goals head on!
- Give someone permission to hold you accountable – do you often shut others out of your life from being able to ask you the hard questions in your life? Why? Are you scared of failing and someone else knowing that you failed? Have you considered allowing someone to ask you frequently on how your goals are going? Or are you shutting out people that could have a powerful impact in helping you achieve your goals. Give it a try and you might find that a friend is exactly what you need in getting over the hump toward your goal.
So, now that we are two months into this year, how are your goals coming? Are you still sticking to your new years resolutions? What tips or tricks do you use to achieve your goals? I’d love to hear how you stay focused on your goals!