[title size=”3″ content_align=”left” style_type=”single” sep_color=”#482b68″ class=”” id=””]Part 3 of a 3-Part Series on Goal Setting[/title][fusion_text]If you have followed the first two posts in our Goal Setting Series, you have identified one or two areas of your life where change is needed, you have clarified those goals by writing them down and making them SMART, and you have also detailed the reasons why those goals are important to you.
You are probably feeling really great and already feeling accomplished. And you should!
I am sure you are excited about diving in to make these positive changes, but we are not quite ready to implement them.
Don’t worry. We will get there quickly.
Before we do anything else, we must plan for success.
Now, I will admit that I am one who can get a little carried away in the planning stage. But we are not going to spend too much time preparing for action. We don’t want to lose the momentum we have already created.
A plan is important because we need to make sure that we are prepared for success. Deciding a change is necessary and setting SMART goals are the first steps, but we need to figure out where we go from here.[/fusion_text][fusion_text]
Start by taking one of your goals, and break it down into smaller chunks. I call this strategy creating mini-goals from your bigger goal.
This step might look like this:
- Your SMART goal is “Pay off all of my non-mortgage debt of $50,000 by March 31, 2017.”
- Your mini goals are to “Pay off $2,083 of my non-mortgage debt each month.”
Meeting your mini-goal for two years will get you to the $50,000 debt payoff goal.
In addition, you could break it down into weekly or bi-weekly goals if that works for you.
The idea is to break down your bigger goal so that you are motivated to take action now. March 2017 might feel like a lifetime from now, but creating mini-goals allows you to see that if you don’t pay off $2,083 of debt next month, then you are already behind on your plan.
Of course your progress toward your goal won’t always be linear. Some months you’ll exceed your goal, and some months an unforeseen expense may arise causing no progress to be made.
Going through this process allows you to have a track to run on so that at any time you can see if you are ahead of the game in meeting your goal or if you have some catching up to do.[/fusion_text][fusion_text]
Decide What Specific Actions You Will Take To Reach Your Goal and Schedule Time to Put Them in Motion
Next, create a list of actions you could take in order to reach your goal. List as many things as you can think of.
When it comes to paying off debt, this list could include the following action steps:
- creating a monthly budget
- clipping coupons
- cooking at home more
- canceling cable
- working overtime, and
- starting a side business to create an additional source of income.
These are behaviors that you can adopt in order to meet your goal. Some behaviors will push you closer to your goal than others, but the more action you take toward achieving your goal, the faster you are likely to reach it.
Review your list and choose 2 or 3 actions that you can implement this week. It might take some work and it might be uncomfortable, but this is where you will actually begin to see progress.
You may have heard the saying “What gets scheduled gets done.” I firmly believe that is true. Schedule some time on your calendar this week to implement these action items.
Once you have implemented 2 or 3 of these actions and have gotten more comfortable with these changes, review your list again to determine what other actions you can take. Continue this process until you have met your goal.
The more you focus on meeting your goal and the more action you take toward your goal, the faster you will find success. Your level of intensity and commitment in executing your plan will determine your level of success.
[bctt tweet=”Your level of intensity and commitment in executing your plan will determine your level of success.”][/fusion_text][fusion_text]
Find an Accountability Partner
There will be times when you get off track, and having someone you trust who is willing to remind you of your objective can make the difference between success and failure.
If you are single, I have recently addressed the importance of finding an accountability partner when taking control of your money.
If you are married and the goals you are focusing on are financial, then you and your spouse should be on the same page and hold each other accountable. But it never hurts to find an outside party to help ensure that you stick to your plan.
It may be advantageous to find someone with similar goals so that you can hold each other accountable and cheer each other on as you make progress toward your goals.[/fusion_text][fusion_text]
Remember Your Why
Your road to success won’t be a straight line. There will be bumps in the road and times when you get off course.
When you stumble along your journey, you might get discouraged and want to throw in the towel.
Expect that there will be obstacles and plan for them.
For Mike and me, paying off all of our debt by the time we turn forty will allow us room in our budget to save and invest so that we can build wealth and gain true financial freedom. We want to be able to give generously to others and set a proper example for our kids of how to make wise money choices. Having no debt and living in a completely paid-for house will give us a feeling of freedom that we cannot wait to experience.
There will be cars that break down unexpectedly, roofs that leak, and kids who take unexpected trips to the emergency room. During these times, you may not reach your mini-goals, but if you remember your why and get back on track as quickly as possible, you will be more likely to see success in the long-term.
You may have an uphill battle ahead of you, but the view of the horizon at the top will be so worth the struggle and sacrifice that you face.[/fusion_text][fusion_text]
What About You?
Participate in the conversation. What have you achieved through the power of goal setting? Share in the comments below.
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