Tips to master your goals
The practice of setting goals and pursuit of objectives is a worthy undertaking. However, not all who participate in this practice find it helpful. This article is intended to provide practical tips to aid you in better making progress with your goals, both financial and otherwise.
Break bigger goals into smaller, bite sized ‘chunks’
Have you noticed that a smaller ‘micro’ goal is easier to visualise, less daunting and easier to achieve? Removing the chance of being overwhelmed by a big, long term goal, the smaller task sized goals appear much more tangible and easier to visualise happening.
Further, in being able to ‘tick off’ a couple of micro goals towards a bigger ambition, it provides us with an important psychological sense of feedback and progress. Like a small snowball starting at the top of a cliff and gathering in both pace and size as it heads down the slope, a series of micro goal achievements can build momentum, galvanise further positive energy and make us feel like we are ‘on track’.
Focus on meaningful progress
Think progress not perfectionism.
Have you set a goal in the past, which may have been a stretch, and got 70-80% of the way there? How did you feel on realisation of this? Did you ‘drop your head’ and lose momentum?
It is common for people to achieve partial progress, but not fully attain a stated goal, and yet lose energy, motivation and drive, feeling like they have not made it happen. What a waste of positive momentum!! This is where context and mastering the fullness of the situation can help.
Being clear, setting yourself a goal that you know is a stretch for you, then getting 80% of the way there in the time frame you had set, is a great stride forward and does show commendable progress.
The ‘secret sauce’ in goal setting and self motivation is focusing on meaningful progress (term borrowed from Dr Jason Fox) towards your aims, in staying motivated, staying the course and continuing like the snowball to gather momentum down the slope.
Build accountability into the process
Personally, I find this helpful, even though I’d like to think of myself as very determined, consistent and willing to do the work. Accountability helps. This is a very good reason why a competent, trusted financial planner can help you towards your financial goals: accountability. I have a monthly accountability meeting for my business and show three ‘progress’ reports and talk through them with someone. It keeps me focused, tracks and measures progress, and helps build just a bit more momentum.
I know others who’ve publicly voiced a big goal (such as ‘I’m taking a year off to travel and am going to blog about the process’) for accountability reasons. Making public such a goal can mean that they then commit to it and make it happen, rather than quietly talking themselves out of it.
Make it easy for yourself if changing habits is required
We’ve all heard the saying old habits die hard!
If the goal you are aiming for involves changing behaviour or habits that you wish to do more of, lower the activation required (make it easy) for the new habit to form. For any habit you seek to move away from, raise the activation level (make it hard to continue this habit) to assist the habitual change.
Here is an example to explain this. If your goal is to start going to the gym regularly again 3 times a week at the start of the day, one way to make it easy for yourself is to have your gym bag all ready to go the night before, and even to begin with, sleep in your gym clothes. Then all you need to do in the morning is step into your shoes and get yourself there.
For the opposite scenario of making it hard for yourself, if you want to change the habit of watching too much TV when you get home, one way to do this is to remove the batteries from the remote and put the batteries on the other side of the house. You can still watch TV, but the little inertia in between may be enough to change your pattern.
We encourage use of all these tips for getting ahead with your finances as well as reaching goals in other areas.
In closing, here is one ‘call to action’ for you:
What is one practical, tangible step that you are going to take to assist yourself with your own goals?
Thank you for taking the time to read this article and we wish you every success and happiness now and in the future.
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