The Secret to Achieving Goals
By Daniel Rodriguez | Dr. Budgets
Happy New Year! During this time of the year I enjoy writing about goals and budgeting (Do You Have a “Crash Budget”? Or a Healthy Spending Plan?, Why I Don’t Do Budgets) because this is the time of the year when many of us decide to start something new (or quit something!) that will improve our lives. Sometimes our goals are health-related, like exercising consistently or working out with a personal trainer, while other goals are financial, like paying off debt (if this is one of your goals, here are 5 reasons why you might still be in debt).
I have always enjoyed having goals. I can’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t have at least one goal. In fact, there was a time when I had so many goals that I wouldn’t achieve any of them! But, as I’ve worked toward accomplishing goals for myself and in guiding clients to achieve their own goals, I have found that there is a secret to achieving goals.
Whatever you may want to accomplish in the New Year, the secret to achieving goals is… FOCUS. When you put all your energy and attention into one goal (three goals max!), then you can achieve it much faster than by having a bunch of goals. But you might think to yourself “I really want to achieve all of these goals this year… I don’t want to leave any of them out!” Having a lot of goals is great! But I have found that focusing on one or two goals at a time will produce far better results than diluting your attention into too many. Also, if you take a hard look at your goals (if you have more than three), you might see that they actually build upon each other. Sometimes, you cannot accomplish goals 3, 4, and 5 until you accomplish goals 1, 2, and 3 anyway, so set those aside for now.
Our clients usually have lots of financial goals: building up their emergency savings, paying off credit card debt, paying off student loans, saving for retirement, saving for children’s education, saving for a new car, saving for a big vacation, etc. My role as a money coach is to get them to focus on their top one or two goals (ideally, just one goal) first. When they can focus on one goal and commit to achieving that goal, something amazing happens… they achieve the goal faster than anticipated! Focus and attention are very powerful.
A good example of a client focusing on her top goal and achieving it is Rachel’s Success Story. She had several financial goals that were important to her, but paying off her debt was her primary goal, so she made that goal the focal point. The plan we came up with had her aggressively paying down her debt with a target payoff in 2 ½ years. Because of her focus and attention on one goal, she was able to pay off her debt completely in 11 months!
This year I have condensed my goals down to three total: one related to my health, one related to my family, and one related to my wealth. I created three very simple phrases that are up on my wall that I look at every day. This keeps me focused on what I truly want to achieve and will keep me on the right path toward goal achievement this year.
Do you believe that focus is the secret to achieving goals? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below. If you know someone who is ready to achieve their financial goals this year through money coaching and accountability, have them contact us so we can guide them through that process. Have a great start to your year!