Two months ago, everyone was gearing up for the new year with big goals and high hopes of achieving them. Unfortunately, only around 8% of people stick to and succeed at their New Year’s resolutions.
It’s reported that those who are successful at meeting their resolutions set goals all year long.
I’m one of those people who believe that most of us have the opportunity to do anything we want in our lives. (There are some cases of extreme poverty and lack of opportunity where there may be an exception.) But if you’re willing to work hard and make temporary sacrifices, you can create the life you want.
Know What You Want
When it comes to goal setting — especially in the areas of finance and career — it can be easy to adopt other people’s goals instead of going after what you truly want.
Think about what you want your life to look like in 5, 10, and 20 years. What’s important to you? Some of the most common aspirations are family, financial stability, and a fulfilling career. However, the path taken differs from person to person.
Take some time to think about what really makes you happy. Don’t worry about what other people will think. Be you.
Make your goals as clear as possible. It’s not enough to say you want to earn $100,000 per year. You have to have an idea of how you’re going to achieve the goal and the steps you’ll need to take.
Write It Down
It’s proven that those who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them.
You might have heard of the Harvard study that stated that the 3% of graduates who wrote down their goals earned more than the other 97% combined. Well, from my research that’s actually just an urban myth.
However, there have been studies performed that show that people who write down their goals achieve more than those who keep goals in their head. In addition, people who seek accountability and report their progress achieve the most success.
That’s a big motivator to make clear, concise goals, right?
Write down your goals, find an accountability partner, and provide progress reports. Joining a mastermind group or finding someone who has similar aspirations will give you a boost in the right direction.
If you’re feeling super brave, post your goals on Facebook and give a weekly progress report.
Break It Down
You’re not going to be able to save a million dollars in a year. You probably won’t start a business and grow it to what you want in a year. And you’re most likely not going to find your dream job right after college.
But are all of these things attainable? Absolutely.
After you figure out what you really want, break down the goal into steps. Want to save a million dollars for retirement? Figure out how much money you should be investing each month and which investments will help you reach your goal. (Use a retirement calculator.) Want to start your own business? Go out and find your first customer. Want to land your dream job? Start making connections with others in your chosen field.
When you break down your goal into tasks that you can complete on a regular basis, you’ll be able to consistently make progress. Even if you’re only taking small steps forward, you’re going in the right direction and will eventually get where you’re going.
Create the Right Habits
After you’ve broken down your goals into actionable steps, it’s time to start implementing. Pick one or two things you can do every single day that will propel you closer to reaching your goals.
Once you work on the same set of tasks over and over, you’ll create a success habit. It usually takes 30 days of consistent effort to create a lasting habit. But once you create habits that align with your goals, you’ll be moving in the right direction without much effort.
From here you can continue to build habits that will work for you.
Stop the Excuses
You can save money. You can earn more money. You can start your own business. You can do anything if you’re willing to put in the work and make the sacrifices.
It’s easier to make excuses than it is to take action — which is what most people do. Don’t take the easy route.
You can create the life you want if you’re willing to work for it.
Have you stuck with your New Year’s resolutions? What steps do you take to reach your goals?