Goal-setting is a great lifelong habit that will guide you to achieving the things that you really want in life; a new house, financial freedom, personal growth, great relationships, you name it. However, goal-setting is just the planning phase of the process. To achieve your goals, you’d have to follow through with your plan.
Following through is a whole other story because it needs motivation and tracking. Most of the time, life happens, which turns most goals into empty promises. If we don’t have a strategy for achieving these aims, they will likely just sift through the cracks as we focus on other things in our life.
In this article, we’re going to provide you with the ultimate guide to goal-setting and following through so you can overcome the challenges to realise your goals.
What is Goal-Setting?
Goal-setting is the process of defining your goals, otherwise known as your desired outcomes, and designating actions you need to take to reach them. The process involves coming up with a strategy or a roadmap that you can easily execute.
Types of Goals
Before we get into why goal-setting is a necessary step, it is important to understand the different types of goals. Doing this allows you to prioritise your objectives and create a specific plan to achieve them. For example, you might have a goal of saving $20,000 towards a deposit on a house within the next two years. Knowing that this is a financial goal will help you align your actions with achieving the goal.
So, there are different types of goals that you can set:
- Short-term goals: goals that can be achieved in a relatively short amount of time (a few weeks or months).
- Long-term goals: require a more extended period to accomplish (often taking several years).
- Personal goals: focused on self-improvement and individual growth.
- Professional goals: relate to one’s career or business aspirations.
- Short-term financial goals: centred around improving one’s personal finance in respect to smaller goals like buying a new fridge or tv for your home.
- Long-term financial goals: require a longer-term commitment and that may be to pay off debt or saving for a house deposit.
- Educational goals: involve achieving specific academic accomplishments or advancing one’s knowledge in a particular field.
Why is it necessary to set goals?
You may ask, “why set goals in the first place?”. It’s a good question to ask. The majority of individuals are where they are now without consciously following a goal-setting process.
We have to understand that goal-setting and actually following through allows us to level up. The process permits us to achieve one thing after the other, and pretty soon it’s going to be a habit that feels automatic. When that happens, we can achieve what we set out to do despite encountering obstacles. Goal-setting does this by:
Refocusing Our Attention
When you have already planned what you have to do to reach your goals, you’re going to be more selective in your actions. You’ll likely focus on actions that relate to your goals instead of actions that don’t.
Motivating Us to Work Harder
When you’re really set on achieving your goals, you’ll work harder than you normally would. You’ll make the effort to realise your objectives when you understand the value it’s going to bring to your life. For instance, you may be motivated to save up for a vacation because you know that you’ll be able to relax and feel refreshed when you’re on your holiday.
Inspiring Us to Keep Going
You’ll definitely face challenges along the way. When you do, it’s always a good idea to go back to your goals and review your progress (this is called goal-tracking, but we’ll get to this in a bit). When you realise how far you’ve come, you’ll have the motivation to persist.
Changing Our Behaviour
To fulfil your goals, you need to take a good look at your behaviour and habits (this is also part of goal-tracking). This encourages you to review and correct any bad habits that you might have picked up.
Process of Setting Goals
So, how is the goal-setting process done? It’s simple and only involves four steps:
- Identify what you want to achieve and why it is important: reflect on your values, interests and aspirations.
- Create a SMART goal: SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time conscious. An example of this would be saving $5,000 for a new car down payment within the next 12 months by putting aside $416.67 per month.
- Break down the goal: break it down into smaller, manageable steps and create an action plan outlining what you need to do to achieve the goal.
- Commit: commit to your goal and hold yourself accountable.
Following these steps will ensure you set challenging yet achievable goals that will help you reach your desired outcome.
The Reason Why Most People Find it Difficult to Achieve their Goals
There are plenty of reasons why most of us can’t seem to follow through with what we set out to do. Probably all of us know this feeling all too well (wondering what happened to your New Year resolutions?).
We give up halfway or we barely even get the ball rolling. Why do we do this? Well, the most common reasons why we just give up on achieving our goals are:
- Our goals are unattainable.
- We don’t have a strategy in place to fulfil our desired outcome.
- We don’t have enough willpower.
- We’re caught off guard by external forces (economic challenges, illness, etc).
- We don’t know how to stay motivated.
Is there a way to overcome all of this? Yes, there is and it only takes three steps.
How to Achieve Your Goals
You only need to remember these three practical steps to keep you motivated despite encountering challenges and setbacks:
- Feed your motivation: focus on the benefits of achieving your goal, visualise yourself achieving it and surround yourself with positive and supportive people.
- Be flexible: be open to adjusting your plans as needed. Things don’t always go exactly as you planned so you have to be ready to adapt.
- Stay accountable: track your progress regularly and adjust as needed, share your goal with others and ask for their support and encouragement.
Is it necessary to track your progress?
Goal-tracking is a critical component of achieving your goals. The process may involve measuring and evaluating the steps you take towards achieving your goal and assessing the effectiveness of the strategies and tactics you use to achieve your goal.
By tracking your progress, you can stay motivated by seeing and celebrating how far you’ve come. It also helps you stay on track, so you don’t lose sight of your goal or become overwhelmed by the process.
Tracking your progress on a financial goal, for example, may include using a budgeting tool that can help you track your cash flow and spending, manage your assets, show your live balance, and so much more.
Set Goals Now
Setting goals is an essential aspect of achieving success in any area of life but more specifically when it comes to your personal finances! Setting financial goals is necessary for financial stability and security. They help you manage your funds, make informed decisions and achieve long-term success.
Learning about goals involves more than just setting them, it requires a deep understanding of the different types of goals, the process of setting and achieving goals and the importance of tracking progress.
Help My Wealth has designed learning modules that teach you how to set goals that will be beneficial to your financial objectives and help make them more achievable. For example, some of our Learning Modules for financial literacy include:
- Planning for your future – designed by Matt Skehan an experienced Financial Advisor
- Goals – designed by Lea Clothier an Experienced Professional Advisor and Master Certified Money Coach (CMC)
Start setting goals now to reach your financial aspirations! Keep following our blog series’ Unlocking the Secrets to Lifelong Success: Tips from the Pros’ by following us on social media.