How to achieve your Goals – one step at a time!

Today I am going to talk to you about an action plan that can significantly improve your chances of success and bring great happiness to your life. Goals. I am going to talk about goals, why they are important, how to set them and most importantly the “secret sauce” to achieving them.

Hitting the end of the financial year is a great opportunity to look at resetting your goals and reviewing the progress you have made in the first half of the year. Most of us sit around in the first week of January and set a New Year’s resolution, to get a different result in our life this year.

So how is that New Year’s resolution you made in January looking half way through the year? If it’s not shaping up too well, it may make you feel better to know that you’re not alone. Less than 25% of people stay committed to their resolutions for more than 30 days and only 8% of people actually achieve them. This is an alarming stat and means most people end up treading water year to year and not making the progress in life that they want.

To help you with your goals over the next 12 months and make sure you fall into the category of people who achieve their goals each year we have written this blog to give you some tips on how to set and go after your goals.

Why are goals important?

Goals provide you with a destination to work towards in life. They give you something to aim for and act like a target in your life. Setting goals and looking at an action plan to achieve them is I believe, the easiest way to get started on the path to success, no matter what area of your life you’re looking to succeed in – finance, health, relationship, career or family.

Goals will provide you with direction, focus and clarity on what you need to be doing to continually work towards the things that are important to you – be that buying a home, going on a holiday, building wealth for your future or paying for your kids schooling.

Imagine if you were doing Archery and there was no target to hit, how would you know where to aim? You are never going to hit a target that’s not there and progress in life is much the same. Tony Robbins, who most of you would know, has said that he has “never met a successful person who didn’t know what they wanted” and this echoes what I am saying. If you don’t know what you want and don’t have goals that you are chasing, how are you going to succeed and progress? Most likely you won’t and you will end up floating through life with life dictating your results and where you end up, rather than the other way round!

Hopefully I have gotten my point across and you can see why it is beneficial to have goals in place and be intentional on the direction of your life. So, are you ready to set some goals and start living a more successful and happier life?

How to set goals?

My job is to talk with people all day about their goals and I have been doing this now for over 10 years. After that amount of time, you get some insight into the tips and tricks that increase the chances of achieving goals. Outlined below is the formula we follow with clients when looking to help them set and achieve their financial goals.

The SMART goal structure philosophy is what we have moulded our goal setting framework with clients off. This philosophy is focused on you setting goals that are:

  • Specific: well defined, clear and unambiguous
  • Measurable: with specific criteria that you can measure your progress against
  • Achievable: attainable and not impossible to achieve
  • Realistic: within reach and relevant to you and the direction you want to go in life
  • Timely: with a clearly defined timeline, including a starting date and target date. The purpose of this is to create urgency.

This framework is one that covers all bases and allows you to create certainty about what will be required to achieve your goals. This comes from getting specific about what you want to achieve and when you want to achieve it which then allows you to start thinking about what will be required from you to achieve your goals.

What I want you to do is to break your goals down into smaller bite size pieces that you can manage and work towards every month. Without this step, your goals can seem overwhelming and unattainable and this can lead to inaction and procrastination which both lead to you ending up in the same position next year as you are now – which we want to prevent. 

When we are looking to map out a client’s list of financial goals and devising a strategy that is required to achieve them, the things we will look to include in the goal setting process are:

  1. What is the goal?
  2. How much will the goal cost?
  3. When do they want to achieve the goal?
  4. How much will the goal cost each month to achieve (based on the target achievement date)? This is determined by dividing the amount needed for the goal by the number of months we have until it is to be achieved.

You can see how the above process and the detail involved in the SMART goal setting structure, will help make it very clear what you need to focus on to achieve your goals.

The secret sauce

We have thrown a bit of content at you in this blog, but now it’s time to tell you the most important piece of information you need to know to achieve the goals you set for yourself – “the secret sauce”.

This is a very simple concept but I believe it is the most important step in the goal setting process and if followed through with, it will completely change your ability to achieve your goals.

When setting a big list of goals, as we have outlined above you need to focus on what the end point is. Where do you want to end up and what do you want to achieve by your targeted end date? These steps in the process are extremely crucial to achieving success but once you have set these targets, I now want you to forget about them. 

No that is not a typo, this is the strategy I want you to take after setting your big goals. Now hear me out before you stop reading any further.

The reason I want you to forget about the big goal and where you will be at once it is achieved is because thinking about that is scary. If you have set yourself a big goal it may seem daunting and overwhelming, which, as mentioned previously, can lead to inaction and procrastination.

So what I want you to do now is set your whole focus on the seemingly insignificant action that you need to do consistently to achieve your goal because this action is what is going to lead to you achieving your big goal. Therefore, it really is the only thing that you need to worry about and focus on.

An example of this is: Imagine you are in a hotel and the lift is not working and your room is on the 20th floor. Now walking up the stairs to your room on the 20th floor is a massive ask and would be a very daunting task for some people.

There is no point standing around looking up all the flights of stairs that you need to walk up to get to your room. This is not going to help you get up there, or inspire you to get started.

Now if you changed your focus from having to get up 20 flights of stairs to only focusing on that one next stair that you need to climb to help you get there I bet you wouldn’t feel overwhelmed or worried about what you needed to do?

This is because climbing one stair is not stressful or daunting, in fact it’s actually easy. But it is the output/action that is required for you to achieve your bigger goal. Therefore, right now it is all you need to focus on.

This is the secret sauce of goal setting – focus only on the small action that is required to progress towards your big goal (once you have mapped out your goals). Repeat this step consistently and the goal you are working towards will take care of it itself. 

Benjamin May had a great quote, which reinforces the importance of having goals:

“The tragedy of life does not lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach”.

Please use the process outlined in this blog to take action. Spend some time to map out and design the life you want to live – give yourself some targets (goals), make them specific and time stamped, then make a plan and work out the small steps that you need to do consistently to achieve your goals.

We have given you the tools, now it’s time for you to do the most important step in the process – act!  

Ryan Porter is a Wealth Coach at Catalyst Wealth Group. His mission is to help his clients achieve financial success and live their ideal life.

Any advice or information in this publication is of a general nature only and has not taken into account your personal circumstances, needs or objectives. Because of that, before acting on the advice, you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives, financial situation or needs.