- Personal Finance
How to Achieve Your Goals - Step-by-Step Directions
How to Get What You Want
Ever since I was young, I have directed the course of my life. I noticed something that I wanted, and I took the steps to get what I wanted. There were times I floundered, not because I was having trouble getting what I wanted, but because I was having trouble deciding what I wanted. To me, the decision-making is the hardest part. Once you know what you want, it is fairly easy to get what you want. Follow these step-by-step directions and you will be able to get what you want in life.
Step #1 - Set Your Goal
The first step in getting what you want is to decide what it is that you want. It seems very simple, but a lot of people go through life wondering why they can't get what they want, when they really don't know what they want.
Do you want to go to college, graduate early, buy a car, buy a home, get a promotion, telecommute, retire early, build up a savings account, travel the world, become a foster parent, be successful in your career, or become a writer?
I did all of those things, but not all at the same time of course. The key is to focus on one or two goals at a time.
You may decide to spend time with your sister, lose weight, or get married. The goal can be as big or as small as you want it to be, but realize that it will be your focus until you achieve it. It must be strong enough that you can commit to the goal until you have achieved it.
You will be able to specify deadlines for some of your goals, but others will be changes you make for your whole life. When you decide to live healthy, frugally, or conscious of the environment, you will need to take steps every day for the rest of your life.
Step #2 - Figure Out the Steps You Need to Take
Once you have made your decision about what you want, the rest of it comes pretty easy. The second step is to decide what you will need to do in order to get it. It is all right if you don't know what you need to do. Simply ask someone who has already done it, and they will likely tell you what you need to do. You might even want to get advice from more than one person to get a variety of perspectives.
Some goals are really easy to reach. Simply ask someone for something, get in line, or fill out the right form.
Other goals will require you to do some things ahead of time. If you want to buy a house, you will want to make sure you have a good credit record, and save up enough money for a down payment. Not all of your goals will require a financial action plan. If you want to become a foster parent, you will need to take some classes and get a safety inspection done on your home.
Figure out what you need to do, and plan out how you are going to do these things.
Step #3 - Follow the Action Plan
The next step is to simply follow the action plan that you have laid out for yourself. If you have a quick short-term goal, it will be easy to just follow the steps and get what you want.
If your goal is longer-term, you may encounter some obstacles. You need to watch out for these obstacles and find ways to overcome them so that you can get what you want.
Obstacle #1 - Changing Goals
The biggest obstacle I have seen is conflicting goals. People decide they want a big screen television and set about saving money for it. Then, they notice that their neighbor has new furniture, so they use their savings for that instead. They still want a big screen television, and now are unhappy that they do not have what they want.
It is very important to stay committed to your goals. It may seem like you should be able to change your goal in midstream. You can, but you need to remember that by buying the furniture, you are either giving up or delaying your original goal of a big screen television. Since you didn't even have the goal of buying furniture, chances are, the television was a bigger one, and you will probably regret not getting it. Stay focused until you get the TV and then work on the furniture.
Obstacle #2- Unnecessary Rules
One of my goals after I graduated from college was to learn to drive. I didn't have a car, so I took a Driver's Education class. Unfortunately, you could not use the teacher’s car to get your license. Since I didn't have access to a car, I could have given up, but this goal was too important. I decided to get creative and buy a car first, and then use it to take the test and get my get my license.
There really isn't a rule that required me to follow the proper order of getting a license first before getting a car. I thought the steps had to be taken in order, but they didn't. I thought I would have to save up to buy a car, but I was able to get a car with no money down.
Getting the actual facts instead of relying on what you think you know will help you find a way around this obstacle.
Obstacle #3 - Trying to Do it Alone
There are many goals that are easier to reach when you have help. If you accept the advice of others who have gone down a path, you will be able to learn from their mistakes without having to make them yourself. I needed the help of a friend to practice driving in order to pass the driving test and get my license. I wasn't allowed to practice alone.
Obstacle #4 - Life Happens
Sometimes there are obstacles everywhere you turn. When I decided to buy a house, I knew I could only afford to buy a duplex. That way, I could rent out the other side and get help in buying the house. In order to save money, I tried to get into the HUD auctions. It turned out that every duplex I bid on was taken off the market for some community project.
I decided to keep building my savings to get a single family house. Then, I got pregnant, and my savings for a down payment went towards paying for medical bills. Then, I decided to go after my Masters Degree. I thought I could still buy a house, but I did not have the time and energy to look for a house, go to school, and take care of my infant daughter.
After I got my Master's Degree, I still had difficulty getting a house. I bid on two houses that were taken off the market. I could have sued them, and insisted that they sell to me, but I decided I didn't want those particular houses bad enough. My real estate agent was insistent that we keep looking until I find a house. It turned out for the best, because as soon as we walked into this house, I could hear angels singing in my head. A quilter lived here, and it felt like home. This was the house that was meant to be my home.
Goal Setting Resources on Amazon
Obstacle #5 - Plan B
Many people will tell you that having a Plan B is a good thing. If you can't get what you originally wanted, have a backup plan ready. I disagree. Having a backup plan is actually what will keep you from getting what you want. Plan B makes it too easy for you to take the path of least resistance.
This doesn't mean you have to follow your plan rigidly. You may have to make some adjustments to meet your Plan A. The key is to properly identify Plan A and make it happen. If your goal is to have dinner with your sister, and the restaurant line is too long, you can go to another restaurant and still meet Plan A. If your goal was to eat at that restaurant, then you must be willing to wait in line, or choose a different day to return to the restaurant. Stay focused on Plan A and you can get what you really want.
Obstacle #6 - Mistakes
Chances are pretty good that you are blazing a new trail for yourself as you go after your latest goal. Since you've never done it before, you are bound to make mistakes. You may take the wrong advice and go down the wrong path. You may spend more than you needed to, or do something the hard way when there was an easier way. You may even fail your diet and eat a whole cheesecake.
Whatever you did wrong, forgive yourself, and step back on the right path. Mistakes are to be expected, and by forgiving yourself, you don't waste time with remorse and regret. You can quickly get back on the stairs and keep climbing.
Step #4 - Celebrate Your Success
I am confident that when you are passionate about your goal, you will easily identify and successfully manage to take the steps it takes to reach them, regardless of the obstacles you face on your path. Once you have reached your goal, celebrate your success. In fact, the more obstacles you had to overcome, the more proud you will be that you were able to succeed.
Then plan out your next goal. By choosing your goals, you choose the direction of your life, and feel much more fulfilled. Be confident and move forward.