Sunday, January 20, 2013

5 Tips to Help Us Achieve Our Goals

Here's another article I wrote for POC last year (tweaked a sentence to fit the blog) that can help many who are currently setting goals for the New Year or are done with them and needs some help in ensuring that their goals are accomplished.  (The link to the published article is currently not working.)


How are you doing in meeting your goals?  Or should I ask you if you already set goals for the year?  If you haven’t started, you may find this previous blog post I wrote useful. 

Many people set goals at the start of the year; but not so many keep up their enthusiasm and commitment in pursuing these goals.  Thus, many end up not accomplishing what they said they will do or achieve come year end.  How can we ensure that we achieve the goals we have set this year?  Here are five tips.

1.  Write them down. It sounds simple but the positive effects are big.  Writing them down is the first big step to achieving your goal.  When you write down your goals, somehow you are expressing your commitment to make them happen because you do something to help you remember what you aim for.  Sometimes, we can get too busy that we forget that we actually set goals for the year.  Having a list to go back to for reference would be very helpful when we are in the thick of things and we want to make sure that we are heading in our desired destination.  And that is to reach or achieve our goals.

2.  Have a visual reminder of your goals.  So you’ve listed your goals.  But where did you put your list?  We need to remind ourselves of what we have listed and committed to achieve this year. Thus, we need to have visual reminders.  One way is to put your list of goals in a place where you will always see it like in your wallet, in one of the walls of your bedroom, in your refrigerator, message board or bathroom mirror.  Ask yourself: “Where do I usually go or look that if I put my list there, I will surely read it?”  You can also make a collage of pictures that represent or remind you of your goals.  For example, your goal is to save money so you can buy a new computer.  You can remind and motivate yourself to save by looking at that item that you want to purchase with your savings.  Or if your goal is to lose weight so you can wear your pre-pregnancy clothes again, you can include in your collage a picture of you wearing one of the clothes you want to wear again.  Another way to remind yourself of your goal to fit into your old clothes is to bring out of your closet one of those clothes and hang it in your closet door.  That way, you will be reminded of your goal every morning or every time you get something from your closet.

3.  Set up systems.  Study your goals and think of ways by which you can set up systems to make it easier for you to achieve your goals.  For example, if your goal is to slowly set up an emergency fund and you want to do this by saving P500 or P1,000 every pay day, then check if you can create a system such that you can deposit money automatically in another account.  My husband and I chose to do this through BPI’s autosave program called BPI Direct Save Up when we decided to start building our emergency fund.  Part of his salary goes straight to his other BPI savings account every pay day so that we are able to save automatically. You can also do the same in paying your bills.  Many banks and utility companies now provide that service if you want your bills to be paid automatically.  That is, if your goal is to pay your bills on time, especially your credit card to avoid late charges or finance charges.  This strategy of setting up a system can help us not only in saving money, investing or paying bills.  You can apply this principle, too, in tithing.  When I was still single, I decided to issue post-dated checks for my tithes at the beginning of every year.  That way, I ensure that I don’t forget to give back to God a portion of my income.  It also helps me stick to my commitment to give a specific amount all year round because I have made the decision to offer that amount at the start of the year.  It saves me from the temptation of lessening my tithe or being unfaithful in giving my tithe during times of financial difficulty.

4.  Schedule progress reviews.  We need to pause regularly to see if we are heading where we want to go.  If we don’t take time to evaluate our past actions, we wouldn’t know how much progress we have made or if we made progress at all.  That is why it is helpful to break down and translate our big goals like our goals for the year into quarterly or weekly goals.  Our successes in achieving our weekly and quarterly goals are indicators if we will be successful in achieving our annual goals.  Likewise, our failure in accomplishing our weekly and quarterly goals tells us that if we don’t do what we committed to do at the start of the year weekly or quarterly, we will fail to accomplish our goals for the year.  For example, your goal for the year is to invest at least P20,000 in stocks.  Then, you can check every quarter if you were able to invest at least P5,000 in stocks.  The same principle applies when for example you want to earn an extra income of P2,500 per month.  You need to check on the indicators.  Like did you earn extra in the past weeks? What do you need to do so you can achieve your weekly goal that will bring you closer to achieving your monthly goal and your yearly goal eventually?

5.  Make yourself accountable to someone.  When you make yourself accountable to someone, you get someone as witness in your adventure.  That’s why sharing your goals with someone or a group of people can increase your commitment in accomplishing your goal.  They can help remind you of what you have set at the beginning of the year.  Moreover, you become conscious that there are people watching you whether you can reach our goal or not.  Because a lot of times, when no one is watching or no one knows of a specific goal you have set, you can be easily tempted to give up when working hard to achieve it becomes difficult.  For example, your goal is to drink at least eight glasses of water each day.  It would be a big help to you if you’ll share it with your spouse so he can remind you or check on you every now and then if you’ve been hitting your goal.  Or if you want to save on your electricity bill by watching less tv.  Share it with the other members of your household.  Help them help you stick to your commitment and achieve your goal.

Choose one or choose all of these tips so you can step closer and closer to your desired destination.  Keep on keeping on!

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