Stay The Course

If you want to be your best self, you must first know yourself. If you want to set and accomplish meaningful goals, study yourself and discover what matters to you.

Great, so you’ve read our first 3 blogs (here, here and here) in this series and you have an awesome (short) list of realistic short- and long-term goals. And it’s living happily on a sheet of real paper written with a, wait for it… a real pen! Now what?

Ensuring that you are on track to achieve your goals is the next step. We’ve narrowed it down to 3 key areas – keeping track of your progress, positive reinforcement, and verbalizing your goals. Each of these ideas will help you to make sure that you don’t lose of track of what it is you’re trying to achieve and give you the best shot at reaching those goals that are most important to you.

Keep track of your progress

Schedule a few minutes each month to intentionally check in with your goals. Pen and paper folks might try jotting a few sentences in a journal about steps they took towards success, or try a Google or Pinterest search for “bullet journal goal tracking” for a zillion ideas on how to use pen and paper (or Google docs) to create a visual representation of your progress.

That said, pen and paper can be time consuming and technology have some incredible goal trackers to offer, the most convenient and affordable being a simple download on your smartphone. If you’re unsure which to try, Strides and HabitBull are both solid performers and have inviting interfaces you’ll look forward to using daily.

Positive reinforcement

Positive reinforcement encourages your progress and fans the fire of your desire to succeed. Offer yourself small rewards that are in line with your goals when you achieve a milestone. If you make a goal to put $9,000 into savings, find a simple (read: not financially extravagant) way to reward yourself for every $1,000 that goes to the bank.

A little celebration pastry from your favorite bakery or scheduling an hour to do something fun can be enticing enough to push you to that next milestone! That said, an extra large chocolate milkshake in exchange for losing the first 25 pounds of your 50-pound weight loss goal is a terrible idea. Acknowledge progress as you make it, but don’t blow your progress!

Talk about your goals

This is probably the most influential thing you can do to ensure success. Outside accountability works like magic. That said, neither Grandma Julie who swears you can do no wrong nor that carefree buddy who will never follow up with you is the right choice for this scenario. Instead, confide in a mentor, spouse, or trusted friend who will be committed to encouraging you. Give them a copy of your written goals and ask them to hold you accountable to them.

For me, personally, this part was key in pushing me to leave my job at JP Morgan and start Zoe. One thing is to write down that you want to start a company from scratch, another is to tell your spouse, parents, and mentors when you plan on doing it. Once I spoke about it, it suddenly became more real! It was scary but no doubt a necessary step to nudge me to take the jump. When you know you’re going to have to chat about it in the future to someone, a new layer of motivation is created and inspires you to get it done. 

With accountability for your goals, it feels disappointing to confess “I made no progress this week.” A good accountability partner or mentor is going to respond, “Yeah, that’s a bummer. What are you going to do about it?” and then celebrate your achievements with you as they happen!

You know what is important to you and that means there’s a powerful “why” behind every goal you set. Keep track of your progress, celebrate it, and be sure to go public and ask someone trustworthy to hold you accountable to achieving your dreams. Whatever has happened to goals in your past no longer matters; right now, you’re on track to be your best self.

Our 5th, and final, blog in this series is up next week – Change Is The Only Constant. It throws the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons as we ask the question, “What if I change? What if what I want changes? What if what I value changes? Then what?”.

To start from the beginning of this Wealth Is Personal series, click here.

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