For some reason, I'm still shocked at how quickly Halloween flips into Christmas.
On the early afternoon of Oct 31st, I was in a toy store where I witnessed the salesperson removing Halloween stock and replacing it with Christmas items.
The symbolism of the Christmas season causes me to recognize the year is nearly a wrap and that a fresh year is only days around the corner.
I thought about the year behind me and asked myself two questions:
"Did I accomplish what I set out to accomplish at the beginning of this year"?
"Do I feel proud of what I accomplished this year"?
The answer for both was a resounding 'YES'!
You see, at the close of 2016, I wrote out everything I hoped to accomplish in 2017. This included business and personal goals. While not perfectly executed, I checked nearly everything I hoped I would, off my list. One of which included a cycling event where I rode my bike from Stanley Park in Vancouver, BC, 122KM (76 miles) and up 1,900 meters (6,233 feet) of elevation in an endurance event called The Whistler Gran Fondo which ended Whistler Village.
As endurance events easily parallel goal setting and goal achievement, I thought this to be a great example of crushing your goals.
A friend asked me, 'how could you complete that ride'?
The answer is simple, one pedal stroke at a time.
When riding that day, my mind quickly chunked up the length and time I'd be in the saddle into more manageable mental chunks - a form of coping, I guess. I rode with the next rest stop in mind, and, during much more challenging sections, I rode from telephone pole to telephone pole.
Every time my body said no more, my mind interrupted itself with, shut up and turn those pedals just-one-more-time.
And, you know what, 5 hours and 20 minutes later, soaked from torrential rain (for the entire duration), I shivered my way across the finish line.
I'm sharing this because crushing your upcoming year starts with planning now.
Start by reflecting on how you feel about the year gone by and start formulating your New Year's Resolutions for 2018.
You might ask yourself:
" Did I ask more of myself this year over last"?
" Did I set clear intentions and rise up to the challenge"?
"Did I stay comfortable or work to make myself uncomfortable"?
"What do I want for the year ahead"?
With the right planning and intention, this could be the year you absolutely CRUSH your goals!
I challenge you to start drafting resolutions, whether they be financial (saving money or paying off debt), material (buying a new home or a new car), adventurous (like traveling or sports related), or emotional (meeting your soul mate or spending time with family). Once you've written them down, start turning them into reality by using the guide below to craft and achieve your goals.
And, to keep you inspired, give these some thought:
A Guide to Crushing Your Goals
Find An Accountability Partner
Aligning myself with an accountability partner is one of the biggest game changers when I look to accomplish my goals.
One of my closest friends works in Real Estate. During the 2009 rescission, we would meet once a week for an accountability meeting. Our purpose in meeting was first to have a reason to get out of the house as the state of Real Estate was depressing at best, but second was to maximize our productivity.
During our meetings, we would discuss our long-term goals including smaller goals, like what we hoped to accomplish by the following week's meeting. It's not that she would smack me if I didn't complete my list by the following week, but knowing I had to report in, gave me some level of wanting a gold star. I wanted to follow up with her and say that I'd done everything I said I would.
When we first implemented our accountability system, we quickly rose to the top of our office statistics for sales volume despite the seriously pained Real Estate market.
Now, while I've moved on from Real Estate, we still connect weekly to share our goals, update each other on our progress, and pitch ideas back and forth. When I struggle to get something done, she'll offer another perspective or give me a kick in the ass when I need it.
If you're looking to crush your goals - align yourself with an accountability partner. It doesn't need to be daunting or scary - even a somewhat casual coffee or wine date once a week or twice per month can go a long long way to keeping you on track.
Ensure You Craft Smart Goals
If you've read or have been taught anything about goal setting, the S.M.A.R.T. acronym won't be revolutionary to you, but it will be a necessity. Implementing any goal without leveraging this acronym is wasteful and will totally dilute your chances of getting to where you want to be. You goal(s) should be:
While I wouldn't say I'm a highly spiritual person, I do believe that the unconscious mind does amazing things when paired with intention. In other words, goals that are vague don't allow the brain to get busy and fulfill them. Goals riddled with intent and specifics paint an internal picture the mind can interpret and help you with.
An example of a goal might be:
I want to pay off debt.
To improve it though, making it both intentful and more specific, it could read:
I WILL pay off my Visa and my Mastercard Debt.
The word want implies you'll try, but you might not get there. Using the word 'will' is it's own form of accountability, and adding the source of debt, again, helps your mind get clear on what it is you're trying to do.
In the same way, the example above became specific by adding the type of debt, adding something measurable makes clear exactly what you're working towards.
Creating a measurable goal might include:
I will pay off my Visa debt of $3,000 and my Mastercard Debt of $5,000.
What is your game plan for achieving your goal? Can you craft a plan to get there? We'll cover more of this in the balance of the article.
In regards to our debt example, adding the increments in how you'll pay your debt is one way of implementing action directly into your goal:
I will pay $500 per month to pay off my $3,000 Visa card and $5,000 Mastercard debt. My debt will be paid in full by Oct 2018.
During my MBA program, we were taught about formulating BHAGs - otherwise known as big, hairy, audacious goals. While these do have a place in getting the creative juices flowing, it is important that the goals you set are a stretch while still being achievable.
For example, if you've never played the violin, it might be a stretch to suggest you'll play at Carnegie Hall by the end of the year.
Can you add a timeframe to your goal? Working with the example above, your goal becomes:
I will pay off my Visa debt of $3,000 and my Mastercard Debt of $5,000 by Oct 14th, 2019.
Chunk it Up & Celebrate Small Wins
Similar to my ride from Vancouver to Whistler, thinking of the 122KM ride as a whole was too much to handle. Instead, I mentally broke the ride up into chunks (sometimes rest stops, sometimes by distance, and sometimes by telephone poles and in the smallest case, by pedal strokes). In that case, breaking the ride into segments would change in the moment and be based on how challenging the task was and the level of motivation and self-encouragement I needed at that moment.
And, with the completion of each chunk, you need some type of reward.
Similar to dangling a carrot - big goals are best met when you relish in the enjoyment of the process itself.
So, with your goals, can you see smaller sections when thinking of your action plan? If so, think of how you'll embrace the smaller accomplishments along the way.
When paying down debt, you might celebrate, by buying something for yourself - especially if you've been abstaining or living on a restricted budget.
Dieters might schedule a cheat meal or cheat day.
When I rode to Whistler, my small-win-celebration included refueling with gels (AKA candy-packaged-as-nutrition) and taking a break. And, to be honest, I was seriously motivated by the beer garden waiting at the top - that carrot carried me a long way.
Whatever you choose, ensure you pick something truly motivational for you, and something you'll feel good about.
Make it Visual
I recently read: You Are A BadAss at Making Money: Master the Mindset of Wealth. I loved her crass, no-bullshit language. The author, once perpetually broke, learned how, through her mindset, she could start attracting a better life.
Again, to give her mind a canvas to work from, she began immersing herself in the environment she eventually wanted to exist in.
She wrote it like this. For those wanting to save for a new car - test drive, now, the vehicle, you're looking to drive. Take in the smells, the feel. This alone can enhance the craving to have more - leaving you more likely to work harder to get what you want.
For runner and endurance athletes, attend other events - even smaller events until you're ready for the bigger event you might be working towards. Watching the participants revel in their accomplishment will have you seeking the same success.
To add to a visual, consider crafting a vision board (whether digital or actual) of how you see yourself. Cut out images that represent the written goals you're trying to achieve.
Or, add notes to your mirror with a permanent marker. Honestly, one of my financial blogger colleagues, Kylie Travers, uses this method to keep her on track. She swears it comes off with window spray. Kylie, feels visuals, are a big part of her success with goals.
After you create a visual in your mind, can you elaborate by considering how you'd feel when you achieve your goal? What would your life be like? What would change for you?
Leap from Your Comfort Zone
A friend of mine, based in Phoenix, Arizona, has a goals group she created through MeetUp.com. In it, complete strangers share their goals while asking for ideas and feedback from other members of the group. I had the opportunity to attend during my last visit to AZ.
While some goals shared were business related, others were more personal. As we were about to attend a conference together, my friend (the organizer) shared her conference-networking goals, detailing the number of clients she hoped to acquire as a result of the conference itself.
I interjected and asked her to up her game. In other words, she was being too soft on herself. As I saw her as a very skillful person, building an amazing niche business, I felt she could do more than the goal she was setting for herself.
She agreed, and upper her goal. Again, if you shoot for the moon, you'll land among the stars.
If you want a magical year, GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE.
If you want comfortable, average person results, then go ahead and set yourself COMFORTABLE, AVERAGE PERSON, GOALS.
Don't waste your time by setting up mediocre goals? That is unless you're looking for mediocre results.
Become Hyper Aware of Who You Surround Yourself With
All too recently, my other half and I were working hard at having an incredibly lazy day. We ate breakfast in bed and sat watching TV for hours on end. Essentially contributing nothing in the form of being productive.
With a smile and knowing he felt as guilty as I did, I looked to him and started to say, "You know……(long pause)….they say you're the average of the ……(long pause)".
He burst out laughing.
He knew my point.
If you're the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with, then what effect were we having on our average?
I work to keep this in my mind. I aspire to be the upper end of someone else's average, not the weight pulling the group down.
Weird, I know.
But, keep this in mind. If you're consciously working to achieve your goals, be mindful of who is radiating their personal emotional energies onto you. I can tell you, there is nothing more rewarding than spending time with people who are completely energized and pumped about the lives they're working create.
If your closest 5 don't resemble what you're looking to accomplish, try reaching out to networking groups, or other social spheres, to find people more aligned with what you're trying to accomplish and the person you hope to be.
To Crush Your Goals in 2018, Do This:
- Find An Accountability Partner - connect regularly.
- Draft Your Resolutions in the form of S.M.A.R.T goals
- Create Small Milestones and a System for Celebrating Along the Way
- Create Visuals for Your Goals
- Leap from Your Comfort Zone
- Take Inventory of the 5 People you Spend the Most Time With - and, if needed, make changes.
If you're interested in discussing the best practices for crafting a wealthy life, join us at The Anti Coupon Collective on Facebook.