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Do you feel behind when it comes to achieving your monthly, quarterly, or yearly financial goals?
In the past, things worked out great at the beginning because you were making progress and crushing your goals. But wait… two months in and you realized that something’s changed. What happened? Why did you suddenly stop?
Did work get in the way?
Are you a busy parent?
Or did you just lose all of your motivation?
Maybe all of the above.
Whether your goal is to save more money, get fit, or become the winner of America’s Got Talent, it’s important to work on them and stick to your plan. If you reallyyyyyyy wanted it that badly, you’d go get ’em, Tiger!
Today, I will share with you an approach that tends to work more often than not. Just hold your horses before we get to that section. 😉
In one of my previous posts, 11 New Year’s Resolutions That Will Improve Your Finances (#11 is a Game Changer), I talked about goals that would make you financially (and physically) healthier. If you haven’t read this post yet, go ahead and check it out. You’ll love the last two tips!
Now, it’s great to set New Year goals and actually achieve them. But according to Joesph Luciani from U.S. News, about 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February. No matter how good your intentions are, that’s just the unfortunate truth.
Fortunately, there are two secret ingredients that can help you!
Secret #1: Why do we fail to reach our goals?
According to this same article, it’s aligned with what I wrote in my post as well. Luciani says:
Unless you first change your mind, don’t expect your goals to materialize. As the saying goes, it’s not the horse that draws the cart, it’s the oats.
Yes, your mind and how you think will motivate you to act. In addition to changing your mindset, there’s an approach I recommend when listing out your goals.
“Well, what’s that?” you ask.
Some of you may have heard the story about Warren Buffett and his personal pilot, Mike Flint. But if not, here goes.
Secret #2: A Bedtime Story of Mike Flint’s goals
According to this story told by Mike Flint, Warren Buffett asked him to do the following:
– write down a list of his top 25 career/life goals
– review the list VERY carefully and circle his top five goals
– separate his top five goals “List A” (circled) from “List B” (his other 20 goals that are not circled)
Once that was done, Flint told Buffett that he will work on his top five immediately.
“And what about the ones you didn’t circle?” Buffett asked.
Flint’s response was: “Well, the top five are my primary focus, but the other 20 come in a close second. They are still important, so I’ll work on those intermittently as I see fit. They are not as urgent, but I still plan to give them a dedicated effort.”
Ah, that makes sense! Sounds good, right?
Buffet replied, “NO! You’ve got it wrong, Mike. Everything you didn’t circle just became your avoid-at-all-cost list. No matter what, these things get no attention from you until you’ve succeeded with your top five.”
“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.” – Warren Buffett
Unless you’ve achieved your top five goals, say no to everything from #6 to #25 regardless of how great they are!!
So, here’s an example of how the two lists should look:
Eliminate, Prioritize, and Focus
Less is always more. It’s a philosophy I go by.
According to the story, Warren Buffett says to eliminate even the “good options.” To him, the other 20 goals on your “List B” are just a distraction no matter how great they sound.
I know that there are so many great opportunities out there, but the truth is we can’t catch ’em all.
I mean, we only have a pair of hands, right?
Not to mention, we have 24 hours in a day but only about 9 to work with (and most of that time is spent at your job). This is after factoring:
– eight hours of sleep
– an hour or two to get ready (for women)
– half an hour to poop (for men)? BTW, who uses money to wipe their… you-know-what?? haha…
– an hour or two of total commute time to work, and back home
– another two to three hours to eat your breakfast, lunch, and dinner (even longer when you’re spending time with your friends and family)
For goodness sake, can you believe that 16 hours is dedicated to sleeping and just doing the basic stuff to live?? It’s no wonder why Warren Buffett says to only focus on your top five career/life goals and just forget the rest (for now)!
Overall, there’s only ONE of you!
I recommend you to read this awesome article If You Commit to Nothing, You’ll Be Distracted By Everything, by James Clear. In this article, he brings up the “complete it or kill it” approach. Clear says if something is really important to you, then complete it. If not, kill it.
It’s better to have five goals accomplished than 25 that are a quarter to half completed. The truth is that nothing will ever get done in the latter. Again, less is always more – and I mean A LOT more!
It’s okay to set short-term goals that eventually become longer-term.
So far, I’ve been talking about longer-term goals (okay, maybe your “2018 resolution” isn’t a long-term goal, but you get what I mean).
Aside from thinking about career/life goals, you can also apply Buffett’s strategy to your quarterly, monthly, or even weekly financial goals. A great way to do this is to set short-term goals that will lead you to your ultimate end goal. For example, if one of your top five financial goals for 2018 is to save at least $10,000 for your emergency fund, you might want to consider breaking this down into a weekly goal.
Related: How To Build Your Emergency Fund Stress-Free!
So, you may write down: “My goal for this week (by January 7th) is to save $200 for my emergency fund by selling $100 worth of stuff that I don’t need and saving $100 from my paycheck before buying anything.”
Next week, your goal may stay the same (i.e. to save $200 again), but your source of money may come from somewhere else.
For instance, this time, you may write down: “My goal for this week (by January 14th) is to save $200 for my emergency fund by earning $50 from mowing my neighbors’ lawns and selling one of my refurbished coffee tables that I designed for $150.”
Whether it’s weekly, monthly, or quarterly, make sure to write this down and keep track of it for the entire year. As you progress, you WILL see incredible results! If you promise me that you’ll stick to your plan despite the ups and downs, I promise you that things will work out!
Also noticed that my goal examples are specific to what I want to achieve and by a specific time (a date). When setting your goals, also make sure they are realistic and achievable. Most importantly, you must take action! But of course, don’t give yourself something that is too easy either. That would be pointless and defeats the purpose of setting goals in the first place.
Free Printable Binder That I Highly Recommend
Speaking of financial goals, I was reading Eden’s blog from Mint Notion. She just created a gorgeous “2018 Budget/Financial Freedom Binder” (free printables) for her readers to download. I downloaded this binder and I absolutely love everything about it. It’s very pretty, well-organized, and simple to use.
It will help you track your income and expenses and motivate you to spend less, save money, and pay off your debts. When it comes to budgeting tips, Eden’s your go-to girl. 🙂
To get more details about it, visit her post here. So, head on over to grab your free binder and start crushing your 2018 financial goals!
It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings!
Again, you have to stay focus on your top five priorities! Even if you hit a roadblock halfway, don’t give up. For example, you may have missed your weekly target of $200 in your 20th week. Or even worse, you may have missed two whole months! Whether you saved $0 or $80 for that week or month, pick yourself up and keep going.
Ask yourself why you fell short of your goal.
Is it because you were too busy, lazy, or you just forgot? Perhaps the goal wasn’t realistic. Whatever the reasons, don’t give up.
At that moment, ask yourself what options you have to make up that shortfall and get back on track.
Yes, I’m telling you that it’s okay to be off track a bit sometimes (only if it’s for good reasons). All that matters is the end result.
This is the part where I’m going to tell you again and again that your mind plays a critical role in achieving your goals.
Once you tell yourself it’s over, then yes, it’s over. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, so don’t let it happen to you. Tell yourself that you CAN do it! Sounds so cliche, but hey, it works!
“I didn’t come this far only to come this far” – Anonymous
80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February according to Joesph Luciani.
There are two secret ingredients that will help you achieve your new year goals. So, don’t worry. You can still make things happen. It’s never too early nor too late!
Honestly, I just call them “life” resolutions or “life” goals because it doesn’t matter when you start. Most people like to use January as a benchmark, but I personally see every day the same way. The most important part is that you start and stick to it.
Anyway, to sum up, the two secrets are to:
1) Follow Buffett’s “A-List” (top five goals) vs. “B-List” (ignore list) strategy.
2) Change your mindset.
When you’re done writing down your 25 items and circling only your top five (and ignoring the rest), you can break them into a weekly, monthly, or quarterly progress. These baby steps will ultimately lead you to your end goal(s). Once you fully completed your top five goals, it’s time to move onto your next most important goal.
And of course, work on your mindset. If it’s determined, your actions WILL follow!
Over to you
Are you ready to crush your 2018 (*ahem* I mean “life”) goals??
Want some more Warren Buffett and RICH inspiration to get you movin’ for 2018? I got some here for you!
– 5 Amazing Money Tips From a Billionaire
– This Investment Beats Bitcoin
– This Quote Will Make You Uber Rich!
– You Can Live Like This Billionaire: Here’s How!
– 10 Ways To Develop a Rich Mindset: #10 is Seriously Mind-Blowing!
– 15 Financial Goals That You MUST Achieve: What’s Your Score?
If you like what you read, don’t forget to subscribe (at the yellow bar on top) for more weekly money tips and inspiration! I promise that I do not spam. I also do not share anyone’s information.
I’m wishing all of you a Happy New Year! May 2018 bring you joy, health, and prosperity!
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You nailed it! To achieve you need to have that burning desire for your goal, mentally – then track the heck out of it as your main focus.
Anyone that follows what you wrote here, really follows it, will find themselves miles closer to success as 2019 rolls around.
haha I love that “burning desire” term… it’s like my new favorite term now LOL
And by the way, that “burning desire” comes from the person’s mindset. 😉
Leo T. Ly
Setting less goals is definitely more productive for me every year. In recent years, I have narrowed down to less than five a year. This is because I have four minor goals and one major goal. If I achieve all my four minor goals, I will most likely achieve my major goal.
My major goal every year is to increase my net worth by either $100k or 10% over the previous year. I am happy to have income net worth by 16.8% last year and will try to increase it by another 10% this year. Hopefully, the market continues to cooperate so we can all achieve our goals this year.
fin$avvypanda @ finsavvypanda.com
That’s amazing that you set yourself only a few goals. That’s why you’re killing all of it!! (as we can all see on your NW updates) 🙂
Awesome job, Leo!
Even if markets fall, then oh well… there are always future opportunities that will come! Plus, it’s how you do overall in the long term. As long as you stick to your regular savings/investing plan, you’re set for life 🙂
Kong @ Kongtemplate
Just recently spelled out my goals for the year (a tad bit late, I know). But I’m excited to get into action. I have definitely been part of the 80% failure statistic in the past.
Definitely a scary number to have to deal with. That doesn’t stop me from making goals. But just like you mention – less is more. I completely agree! It’s better to pick your battles and tackle what’s really important rather than trying to hit a million goals with no real chance.
Great post as always!
fin$avvypanda @ finsavvypanda.com
All recovered up from Canada’s cold weather? haha.
Yeah, once you focus in just one area, you will likely excel at it. 🙂
It’s never too late or too early to start. The most important part is getting started and progressing without giving up!
Thanks for dropping by!!
Sara @ Gathering Dreams
I am so bad at writing goals down! I definitely have goals I want to achieve but they are mostly in my head and I would love to have them written somewhere!
But 2018 is the year!
I will write my goals and see what happens by the end of the year.
fin$avvypanda @ finsavvypanda.com
I know one of your goals is to grow your blog 🙂
You’re doing an amazing job at it, so keep it up, Sara!!
I’ve heard about Buffett’s goal setting approach before but have never tried it. Maybe I’ll give it a whirl this year. One piece of advice to add, after setting your goals make them visible! Out of sight, out of mind…
The advice by Warren is fantastic! Giving yourself less to focus on will lead you to quality results. I absolutely love the less is more approach! 😊
Definitely give it a shot, but of course set challenging and reasonable goals!
Happy new year to you!
Thanks for dropping by. I saw your note RSF. Thnx for the warm welcome. I’m looking forward to visiting your bloggie 😁
I haven’t even wrote down my goals yet for this year, I just have it in my head. Your post reminded me that I need to jot them down….maybe even do a post of my own goals soon.
Five goals is a good number to try to accomplish for a year. I think accomplishing them is a matter of focus and commitment. If you have these two down then you should be on your way to achieving them.
I still have to write mine down too and I’m going to use Mint notion’s printable binder. 😁
I find writing them down tends to make you do it more than thinking about it. And yes, if you write a blog post that works too! Now the www knows what your goals are and you’re more likely to act hehe.
Happy new goal setting for 2018 👍