Setting goals has made a major difference in their financial life

My Story: Setting Goals

contributed by EF

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Last year in January I listed my major goals on a whiteboard that is in my home office so I could look at it every day. By April, I had actually accomplished all but a couple. Those I hadn't accomplished showed considerable progress was being made. I ended up typing up the goals that I was still working on, added a couple new ones, and printed it out to read at my desk every day. Then I erased the dry erase board, so I could use it for other things.

Now I am in the process of putting together my version of a vision board. I went to an office supply store and bought a white three-section presentation board very inexpensively. I'm clipping pictures and words that inspire me and relate to my goals. Once done, it will have a prominent place in my office, so I can view it regularly and be motivated to keep taking action.

Another thing that has helped me in setting goals and accomplishing them is spending time every day when I first get up and go to bed reflecting on what I really want and "seeing it" in my head. That was difficult at first but has gotten easier with practice. I also spend time being silent and letting ideas come to me. When I have ideas come to me, I write them down immediately in a cheap notebook bought for that purpose. Ideas come to me during sleep, when I am taking walks, in the shower, etc. The more I pay attention to them the more aware I have become when a good idea or opportunity is presented. I journal about a lot of things, including being more specific with my goals. Elaborating on them makes them even clearer in my mind and motivates me. I break down a goal into baby steps and then take action. I do put dates on when I want things accomplished, but am flexible when things come up that push them back. Also, sometimes my goal changes or I decide it isn't something I really want. Again, being flexible is important. One of my goals was moving to a specific house. I wrote an entire story as if I was already living there with my husband and three cats. I did move into the house and it really is much like that story but even better!

I write down the things that I want to accomplish each day. Some of them involve my goals and I make sure that these are listed as priority to get done first. Self-care is essential in being able to accomplish goals. The reason is that if you don't care for yourself first, your self-esteem will be low and you won't be able to help yourself or anyone else. This isn't being snobby or egotistical. It's about keeping yourself in the best physical, mental, and emotional state possible so you are more effective.

Positive affirmations are helpful, as is positive self-talk. Writing down accomplishments is important, so that on "down" days, I can look back to see how much I achieved. Reading things that are inspiring and helpful on an ongoing basis is valuable. Ongoing learning of new skills and a broad range information is a big help in achieving goals as well.

Along with this, avoid the gloom and doom naysayers who would bring your spirits down. If there are people in your life like this that you have to be around at times, be aware of this and set up boundaries for yourself. Find positive people who are accomplishing things to be your mentors and friends. Hang around supportive people who will encourage you and also give you a push when you need it. Listen to your self-talk and work on making it more positive. All of us have times when we just aren't at our best or experience what we perceive as failure. Realize this is normal in our human experience and that failure shows we are trying. Look for the lessons when this happens. Take risks. It's necessary to learn to be more comfortable with being uncomfortable sometimes in order to succeed and have a fulfilling life. Comfort zones need to be expanded. It isn't easy, but it is well worth it.

Lastly, pay attention to all the environments you spend time in for home, work, and play. Decorate your space in a way that resonates with you and makes you feel good to be in it. Realize your uniqueness and your tastes and let everything you do reflect them in the foods that you eat, music that you listen to, clothes that you wear, the colors that you choose, etc. Use all of your physical senses plus your intuition to guide you.

Goals should be made in many categories. People who have passion and a lot of interests in life tend to not get bored and are happier, more successful and satisfied with their life. If setting goals and working towards them is not your thing, you are just letting life happen to you. That is not nearly as fulfilling and wonderful as experiencing the amazing life you can have once you begin planning it to suit you. Do not let the "I don't have enough time" excuse get in the way of setting goals and taking action. What's important to you in life always should take top priority in your life. It's not easy when you first start to make the necessary changes, but it does get easier. Once you do this consistently, you will experience many "magical moments." You will have things come together for you easily at times. In fact, they will come together in better ways than you could have imagined. I have heard it said "aim for the stars and you might hit the moon." If you don't aim for anything in life, then you are settling for a mediocre experience. Choose wisely.

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it to

Take the Next Step:

  • Stop letting life just happen to you. It's time to contemplate the short-term and long-term goals that you'd like to accomplish.
  • Fore more on setting goals, please visit The Dollar Stretcher Library .

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