financial goals

Only 9% Will Reach Their Financial Goals and Here is How They Do It

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I bet you’re ready for another post on the top 10 ways to start off the New Year, right?

Hardly.

The cold hard truth is only about nine percent of those who set a New Years resolution will actually follow it through to the end of the year. Therefore, instead putting together a cheesy top 7 ways to crush your goals this year, I decided to identify what the nine percent of goal crushers are doing to make their resolutions a consistent reality.

1. One at a time

Keeping the main thing the main thing.

Ideas bounce around inside our heads like ping pong balls. Therefore we end up making a bunch of New Year’s resolutions and a few months later we feel like we are running on seven different treadmills at the same time trying to keep up with every single one our goals that sounded good at the time.

My mentor is always reminding me to keep the main thing the main thing. Be an inch wide and mile deep instead of a mile wide and an inch deep. Find one thing that truly matters to you and focus, focus, focus. This one goal becomes the focal point and everything you do is working towards that one goal.

Picture a bicycle wheel in your mind. There is a tiny center piece called the hub – this is your one goal. Everything else you’re doing in your life is working towards that one goal.

Example: If your goal is to max out your 401(k) this year, then the other areas in your life need to also work towards that goal. One spoke in the bicycle wheel may be to turn off cable, one may be to cook at home more, and another spoke may be to pick up two overtime shifts per month. Everything is working together towards the hub – your one goal this year.

2. Goal vs Wish

A goal without a plan is a wish.

In the book The Four Disciplines of Execution the authors describe creating a goal that uses this formula as a way to measure and track progress. This goes hand-in-hand with the old adage – a dream without a plan is a merely a wish. You don’t lose weight next year, rather you want to go from 220 lbs to 190 lbs by December 31st of next year. A wish is to make more money next year, but a goal is to make an extra $10,000 by July 1st. A dream is to invest more for retirement, but a plan is to invest $5,000 more in my 401(k) by September 30th.

3. Make smaller wins along the way

Do you know how you eat an elephant? One bite at-a-time.

You should definitely set bigger goals to the point where they take you out of your comfort zone. This is why we create a goal – to do something that forces us to leave our comfort zone, right? We didn’t set a goal to drive to work today – that’s automatic. But, we may set a goal to drive to work and park in that spot reserved for “the boss” – that takes effort.

Since your goal is BIG (and it should be), you’re going to have a few stepping stones along the way. In the above example of promoting to “boss”, maybe that requires a lunch with Scott to get the meeting with Kara on the 10th floor, which gets you a one-on-one meeting with the current boss who needs to decide who his replacement will be when he retires in a year.

4. Start with the end in mind

Start with the end in mind.

I interviewed Jason on our podcast and asked him how he turned his idea into a multi-million dollar business in a relatively short amount of time. He told me he had a huge goal to fulfill a sales order that would change his life forever. The only problem was at the time of the order, his business consisted of him and his one assistant. To complicate things even more, they had just committed to an order that was 100x bigger than any other order they had previously done.

How did he accomplish his goal? He reversed engineered it. He knew how much time was needed to create each widget, and was able to work backwards to determine exactly how many people he needed to hire, train, and then produce per day to reach his goal of fulfilling that 100x order.

Let’s say you want to max out your ROTH IRA this year to $5,500. That sounds great, but how much is that per month, per week, and per day? Do you have to make any changes in your monthly budget, and if so, what changes will you be making each month? Your goal may be to save $5,500 by the end of the year, but this means you need to save $458 per month, $105 per week, or $15 per day.

5. Tell everyone

When you tell someone about it, it becomes real.

Have you ever secretly set a goal to do something and it never panned out? The reason why it didn’t come to fruition is because you had an easy way out – no one would ever know if you actually failed.

This is why it’s so important to tell as many people as you can about your goal. There is a reason why the business coaching industry is now over a $1 billion industry – people are willing to pay for that level of accountability from a coach.

When my wife and I were paying off $52,000 of credit card debt back in 2011, we told literally everyone what we were doing. It actually became a competition to pay off our debt faster—just to prove to the naysayers that they were wrong about us!

The good news you have a very high level of FREE accountability when you blast everyone you know and tell them your goal. Chances are the mere thought of someone telling you “I knew you couldn’t do it” or “I told you so” is just enough to make you skip the croissant for a banana and substitute the hour of the Bachelor Season 71 for an hour at the gym.

6. Re-evaluate and pivot

It takes change to make change.

When I was ten-years-old I had a goal to be a linebacker in the NFL. Things were going well until I hit high school and faced the reality that neither colleges nor the NFL were interested with 165lb linebackers. It was time to re-evaluate and pivot.

The truth is we are constantly changing, adapting and improving over time. Think back to a year from now and try to tell me you’re doing the EXACT same things in all aspects of life. It’s just not happening, right?

Your goals may need to be adapted slightly or even completely changed throughout the year and that’s okay. For example, your goal may be health related and you want to lose 20 lbs by May, but then you realize you actually like the way you look with a little more muscle and the number on the scale no longer matters. You don’t have to scrap your health goal this year; just pivot.

Instead of losing 20 lbs, maybe your goal changes to entering a fitness competition by September or running a half marathon by November. You’re still working towards that overall goal of improved health, but it looks a little different than it did on day one.

7. Accept failure, but not defeat

You can’t have success without failure.

Did you know we are ending the year with the most record breaking days in the stock market over the past 20 years? However, not every day this past year was a win and if you were watching the financial experts on some of these bad days, you would have probably believed the economy was getting ready to collapse.

This is the same when working towards your goals – you’re going to experience failure and it won’t be one isolated instance.

Your goal may be to lose 30 lbs by June 1st of next year and the first few months go perfectly as planned. But, then for some reason you gain 5 lbs back and you feel like the world just punched you the face and you’re a failure.

Wrong. This was part of the plan, remember? No one wins everyday – not even Lebron James.

Tell us your GOALS!

Since public proclamation is so powerful, I want to read your goals in the comments below.

Tell me about your financial goals, health goals, personal goals, or any other goals you have this year and let them officially become real. 

Five, four, three, two, one…let’s hear them!

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