“Don’t lower your expectations to meet your performance. Raise your level of performance to meet your expectations.” — Ralph Marston
As the weather starts to warm up and the kids start counting down the days until the school year ends, you can almost feel the laid back energy of summer building. For me, the time between school ending in June and starting up again in September always feels like the fastest 10 weeks of the year which is why this year I’m making sure I do a mid-year check-up on my goals so that I don’t lose momentum or get off track over the summer. It’s a simple three step process: Review. Refine. Refocus.
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In order to be effective, all goals need to be S.M.A.R.T. When you have a clearly defined goal with a plan, it’s easy to gauge whether or not you’re on track. This year I set goals related to all areas of life: finances, relationships, career, health, community, family, spirituality etc. Some of my goals are short-term and some are longer term so some will be completely finished by the end of the year and others will be partially complete.
Related article: Setting SMART Financial Goals
This year I've been especially focused on my financial goals; I set specific targets for how much debt I wanted to pay off and how much I wanted to save by the end of the year and so, far, I'm doing well. Reviewing your goals on a regular basis allows you to keep track of how you’re doing and increases the chances that you’ll accomplish your goals. It’s a good idea to write your goals down and to post them somewhere that you can see them so that you have a daily reminder of what it is that you’re working towards. I've always written my goals down but making sure that I keep them visible has made a huge difference to the success of my goal setting over the past few years.
Life is constantly in motion. Circumstances change, priorities shift and so, in order to be effective, our action plan for reaching our goals has to be flexible enough to evolve if our situation changes. Taking the time to review your goals every few months not only reminds you of what it is that you’re working towards but also allows you to amend your goals or your plan if necessary. I’ve made some small changes to my action plans over the past few months but my goals have essentially stayed the same. For example: I started the year with a goal to visit my family in England at the end of May and then modified it to the end of August so that I had more time to save and could make it a longer trip.
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I’ve also changed the time-frames on some of my debt repayment and savings goals as a result of creating a new income stream that will help me get where I want to go a little faster.
Our success in achieving our goals is rooted in psychology. In order to be successful we must have a strong motivator that drives us and keeps us on track towards our goals as well as a strong belief in our own ability to achieve them and the fact that we deserve to have the rewards associated with achieving them. Reviewing and refining our goals allows us to celebrate how much we've accomplished since the beginning of the year and to re-ignite our desire to keep moving towards our goals.
Related article: Do you believe you can be wealthy?
I believe that the biggest obstacles we have to overcome in reaching our goals are the ones we create ourselves through the reasons we use to justify why we can’t achieve the goal, why we should start tomorrow, why it’s ok to set our sights lower or to stay just where we are. Reviewing your goals on a regular basis helps you detect any issues that might affect your plan and helps you stay excited about your progress.
How often do you do a check-up and review your goals? How are you doing this year? I’d love to know…