Looking back at my life over the past five years or so, my life has definitely changed for the better. There are a lot of reasons why this is the case, but I think one of the main reasons why my finances have improved is due to goal setting. Goal setting has helped me identify areas of my life that I want to improve in and map out a way to improve. Many people I talk to don’t set goals because they say that they don’t want to set goals and then not accomplish them which would make them feel like a failure. But if you set goals, but weren’t able to accomplish all you set out to do, is that really to be viewed as a failure?
Take, for instance, setting financial goals. Let’s say you had $12,000 left on your student loan at the beginning of the year. When setting your goals for the next year you decide you want to pay it off in full by the end of the year, meaning you’ll have to average paying $1,000 a month on the debt. What if at the end of the year, due to life happening, you only pay down $9,500 leaving a balance of $2,500. Is that really a failure on your part? I say NO because you paid off $9,500 in debt! How many can say that they did that? And how much would you have paid off if you didn’t set the goal? Probably a lot less than $9,500.
Sometimes we view failure as a black or white issue. But it always isn’t like that. One of the best goal setters I know, career coach Dan Miller, says that he sets his goals so that he has about a 50-50 chance of hitting them because it would scare him to death to reach all his goals because he would wonder if he aimed too low. I really like that mentality, so next time you don’t want to set goals due to the fear of not being able to reach them or get down on yourself for not reaching them, don’t. Instead realize how much more you are accomplishing by setting your bar high.