How To Make Your Goals More Attainable


Throughout my life, I have created many different goals. Some I accomplished and others I did not. Interestingly, when making the goals I could usually tell you whether I was likely to accomplish them but I couldn’t explain the difference between the ones I was going to accomplish and the ones I wasn’t.

Thanks to a recent report that suggests that there are actually six ways to improve your follow-through on self-improvement I have a better grasp on the reason I felt confident in some of my goals.

1. Start with a keystone habit, like exercise. A keystone habit is one that improves a variety of other habits by helping you see yourself in a different way. If you exercise, you tend to feel better about your body, eat more healthfully and procrastinate less often—a three-for-one deal.

2. Start small. If you want to floss more often, start by flossing just one tooth. Yes, that sounds silly, but eventually, if you start lazily, you’ll get in the habit of having the floss in your hand once or twice a day, and you’ll address those other teeth in your mouth. If you start off too ambitiously, meanwhile, the habit is never formed in the first place.

3. Make a plan for how you’re going to follow through on the resolution. One interesting study showed a group of students photos of what could happen to them if they failed to get a preventive tetanus shot. Another group was given a map to the clinic and were helped to put an appointment on their calendar. Guess which group showed up to get the shot? 28% of the students who left with a plan followed through on it, while only 3% of those who saw the awful consequences of contracting tetanus got the shot. Writing down your goals, and putting your times to exercise on your calendar, can improve your odds of keeping your resolution.

4. Bribe yourself. Pick something you want, and give it to yourself only if you follow through on your resolution. One study participant wanted to listen to the audio book of the Hunger Games, so she only allowed herself to listen to it at the gym. Suddenly, she was looking forward to sitting on the exercise bike.

5. Remind yourself. You can set the alarm app on your phone to encourage you to save money, reduce smoking or go to the gym. You can make a checklist of the things you want to do every day.

6. Partner with someone to help keep you accountable. Whether they are a paid coach, advisor or just a friend they can make a difference. Your support network can hold you accountable to stay on that financial goal, stopping smoking or spending more time at the gym. They might even join you in the accomplishment.

The next time you decide to set a goal. Pick some of these tips and integrate them into your plan. Odds are you will significantly increase your chances of succeeding.

-Marshall Rathmell-

*Some of the material above was prepared by Bob Veres Inside Information

Marshall Rathmell

Marshall Rathmell

Marshall Rathmell CFP®, CPA/PFS is the CEO, Shareholder and Financial Planner with BCR Wealth Strategies.