Lessons From My Successes and Failures At Achieving Goals

There is one big lesson I learned this year about what it takes to have success at reaching my goals:

If I’m going to be successful, the goal needs to get top priority when it comes to my time and my budget.

Almost 12 months ago, Nathan and I sat down and decided that we absolutely needed to finish funding our emergency fund this year. It was a lofty goal, but an important one. It meant more than doubling what we had saved the previous year. When our next pay check arrives, unless a crazy emergency happens, we will have met our goal!

So, what did we do differently this year?

  • We put money into our savings account before allocating anything to our discretionary spending.

    We knew exactly how much needed to go into savings each month and plugged that number into the budget. Some months, due to our varying income, that meant that we had less money for fun things.

What does this have to do with non-monetary goals?


Photo credit: stockmonkeys.com

I’m so glad you asked! How we spend our money and our time is very similar. It tells the real story of where our priorities are. I can say that I put a high priority on spending time with my kids, but if I let everything else crowd out my ability to do that, it wasn’t that high of a priority, was it? **gulp**

If you say your priority is to finish your emergency fund, but you can’t afford to do that and to enroll your kids in dance lessons, you’re going to need to decide which thing is really more important or you need to bring in more income. If you can find room in your budget for cable television and a cleaning lady, but not for saving money, I can tell you what is more important to you.

  • Figure out how much time and money you need to meet your goal and consider that time/money unavailable for anything else.

If you need to save $200 a month, consider having it automatically sent to your savings account.

If this is the year you determine to finish something you have never finished before, you’re going to need to declare certain blocks of time on your calendar sacred and unavailable for anything else. I’m guessing this is on reason many highly successful people get up early.

Do you know you don’t have to wait until January 1st to work on a goal?

  1. Choose one goal that you’ve had trouble achieving.
  2. Look at your calendar for the next week and block out time to work on that goal. Do it right now!
  3. Leave me a comment telling me about it!


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