If you’re a regular reader, you’ll know that we failed in 2014 to accomplish goals we set in terms of debt payoff. Although we, in total, spent less than we did last year, we didn’t put nearly as much toward debt as we did in 2013, our first year of working toward debt freedom. After diagnosing our mistakes, we’ve now got a plan in action to make sure we accomplish our goal of drastically reducing our debt. Here’s how:
Accomplish Goals by Making Them a Priority
The main reason we didn’t pay off more debt last year is that we didn’t make the goal a priority. By getting too comfy in our new frugal life, we forgot what the main reason for that new frugal life was, and it caused us to lose the priority status we’d previously had on paying off our debt.
Eat an Elephant One Bite at a Time
When you have a BIG goal in mind, like our goal of paying off our massive amount of debt, you can’t expect to achieve it in a week or in a month. It’s vital when working on a big goal to break it down into smaller sections and focus on those smaller sections, making your goals feel more achievable and less daunting.
Keep Steady Track of Progress
This year, we’ll keep our goals in the forefront of our minds by revisiting them on a weekly basis, and by consistently working on ways to reduce spending and increasing income so that there’s more cash to put toward debt. It’s when a person slacks off on revisiting their goals that those goals become a distant, non-achieved memory.
Revisit the List of “Why’s”
Everyone who has a goal should have a list of “why’s” for that goal, and have it posted clearly where they can see it often. If you have a weight loss goal, post your list of “why’s” on the fridge. If you have a financial goal, post your list of “why’s” above your computer screen. Put your list of “why’s” in a prominent place so that you can read it often and remember why the goal you’ve set is so very important to you.
The reason that 90%+ of resolutions and goals fall into the abyss of non-achievement is because there are not solid reasons and methods put in place that will help you achieve those goals. Don’t let that be you with your goals this year. We certainly don’t want it to be us. Put the methods listed above in place and work your goals until you win.
What will you do differently this year to make sure you win at the goals you’ve set for yourself. What’s the most lofty goal you’ve ever set and achieved?
Good luck Laurie, sounds like you have a solid plan to keep you guys on track. I think the frequent check ins are the key, because when you see yourself drifting you can course correct.
Thanks, Brian! Yeah, I think it’ll work out well. Very excited for 2015, as I’m certain you guys are too. 🙂
This is good, Laurie. This is why this year I am going to do monthly goals to help us stay motivated this year. I think breaking it down monthly will help us stay focus, in control, and we will help us evaluate our progress frequently.
I agree, Joyce. Sometimes I find that when I look too far in the future, I get a watered-down view of our goals.
Good luck on the goals this year! I think the “why” is the biggest thing missing from peoples’ goals. I have lost sight of my “why” as well — I will be focusing on that this year, while I work to pay off my student loan debt!
Same here, Alexandra. We WILL get it done – both of us. 🙂
I rarely think about the “why” behind a goal, and I think that’s the reason so many of mine were failures in 2014.
I am resisting the urge to set goals right now as I think I need to mix it up a bit, and spend more time on the real reasons I want to achieve things. Like, I know I want to lose weight…but it’s hard to articulate why other than, “I want to look good and impress people,” which is kind of shallow. 🙂
You crack me up, DB40. 🙂 I get it, though. We often look at the surface reasons behind our goals, and not the real reasons achieving those goals would benefit us.
I can’t help but think of Ramsey as I read this post. The whole bit about “focused intensity” is so important. It can seem life-sucking and dull to focus so much on debt-reduction, and distractions are very appealing, but it really is paving the way towards freedom. We are within 6 months or so of paying off our $80,800 business debt. We’re down to $18,000 as of this week. On to the next bite!
So excited for you guys, Prudence!!! I remember when you first started blogging about your debt, and how it seemed so far away to you, and now you’re nearly there. Woohoo!
I think the knowing why you’re doing something is a big one, otherwise you have no real motivation to do it. For instance if it’s “write more…” well why do you want to write more? Pros/cons? Benefit? I don’t think many people do that!
I agree, Tonya! The more specific one can get about the whys and hows, the better.
Keeping track keeps me accountable.
Yes, it really does work!
I track our debt totals monthly, but now will be discussing them with my husband, too. I think that will help motivate us more. Also, keeping the “why’s” top-of-mind is something I’ve lost sight of at times. As strange as this sounds, I’m so used to having debt, it’s become less shocking to me. I need to remind myself why I want to be rid of it.
We definitely go through that “being used to having debt” stuff too, Amy. After living with it for so long, it just feels normal!
Priorities get your time. When someone told me that it totally changed my life. If we don’t have time for it, then it must not be a priority.
LOVE that, Mark! Thank you for sharing. 🙂
“The reason that 90%+ of resolutions and goals fall into the abyss of non-achievement is because there are not solid reasons and methods put in place that will help you achieve those goals.”<—– I could not agree more Laurie! When you add that to not making them quantifiable then you're nearly doomed for failure. We've streamlined our goals for this year, made the list much shorter and quantifiable so we know what it is we're going for. Looking back at our failures last year it was the non-quantifiable ones we struggled with the most and hope to change that this year.
That makes sense, John. I guess the good part is that now we know, and now we’ll do better. 🙂
Sounds like you guys have found the passion that allows you accomplish big goals. I think keeping the goals in front of you regularly is vital. Tracking progress once a month isn’t enough, have a family meeting once a week to see what progress is being made. You have different metrics that can me used during those weekly meetings such as amount of spending that has been reduced thereby making available extra debt payments. Make it a family event and make it fun and I think you will be amazed at how quickly it becomes a priority and how much progress is made.
Thanks so much, Stoic, I appreciate the advice more than you know. Yes, we are working on making it a fun type of a challenge this year, and I think that’ll help lots.
Good luck on your goals this year, Laurie! I totally hear you on the “One Bite at a Time” idea. Every time I feel completely daunted by our debt and feel like it will never be gone, I remind myself that thousands of small steps add up to big steps!
That is so important to remember, isn’t it? I’ve been thinking about drawing an elephant on a piece of paper, and then drawing our debts inside of it with coordinating bite sizes, just for motivation. 🙂
Defining the ‘why’ has really been my biggest step in setting new goals and plans. What’s amazed me though is how difficult this process can be, and how much time and effort it takes to really do it properly, which might be the biggest reason many people don’t pay as much attention to it. It can definitely involve digging down pretty deep to your true values and desires, which can also be a little confronting!
You’ve got a fantastic plan and focus Laurie, your’re doing all the right things and I’m certain that you’re bound for success!
I think you’re right, Jason – it can be a difficult and time consuming process. But success is possible, for everyone!
Great actionable steps to help keep you on track with your goals this year Laurie! Awesome!!
As you said, it’s definitely about having compelling reasons to get goals in high gear. I know you can do what you set your mind to do and I’m looking forward to following your family’s progress!
I think revisiting the list of “whys” is a great strategy. I made it a goal to read the entire bible this year, but it’s not the first year that was a goal of mine. If I have any chance of succeeding at that goal I will need to constantly review the reasons “why” I want to achieve it.
“It’s when a person slacks off on revisiting their goals that those goals become a distant, non-achieved memory.” YES! I am very guilty of doing this myself. I create goals and start out doing well, get cocky and don’t do check-ins to really make sure that I’m still on pace. Suddenly, I’m not and then – boom – a once on pace goal because a failed goal. I definitely don’t want that to happen again so I’ve been taking my time even deciding what I want to focus on this year. I want to super-committed to my goals and have a very specific actionable plan in place from the get-go.
Thanks for this honest post! I guess a lot of people are ashamed to post that they failed to realize their goals. We’re only human and there are times when we fail. It’s by acknowledging our failures that we realize the means to achieve them. I also have my share of failed goals for 2014. So, this 2015 I have a deadline on that goal. This keeps me focused on reaching that aim.
Good luck with your goals Laurie! I am cheering you on!!! 🙂
I like that you realize that not completing a goal does not really mean total failure. A unrealized goal is not the end. It’s just an example of what not to do next time. The more times you fail the better chance you have of getting it next time. Back on the horse! if you will. Great job failing guys! Way to go! 😀
“The more times you fail, the better chance you have of getting it next time.” LOVE that, Mrs. WW! My thoughts exactly. 🙂
Great post! I think we all fail to accomplish goals we set because they no longer are a priority. that’s always been the case with me. If I keep a certain goal as a priority in my life it’s always achieved. So for me I have to remember why and focus on one or two at a time so it stays top of mind priority.
Agreed, Fig! This is why we set such a low number of goals this year: so that they can be front and center all year long.
This year I have actually set the loftiest goal of my life and that is raising money to grow my company. I really wanted to do this a year ago; however, I got great advice to build things slowly and smartly and I am glad that I didn’t tackle the elephant in one shot last year. I definitely feel better prepared for doing it this year.
Yay, Shannon!!!! Given your mission and the impact you’ve been having, I think that’s an AWESOME idea, and I know you can do it, my friend. 🙂
I agree with what you said – a lot of goals that don’t get accomplished are because the reason WHY isn’t prevalent or put in place. If the “why” is lost, the motivation will also be lost.
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