Last week we discussed the importance of focusing on one major goal at a time instead of attempting to carry out all the items on your money to-do list. The idea is to concentrate your efforts on the activity that would have the biggest impact on your finances right now. By breaking down that task into smaller steps and doing something every day, you would be more likely to succeed.
As simple as this plan sounds, I know that it can be difficult to stay on track when distractions and disappointments come our way. When it comes to goal achievement, it really is a case of 'easier said then done.' If you want to make the most out of 2013, you need to learn some practical strategies to help you persevere and press on until you accomplish all your objectives.
Don't kill your dreams
To become an effective goal getter, you will need to overcome one of the biggest dream defeaters that prevents people from actualising their plans. Victor Kiam got it right when he declared that "procrastination is opportunity's natural assassin," as many dreams die a slow and painful death simply because persons failed to take action on them.
Self-development and peak performance guru Brian Tracy authored a book that documents '21 great ways to stop procrastinating and get less done in more time.' Eat That Frog! is one of the key resources that I often consult as I try to keep focused on accomplishing my objectives. Let's look at some of Tracy's suggestions that may help you stay on top of your goals this year.
Eating frogs for breakfast
There is a saying that if the first thing you do each morning is eat a live frog, you can be satisfied that it will be the worst thing that will happen to you all day long. According to Tracy, your frog is your most crucial task, "the one you are most likely to procrastinate on if you don't do something about it now". It can also provide the greatest positive impact on your life at this time.
To eat your 'frogs', you need to become efficient at prioritising various tasks and starting with the most important activity every single day. Tracy declares that there will never be enough time to do everything you have to do. "You will never get caught up; get that thought out of your mind." His advice is to eat your frog by staying on top of the job that really matters.
Clarity, clarity, clarity
It's difficult to identify your 'frog' if you don't even know what you want to accomplish in life, Tracy explains. People get more work done faster if "they are absolutely clear about their goals and objectives and they don't deviate from them". You will be tempted to procrastinate if you are unclear about what you are supposed to do or why it's important for you do it.
Tracy's step-by-step solution to this confusion is as follows: Spend some time to envision what you really want and record it in a written format. Establish a deadline for completion, then make a list of all the smaller tasks that are necessary for your goal to be achieved. "Do something, do anything" immediately to get you started, and resolve to act on your plan every day until it's complete.
Consider the consequences
Setting goals is an important tool in managing your money; when you are goal-focused you are less likely to waste your income on frivolous things. Goals allow you to adopt a long-term view of life and thereby help to direct the actions you do right now. You must recognise that today's choices will ultimately affect tomorrow's reality.
To overcome procrastination, Tracy says you should ask "what are the potential consequences of doing, or not doing this task?" He asserts that successful people are willing to make immediate sacrifices to obtain future benefits. When you are aware that the task at hand will have a major positive impact on your future, you will be less likely to procrastinate.
Learn to succeed
Tracy notes that one of the main reasons that people delay important activities is they lack the confidence about knowing what to do. "Feeling weak or deficient in a single area is enough to discourage you from starting the job at all." The way to combat this sense of inadequacy is to learn how to become better at eating your 'frogs', he reveals.
It is possible to obtain the information you need to accomplish your key tasks, Tracy insists, as everything is learnable. It is also important to continually upgrade the skills you already have. In today's technologically-driven world, knowledge can become obsolete really fast. "The more you learn and know, the more confident and motivated you will feel."
Next week, we will continue to examine other strategies that you can utilise to ensure that your resolutions do not fizzle away by the end of January, but instead last throughout the year.
Cherryl is a money coach, business mentor, and founder of Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services. Her upcoming book, "The 3 Ms of Money" will reveal all the secrets she learned about financial success. Get more advice on money and business matters at www.entrepreneursinjamaica.com and www.financiallysmartadvice.com. Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.