Have you ever set a goal for yourself only to fail and ultimately give up?
Everything always begins well- you are excited, motivated, and ready for success. However, a few weeks, or maybe just days, into the process, something comes up. You don’t progress as quickly as you had hoped. Your excitement begins to wane and slowly fade until it disappears. Before you know it, you’ve given up.
Has this ever happened to you?
It’s happened to me- many times.
Thankfully, failure is a good teacher.
Here are some common goal traps we fell into and how to overcome them.
Before I had a plan…
I had heard about and “began” the Dave Ramsey plan several times before we actually made any progress. I started:
- When I graduated from college.
- When I found out I was pregnant.
- After my son was born.
All of those “starts” lasted a few months, yielded little progress, and no real results.
I like to think of them as false starts- not failures. They were practice runs, tastes of the real thing.
I was starting, but I wasn’t convinced. Although I wanted to be financially free, I wasn’t ready to work harder or make sacrifices to get there. Frankly, I just wasn’t desperate or determined enough to make changes.
For us, it took hitting rock bottom and seeing no other way out to finally take the leap.
You don’t have to wait for that point.
Please, don’t wait until you get to that point. Learn from my mistakes instead.
What we were doing wrong:
1. We wanted a quick and easy fix.
When I am in a bind, I want to get out ASAP! So, when faced with these three options:
- Consolidate debt and feel free now.
- Get another credit card to “pay” those bills.
- Buckle down and actually pay your bills.
I chose one of the first two every time. However, because the solution was fast and painless, I didn’t change my habits or my lifestyle. Therefore, the problem grew instead of shrinking.
2. I had to change.
Sadly, the real problem behind most of our life hang-ups is us. If you want to make a change, the first step is recognizing that YOU have to change- your habits, your lifestyle, your mindset.
It was easy to view our situation as life happening to us. “We are broke because my car broke down and then our son got sick and then….” Sometimes life is rough. Unexpected things happen.
For us, it was easier to just swipe the credit card to pay for whatever we needed or wanted to ease the pain, and then move on. However, the easy way led us to where we are today.
Are you there too? Knee deep in debt, trapped in a job or home you hate, stressed and frustrated?
If so, it is time for YOU to make a change. Your life circumstances won’t change until you do.
You have to recognize that in order to get anywhere you have to make changes to your habits. Everything starts with you. In order to succeed, you have to be ready to overcome and move beyond the circumstances.
You can’t stumble your way into debt freedom, or any worthwhile achievement. You have to fight for it. Wishy-washy fighters never win. You have to want to achieve your goals with all of your heart, mind, and soul. If you are ready for some lasting change, click here to sign up for 30 Days of Change- a free goal setting course and challenge.
3. We were trying to hide our struggles.
True life changes are never short, easy journeys.
Getting out of debt requires living a lifestyle you can actually afford- without credit cards, loans, or debt. For us, that meant some big changes.
At first, we didn’t want anyone to know we were broke. We tried to keep up appearances. However, that only made the problems worse.
Appearances are expensive.
The truth is free.
We were living a lie and eventually we had to fess up and pay for it.
4. We had no plan.
During our false starts, we said we wanted to be debt free but we didn’t follow our words up with actions, partially because we didn’t know where to begin.
After we took Financial Peace University, we had a plan for getting out of debt. We learned to set goals and work together. We began to view progress differently and that allowed us to see success. Recognizing those little successes encouraged us to keep going.
Do you want to make a change?
Basically, in order to create positive change, you are going to do the opposite of everything we did above. To make it easy to remember, I have condensed everything down into five steps:
1. Commit with Confidence– It is one thing to say “I am going to be debt free.” It is another to believe it. However, until you believe something wholeheartedly, you aren’t going to give it your best effort. You have to make a commitment to reaching your goal and be confident that you will get there.
Dream of what life will be like when you have reached your goal. Remind yourself of why you made the commitment in the first place.
Know that this process will take time. All good things do.
Give yourself the grace to fall down and mess up, but don’t give up. Believe in yourself and keep moving forward.
2. Start with YOU– As I said before, your life won’t change unless you do. There may be other people or factors contributing to your problem but unfortunately, you cannot control them. You can control yourself. That’s why you have to start there.
Identify the changes you need to make to your lifestyle and your habits in order to successfully achieve your goal.
3. Find your people– There will be hard times. There will be moments when you want to give up. You will need encouraging people nearby with similar thoughts and ideas to help you stay motivated.
Start with your friends and family. From there, grow your support system even bigger to include local groups, online groups, anything you can find. You can never have too much support.
You can also sign up for my free 30 Days of Change goal setting course/challenge to seek after your goals with other readers and have step by step assistance along the way.
Don’t skip this part. Put your support system in place now so that when hard times come and you feel like you are going to fall, your people are already there waiting to prop you back up.
4. Set Mini-Goals– This step is crucial. This is how to create your actual plan to achieve your overall goal.
It is time to redefine success. Success is not just reaching your big, end goal. In order to get there, you will need to acknowledge little successes each and every day. That is why you need mini-goals. They help you see your progress as you go and set you up for success instead of failure.
What is a Mini-Goal and how do you set them? Basically, you break down your big goal into little, bite-sized chunks. Here is an example:
5. Celebrate– When you do achieve your goals, celebrate! Just make sure that your celebration doesn’t distract you from reaching your big goal.
For example, at this point in life, our celebration isn’t a fancy dinner or weekend getaway. That would spend all of the money we just worked so hard to save. Instead, it is something simple like spend the day together as a family, add money to next month’s budget for a pizza on Friday night or spend the day at a park.
I know this a lot of information. The crazy part is this is just the outline! I have so much more to tell you!
You have the simple five-step formula. Now it’s up to you to make it work.
Not sure you can do it?
I promise that you can. The most important step is to just begin.
Start moving forward. Today.
I promise you, a year from now, you will be glad that you did.
30 Days of Change
A great first step would be to add your email below and begin the FREE 30 Days of Change goal setting challenge.
We will dive deeper into why goals are important, how to effectively set goals, and together we will create a plan to set you up for success. Then, you will receive on-going weekly support and encouragement.
Or if you are more of a DIY kind of person and would rather receive all the information at once, click here to read more about “Goal Setting Gold” the ultimate goal setting guidebook for creative minds with big dreams. From now until 12/31/17 you can get 40% by using the code BEAST2018.
I am a free spirit who learned to use creativity as a key to success in chasing after debt freedom. I am a mom, lover of all things DIY, a little bit of a treehugger and modern-day hippy and an encourager to the core. If you need a little inspiration for your debt free journey, you’ve come to the right place.