Implementing Your Goals | Reset Your Life #5
Last week officially marked the end of my New York City adventure, and a huge milestone for my goal towards financial freedom. Finally implementing goals can be overwhelming. But if you keep in mind everything we’ve talked about over the last six weeks - setting a specific goal, figuring out your barriers, and creating an individualized action plan - you’re well on your way to success.
Over the last three months, I’ve made some big changes in my life - quitting my job, moving back home with my parents - but these changes are all part of my action plan on how to accomplish my five-year plan and how I'm implementing my goals.
During this process, I had ten specific goals in several different categories - personal finance, career, and personal fulfillment - and used the steps in this series to design the life I wanted.
As you start to think about how you’re going to implement your own goals, I’m going to illustrate how I’ve taken the last four steps and have started to implement my own goals.
RESET YOUR LIFE, THE CLIFFNOTES
When I initially did a visioning exercise for my five-year plan, I knew that I wanted to live debt free, and that I wanted to do so as quickly as possible.
In order for this goal to become specific, I needed to know how much debt I had - $52,000 in student loan debt and $3,000 in credit card debt - and established a time frame to hold myself accountable.
I did this by asking myself some targeted questions and thinking about if this was something I was really serious about doing.
What initially got me into this position, and what can I learn from this experience? Are there any potential barriers that could prevent me from accomplishing this? Was I ready to make some financial sacrifices?
After I settled on a specific goal and did some self-reflection, the next step was figuring out what I wanted my new routine to look like. In this case, because this goal is a bit more complex, I needed to think about several different routines.
Where was I spending a lot of money? What triggered my spending habits? How could I change my routine now that I understood my triggers? What are some ways other people have successfully paid of debt, and how can I borrow from them?
I brainstormed a few ways that I could start paying off more than the minimum payment.
Getting a second job would generate more income was an option, but then I would have less free time, and my hours at my current job meant that sometimes I would need to work in the evenings or on the weekends.
Moving from New York made the most sense, but it would mean leaving the excitement and adventure I loved about living in a big city.
However, because I had a specific goal, leaving New York became an easier decision. The only way I could pay off that much debt in the timeframe I gave myself was by living at home.
As I created my action plan, I started by looking at the bigger picture. Then I began breaking down my goal based on what I’ve heard from others, my knowledge of the barriers that could get in the way, and how that fits into the timeline I gave myself.
My final action plan involved reducing my biggest spending areas - rent and eating out - while switching to a contract position so that things like health insurance, commuter rail, and other employee benefits weren’t coming out of my paycheck.
Implementing my goals and action plan meant leaving my charming Brooklyn apartment last week, and funneling all of the money I’m saving from rent into my student loans. It also means reducing my miscellaneous spending, and putting that extra money into credit card payments.
Y’all, in less than week of moving back, I’ve already paid off one credit card, have made another significant dent in my other card, and am not a ball of anxiety worrying about how I’m going to make rent while paying off my loans.
Is it a sacrifice?
Am I going stir-crazy mad from not walking every day?
You better believe it.
But will this matter in the next two and half years after I’m completely debt free and am able to do whatever career I want because I don’t have this looming cloud of student debt?
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
So, how do you put together everything you’ve done over the last six weeks and start implementing your goals?
Well, you already have everything that you need if you've filled out the worksheets!
Start by following the detailed action plan you put together in last week’s worksheet. You’ve already mapped out what the first month of your goal will look like, including identifying what steps you need to do and any important milestones you want to hit.
You also know what your barriers or weak points are.
I want to emphasize how important it is to understand yourself and how you’ve accomplished other goals, because changing something doesn’t happen overnight.
There will be times when you slip up - when you go over budget one week, miss an exercise milestone, or have a busy week come up at work. That’s okay.
What’s important is that you are aware of what’s happening, that you give yourself a little smile, take a deep breath, and realize that it’s not the end of the world.
These worksheets aren’t meant to be a “one-and-done” exercise where you fill them out and never look at them again.
If it’s helpful for you, print them out or save them on your desktop. As you go further into this process, if you realize something about yourself that you didn’t factor into your action plan - just make adjustments!
I’m putting together a short e-book that will include everything we’ve talked about, as well as some personal examples and a workbook for you to see how to put everything together, so make sure you’re signed up for my newsletter to get a notification.
I hope you guys have enjoyed this series as much as I did writing and putting it together. Writing more consistently is one of my goals! I would love feedback on whether this was helpful, if you have any suggestion, or just want to say howdy.