Setting Goals to Get What You Want

October 13, 2009

How specific are you when you set your goals? If you were more detailed do you think you’d be more likely to reach them?

I’ve always heard that being very specifc about your goals increases your chances of achieving them. Last weekend, I saw some pretty good examples of this theory in action.

A Ten Year Plan

I met with about 40 other people for our 10 year college reunion and spent a few hours catching up and visiting about where they were in life.  During the course of the evening they were showing a video that was taped about 10 years ago, interviewing members of our class right before graduation.

One of the questions people answered on the tape was, “Where do you think you’ll be in 10 years from now”.  Some of the responses were pretty general like “I hope I’ll be making a lot of money somewhere”. Other people laid out their plans in great detail.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t on the video.  I’m not sure why I didn’t participate; perhaps I was studying hard for finals or maybe I was celebrating my pending graduation.  Whatever the reason, I know if I had that I wouldn’t have been as detailed as many of the responses that I heard.

Achieving Goals

As I visited with people after we watched the video I made a point to ask each person how close they had come to meeting their “ten year plan”.

Not surprisingly, more of the alumni with very detailed plans had reached the point in their life that they had been aiming for.   Of course not everyone’s plans had worked out.  Some people had changed course over time, others had tried unsuccessfully and had to change their plans.

Overall, the people that were specific about what they wanted their life to be like ten years down the road were more likely to have achieved those goals.  Now I need to sit down and make out my 10 year plan to get my family where we want to be when our kids are teenagers, gulp : )


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Ben Edwards, the founder of Money Smart Life, saved up enough to buy a Nintendo back when he was 12 years old. When he used the money to buy shares of Wal-Mart stock instead, he knew he wasn't like the other kids... His addiction to personal finance has paid off for his family and now he's helping you to afford the life that you want. Check him out on the web at Google Plus, Twitter and Facebook.

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4 Responses to Setting Goals to Get What You Want

  • Michelle

    Absolutely – setting goals is the only way to actually achieve results. I joined this webinar with NY Times bestselling author Loral Langemeier and she discussed different concepts from her new book Put More Cash In Your Pocket. She talked about being able to set goals realistically in this 12/4/5 model.

    Because she’s a financial expert, she of course used it in relation to making money – how much you want to make in 1 year, then divide that number into 12 months, divide that by 4, and then divide that number by 5 so you can see how much you need to make each day to get to your goal by the end of the year.

    Even though it’s a concept about making money, it can really be applied to any aspect of life.

  • Joel

    I am a huge believer in writing down personal goals. I have goals that go out as far as 25 years. Writing goals down and putting those goals in a place where I can see them daily has done wonders.


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