Here’s how to achieve your one big goal in 2021
1. Set your one big goal
When setting your goals for the new year, it’s important to do so in a way that sets you up for success. Many people, eager to throw themselves into 2021, will set the ambition of working on all their hopes and dreams at once. But setting such a big challenge makes it very hard to make any progress beyond an initial wave of enthusiasm — which unfortunately dies off much too fast. The reality is that multitasking is overrated. By trying to do too much at once, we risk overwhelming ourselves and not being able to do anything.
Therefore to increase your likelihood of success, a great strategy is to set your sights on achieving one goal at a time. It needs to be a big goal that has meaning for you and that you care about, otherwise it will be very hard to stay motivated. Whatever your goal is, be it buying a house, starting a business, getting a new car, going travelling, getting married or starting a family, giving it the focus and attention it deserves will help you to see it through.
Choose one goal, smash it, then move on to the next.
2. Make a plan to achieve it
A goal without a plan is just a dream. So once you’ve chosen your one big goal, the next thing you need is a plan to achieve it. Similar to what we discussed with regards to setting your goal, you can set yourself up for success when it comes to planning by making sure your plan is achievable, and not too overwhelming.
Yes you’re ambitious, and yes your goal is a big one, but the way to go about making sure you can achieve it is to make sure your plan is realistic. If your plan is not doable, you won’t be able to do it.
Most of the big goals in life require money, so you’ll likely need a plan for how you’re going to grow your savings. If you’re hoping to apply for credit like a mortgage, a credit card or a loan, to make your dreams a reality then making sure your credit history is in tip top shape is also essential. Otherwise you may find lenders reject your applications, or offer them to you at unfavorable rates that make it expensive for you to borrow money.
Luckily Loqbox makes it easy to build a savings habit, and to improve your credit history — at the same time. For free. This helps you to reach your goals quicker. What’s not to like?
Further depending on your particular goal there will be other tasks and timings to take into account when putting together your plan for achieving your goal. To find out what these are (if you don’t know already) you’ll need to do some research online. Start with Google, or head over to the Loqbox blog where we publish lots of helpful articles to help you take steps towards achieving your goals every week.
Once you’ve got to grips with the details, and you know what needs to be done, it’s time to map it out. To help with this, grab yourself a pen and paper (or digital equivalent) and draw out a timeline of what you’ll need to do and when from now up until the time you realize your goal. This will break your one big goal down into a list of smaller tasks, and that will help you to see that this is achievable. All you need to do is follow the plan.
This approach is similar to that of the old riddle: How do you eat an elephant?
Answer: A bite at a time.
Now you have your plan, it’s time to commit and get started. And remember, a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.
3. Stay motivated
When it comes to working on big goals, one of the biggest obstacles you’ll face is staying motivated.
What challenges our motivation is the passing of time.
Because it takes time to achieve big goals, our interest and enthusiasm naturally fluctuate making it hard to solidly keep it up for months or even years on end.
But consistency is important for success.
So to combat this and keep you going through the tougher times, you need to clearly visualize your big picture. Your big picture is what you and your life look like in the future when you’ve completed your goal. It’s a reminder to yourself of why you’re doing this. Take the time to really picture in detail the positive changes that will come about as a result of your having succeeded. Then, when your motivation dips, and it inevitably will, call this to mind, remind yourself why this goal is important to you, and recommit yourself to getting there. This will boost your motivation and drive you to succeed.
Belief is also essential to staying motivated. Visualizing the achievement of your goal as described above helps to build belief because it makes it more real for us. Seeing really is believing.
If you’re reading this, and you’re doubting whether you can do this, then we’re here to tell you right now that yes, yes you can. You can do it. But it’s not our belief that you’re in need of here, it’s yours. Do you believe you can do it? When people believe in their own ability to achieve something they’re much more likely to succeed.
4. Build good habits
Now you’ve got a bunch of tricks up your sleeve to help you stay motivated, what you need is some good habits. We’ve mentioned before that consistency is important in the pursuit of success. And that’s why our habits — the behaviors we repeat day in and day out — make or break us.
Obviously the desire is to replace bad habits with good habits. But just because you know you should do one thing over another, doesn’t make it any easier when it comes to breaking habits.
Habits can be so deeply ingrained that they’re automatic. By automatic we mean, we don’t have to think much, if at all, in the doing of them. They’re almost instinctive behaviours, which means we may not always be totally aware that we’re doing it. This is what makes habits tricky to change.
Let’s look at an example. You want to boost your savings so that you can make a downpayment on a house and secure a mortgage. Great. To do that, you need to cut back on your spending. But you’ve got a bad habit of impulsively buying things online. When you’re sat in front of the tv, you think of something you want, you look it up on Amazon, Amazon makes it very easy to add it to your basket, check out, and you’ll probably receive it the next day. It’s only a few dollars you think, you can make an exception here on your spending detox.
The problem with this is, when you repeat a behaviour, you actually reinforce it. Meaning spending those dollars on Amazon today, makes you much more likely to do the same again tomorrow. And over time all those dollars add up.
So how do you combat this? The first step is to build awareness of what you’re doing, when and why. In this instance, you’re browsing Amazon (what you’re doing), in front of the tv (when you’re doing it), and why are you doing? Well that’s likely because you’re bored. And buying something online gives you a little rush which alleviates your boredom. It entertains you. You feel good.
To break this habit, what we want to do is to substitute the bad habit for a good habit, and importantly it has to be one that achieves the same goal. That you feel good. What else makes you feel good? Is it a hot shower? Is it taking your dog out for a walk? Is it speaking to your best mate on the phone? Pick something. And next time you find yourself on the verge of another Amazon splurge, catch yourself, and try to substitute the behavior.
You won’t succeed every time (and it’s important not to beat yourself up when you don’t) but every time you do win at this, you make it more likely you’ll win again next time.
Another tactic to help you here is to work out a budget. Budgeting isn’t about limiting what you can have, it’s about being intentional with your money so that you can have what you want. Within your budget work out how much you will spend on Amazon every month. If you find something you want, as long as it fits in your budget, you can get it for yourself guilt free. And if it doesn’t fit into your budget, wait until next month when your budget refreshes.
Additionally there will be good habits, like budgeting, that are completely new to you, and that you’ll want to start. A regular savings habit is probably one of those. And the secret to success with this is to start small, but to do it regularly. That’s how you make it a habit.
Loqbox makes building a savings habit easy. And we’ll also grow your credit score at the same time. To find out more check out our website.
5. To err is human, this is how to keep going after a slip-up
In working towards your goal, you’re going to experience slip-ups and setbacks. Perhaps you’ll dip into your savings for a downpayment on a house to be able to go out with your friends on the weekend. It happens. The important thing to do here is not to beat yourself up, but accept it, pick yourself up and carry on.
Unfortunately too many people indulge in all or nothing thinking when they encounter a slip up and give up altogether on the pursuit of their goals. All or nothing thinking is thinking in extremes (like black or white), in this case it would mean you’re either 100% on track, acting perfectly and doing everything correct and according to plan — or you’re not and it’s all over, you’ve given up. It pits success against failure. That’s why all or nothing thinking makes us very very likely to fail. Because when working on big goals, over time, all of us will slip up at some point. We’re not robots, we’re only human. And that’s okay.
Are you indulging in all or nothing thinking? Stop it. Put it down, and step away. It is not going to help you achieve your one big goal. Slip-ups do not make us failures.
We’ve already spoken about habits, and they come into play here as well because good habits help us to get back on track after a setback. Because they’re habitual, those good habits come back readily to us, and are easier for us to keep doing than not. That way we can carry on, accepting our blips as we move forward.
6. Make it fun by celebrating the little wins along the way
Finally, to help you stay motivated and enjoy the journey, be sure to celebrate the little wins, or key milestones, along the way.
When we’ve got our heads down, working hard towards a goal, it can be too easy to accidentally let those milestones slip past without celebration.
But it’s a mistake not to reward yourself as it can make you feel like you’re constantly making sacrifices in pursuit of your goal. And when you feel like that, you risk making it too hard on yourself to continue.
Taking a moment to pause, reflect and treat yourself, will renew your energy and ready you for working towards the next thing. It also helps by ensuring that working on your goals is fun.
Being human, we’re all much more likely to do well at things that are fun.
So look at the plan you’ve put together for achieving your one big goal and circle the milestones you’ll celebrate along the way. Will you celebrate when you reach $500 of a $2,000 savings goal, and then again at $1,000 and $1,500? Will you celebrate when your credit rating goes up by a certain amount? Or when you pay off your debts? When you look at your plan you’ll see there are lots of things you can celebrate along the way. Pick some.
Loqbox makes it easy to achieve your goals by helping you to build your credit history and your savings at the same time. For free. To find out more about how Loqbox can help you achieve your one big goal in 2021, see how it works.