How Should I Approach My Goals?


We’re a little over halfway into 2021. How are your goals progressing?

If you’re like most people, you’ve passed a few exciting checkpoints while also tripping over a few pebbles. Some goals might be easier to spot on the horizon after putting your plan into action. Others might seem like they’re fading out of sight.

It’s important to remember that improving isn’t just about the end goal. You can appreciate the ups and the downs of your process, feel better, and live more thoroughly along the way.

1. Be better today than you were yesterday.

It can be difficult to sustain the positive momentum you felt at the beginning of the year when everything felt new and fresh. Once you’ve settled on a goal and worked on your daily to-do list, that goal can start to feel less inspiring and more like a chore.

To keep fatigue from setting in, look for small ways to keep challenging yourself.

  • Are you meeting your monthly savings goals with ease? Aim 10% higher next month.
  • Have you already hit your weekly exercise goal? Schedule an extra morning run tomorrow.
  • Ahead of schedule on an important work project? Start dreaming up your next transformative initiative.

The reason you set goals at the beginning of the year was that you wanted to keep improving. What could you accomplish in the last half of the year if you kept moving back your goalposts just 1% every day – and kept hitting those more ambitious targets as well?

2. Accept occasional defeats and learn from your mistakes.

This sounds like a cliché, but mistakes are really a way of challenging yourself to build resilience and course correct when necessary.

Those who are easily discouraged are among the most likely to abandon their goals.

  • One missed day of exercise snowballs into a lethargic week.
  • An undisciplined splurge purchase or an unanticipated household repair throws off a monthly budgeting goal.
  • A couple of emergency Zoom calls from work and suddenly your online Spanish classwork is piling up.

When life gets in the way of your goals, try to separate things you have control over from things you don’t. There is not much you can do if your boiler starts leaking other than write a check and get your budget back on track next month.

If you’ve stumbled because of something that you can control, assessing what went wrong could be a key to meeting your long-term goals.

  • If all the positivity in the world can’t turn you into a morning person, don’t quit your morning run – move it to after work.
  • If working from home has made it hard for you to unplug, take another look at your daily schedule. Setting clear boundaries can make your work time more efficient and your personal time more worthwhile.

3. Reflect and celebrate along the way.

As you progress towards your goals, whether it’s this year or in the future, you aren’t just going to save more, get healthier, or learn something new. You’re going to discover things about yourself. Checking off daily tasks might reveal a skill you want to develop or an interest you want to explore more deeply.

Working toward a goal with your spouse might add a new dimension to your relationship. Or working toward a solo goal may help you realize that you need to change course because that goal isn’t really going to fulfill you.

The things you learn and accomplish along this journey are all worth celebrating.

  • Treat your spouse to a date night when you’ve reached a new savings milestone.
  • Upgrade your running gear when you’ve passed a hundred miles for the year.
  • Give yourself a break from your goals with a night off to relax, reflect, and watch an extra episode of your new favorite show.

At Marca Life Planning, our process is designed to help you anticipate and work towards major life goals. We love to sit down with our clients and develop a plan to reach ALL of your goals, not just the financial ones. Working with an advisor to design your complete plan for real-life ensures you make the most of every stage of life.

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