Someone once told me that if you write goals down you are far more likely to achieve them. I recently achieved one of my long term goals, receiving my graduate degree. I had planned on getting my masters while I was still an undergrad, but of course after graduating with my bachelor’s degree, I decided to run off and marry a soldier. I found myself in a small southwest Oklahoma town. I had an abundance of excuses as to why it wasn’t a good time to start school again; I mean I just graduated. I started working and had to study for licensing exams, it just wasn’t a good time. It wasn’t until I had a two-year-old son and another on the way that I realized if it was going to happen, I needed to make it happen. Lucky for me, the graduate program I had been interested in was now available 100 percent online. I suddenly realized I had run out of excuses and it was time to start. It took a lot of discipline and sacrifices to work full time, take care of my family, and get good grades. People would ask me how I did it; I would usually say something like “I’m not sure, I just do.” I remember taking a quiz one Easter Sunday and thinking “Is this really worth it?” Then I quickly snapped back and convinced myself that any goal good enough to write down, would be worth it in the end. Here are a few key points I learned.
Make goals and let them assist in decision making.
Keep long term goals. Although the specifics may change, you will focus on the direction you want to go. Know that it will take time to get there, but there is so much you can learn and do in the meantime to prepare. For our clients, this could be saving for retirement or a beach house. By keeping our eye on the prize, with the understanding that there are things we can do NOW to help us reach that goal, we can make better decisions. And time. Remember it takes time, so the sooner we start, the better.
Adjust goals as necessary, but don’t lose focus of the original plan.
Things change, circumstances change. I for one wanted to finish an industry specific designation while I was in school. The point of the program was to complete the exams along the way. Well, one failed exam, a baby, and a cross country move caused me to adjust that goal. It will happen, just not in the time frame I originally hoped for. Any change to investor circumstances, or a market downturn can interrupt our investment goals which can be discouraging. The important thing is to understand what is needed to get back on track, and utilize the resources available to help get us there.
It is all worth it even though it is easier to make excuses.
“It will all be worth it,” easy to say, harder to believe. Instead of making excuses on why it would be so difficult, if we believe it will be worth it, we just need to incorporate changes into our routine that will help us achieve our goal. It would have been so easy to come up with a million more reasons on why I just didn’t have the time for school, but I’m so glad I didn’t allow myself to. The fact that I not only achieved one of my goals, but that I can apply what I have learned to benefit CLS and our clients, makes it all worth it to me.
Comments provided by guest writer Jessica Golson , CLS Portfolio Administrator