Pre-Retirement

Get the latest information and tips on financial planning.

Goals, Willpower & Strategy

A couple of weekends ago, I finally organized my closets and dresser drawers after buying my first home several months ago. It was so freeing, and I thought that must mean I'm officially an adult now. I arranged my clothes by season, type, etc., and it's very relaxing to know exactly where everything is instead of having a bunch of over-packed drawers that won't even open. They open and close freely and I don't have to do the sniff-test to see what's clean and what's...not.

When people hear the word "organize," the first thing they often think about is clutter, or closets, and buying various types of bins and containers to put that clutter into. They imagine a day spent in the garage, filling and arranging plastic bins and boxes. Or, in my case, sorting my wardrobe into categories.

Although having an organized home is great, I always try to take some time to organize my goals too, and I encourage my clients to do this as well. Taking some time today to write down your goals and create a plan for reaching them can save a lot of time and stress in the future. It's about being strategic.

Many people set goals and then never reach them, and most of the time, a lack of organization and strategy are the reasons. It's easy to be motivated to wake up and work out for a day or two, or to put money into savings for a month or two. But motivation wanes, and if there's no strategy in place to keep going even when you don't necessarily feel like it, that's when goals fall by the wayside.

The first step in setting any goal should be finding the "why" in what you're doing, and then making yourself aware of every step that has to be taken in order to achieve that goal. It takes work to reach goals, and you can't expect to feel motivated every day. Willpower is actually like a muscle you can work and make stronger, and a clear strategy tied to each goal will help you increase that elusive willpower. This is where it gets tricky - you have to think about and develop the personality traits needed to work toward goals. Large-scale, long-term goals, like saving for a home or retirement, in particular require strategic steps and a clear plan to stay on track when temptation has sapped your willpower and motivation.

The good news is though, that self-discipline feeds on itself and grows with practice, and once you reach one goal, you're better equipped to reach another one. The same traits and tactics that helped you quit smoking can also help you start exercising, or putting money away. And as always, if you need help setting financial goals or determining the steps you need to take, our team is always here to help.

Loading Conversation