How to Achieve Financial Goals

Students of personal achievement have long known that the ability to set and achieve goals is one of the most important, if not the most important, factor limiting or facilitating success.

When it comes to financial success, learning how to set and achieve financial goals is clearly your key to success.

Steps Toward Reaching Financial Goals

The steps toward goal achievement of any kind are well known. Students of personal success have known and promoted them for years even though these skills seem to be practiced less than one would think. Applied to our financial goals they look like this.

1. As soon as you decide to do better with your money your first step is to sit down and work out a list of financial goals you would like to achieve. Review and refine your list until you are certain that these are the goals you really want to achieve.

2. After that, make some clear plans for reaching your financial goals. Break those plans down into specific workable steps that will enable you to achieve your money goals and you are on your way.

3. At this point you want to set some priorities. You will likely have a good number of money goals, but you cannot focus on all of your financial goals at once. You may want to work on some easy quick ones at first to gain momentum. You may want to focus on a single major one if it represents a problem dominating your life (such as getting a job or getting out of credit card debt).

4. As soon as possible, you want to do something, no matter how small you must get started. You never achieve financial goals without some real effort.

If your goals are clear and your action plans are definite you will know exactly what you need to do. All you need to do is get started. Each of these steps is critical so leave none out; together they will guarantee your success with money.

Obstacles That Hinder Our Success

Most people who decide to take charge of their financial life jump in and initially make some real progress. Over time, unfortunately, stagnation sets in.

We have so many interests in life it is easy to get distracted from our financial goals. We set our financial goals. We take some steps to achieve our financial goals. And we are thrilled at our initial success.

But soon we get busy elsewhere and little attention is reserved for what is honestly recognized should be an important priority; we get focused on other activities and we just don’t think about them. And when we stop thinking about them we begin to let them slide.

Then here are things that we really want done, we just don’t want to do them! It doesn’t make sense does it. But it’s true.

For example, when I was younger I used to run a few miles every day. I loved it, but I always had a hard time starting out. Once on the road I was always exhilarated. Paying my bills is like that&#8212I always hate paying them but love it when the job is done!

It is true that much of the actual work we need to do in order to reach our financial goals is at best boring. You may never look forward to record keeping of any kind but you will experience some satisfaction at having done it!

Action Steps to Achieve Financial Goals

How can we overcome these obstacles to reaching our goals? The fact is you may have already done what is most important.


You have taken the most important steps toward reaching your financial goals if you have written out your goals and written specific plans, including the step by step actions needed, for success.

Here are two additional steps we can take that will assure our progress.

1. Set Priorities with a To Do List

The first is one you know about, but may not use consistently. Every day make use of a “To Do” list. I carry 3X5 cards in my pocket for this and other purposes.

It is essential to reorder the items on your list, either by numbering or rewriting in a new order according to importance. You could label it your Priority List, instead of a To Do List.

This list now consists of the jobs you need to get done in the order of their importance for a given day. Tomorrow a new list will be needed. Items on the list may and often do change daily and the order of your list may change as well.

The important thing relative to your money goals is to make sure you have your money action steps included each day on your To Do list. Give them the priority they deserve to make sure at least some progress is made daily toward reaching your financial goals.

2. Motivate Yourself to Get the Job Done

The second practice to adopt is described in a great little book by Brian Tracy called Eat That Frog. The book title and idea behind it comes from the answer to the question, “What is the best way to eat a frog?” The answer being, “Quickly.”

There are many corollaries, but the most important idea is to identify those tasks that really need to get done or they will hang over your head until you do. Then do them immediately

This principle applies to much of life, but financially it means getting those bills paid or whatever else you are putting off just because you dread doing it. It is amazing how much pressure this takes off your mind and joy it adds to your life.

Ever since reading that book, I find myself from time to time muttering to myself, “Eat that frog. Eat that frog. Eat that frog.” Then I jump into the task that needs to get done and I do it.

Consider putting one financial step at or near the top of your list and getting it out of the way early every morning. If you do this your financial success will be almost guaranteed because your daily achievements will spur on an unshakable motivation for continued action.

Achieve Your Financial Goals Now

Here is what works in real life. Set out your list of financial goals with written plans for achieving them. Everyday write down your list of important tasks, including what you intend to do that day to improve your finances. Then make an clear commitment to do what is on your priority list in the order of importance and immediately take action, even if it means you must “eat that frog!”