When my wife and I were starting our life together, we did all the things we were “supposed” to do. You know how it goes, got married, bought a house, the new car and had the baby. We had all the same stuff our parents had but it took us a fraction of the time to get there.
Before we knew it, we were $150,000 in debt with no real plan for anything from finances to future goals to retirement. And while it worked for a brief time, we quickly realized we were on a path we really didn’t want to be on.
We had the lifestyle we thought we wanted but it had one major problem: it wasn’t taking us where we wanted to go. So, no matter where you are in life, here’s 3 steps to help you align your lifestyle and your goals.
1. Figure out your actual goals
The first thing you want to do is to figure out your actual goals. Many people have dreams in their head, but they never write them down. That is a huge detriment because, before you know it, 5 years will pass and you’ll be in the same spot.
For us, it came when we started talking about how we wanted 3 main things.
- My wife to come home from work full time
- Me to run my own lifestyle business
- To have more family time
We also had goals within those like traveling, time to read, focusing on scripture more, homeschooling and things of that nature. Your goals will probably be different but the point is to decide what is important to you and WRITE THEM DOWN!
I honestly never used something like SMART goals or anything like that for this step. We just figured out where we wanted to go and then moved to the next step to get us on the right track.
Take note that your goals will probably be different from your friends and family. Make sure you prayerfully consider your future before you make any drastic moves.
2. Make a plan to reach your goals
Now that you have your goals written down, you need to make a plan. This is where a lot of people will drop off and then nothing is achieved.
For instance, when we finally knew we had to get out of debt, we found a plan that would work for us. We made it the focal point of our life for a time and nothing was going to get in the way of our goal to get debt free. We sold stuff, worked extra hours, put birthday and Christmas money to debt and cut out every possible treat we could. My wife went without pedicures and hair coloring for a very long time!
It was only through perseverance, dedication and the Lord being on our side that we dug out of $34,000 in consumer debt in 14 months. Not long after that, we sold our house and downsized to something we could build debt free.
Working a plan to get where you want to go is a major key to success. Be sure to build a reasonable plan that fits your lifestyle and includes your end goals as the focus point.
3. Stick with your plan
Even if you do the first two steps really well, you can still fail by not doing this one. You have to commit yourself to your long term goals consistently and check up on them daily or weekly.
Even after we found freedom from debt and moved into our smaller house, we still had work to do. We needed to get my wife home and get my business of the ground. We stuck with our plan and made the necessary changes to finally get her home from work.
From start to present, our journey to our long term goals has been about 7 years in the making and we are still modifying and revisiting those initial goals to see how we are doing on them. Some have changed and some have been put in the past, like debt. But the important part is that we are still focused on achieving the goals we have for our life.
The most crucial part of any plan is follow through so don’t let this step fall by the wayside. Stick to your plan and you will be able to reach those goals soon enough!
It’s your turn
Now that you have the 3 basic steps to help you achieve your goals, it’s your turn to put them into action. If you want the life you dream of, you need to check to make sure your current life fits with it. If it doesn’t, change things!
You can get on the path to living the life you want but it’s going to take some really hard work and lots of prayer. As Saint Augustine once said, “Pray as though it all depended on God. Work as though it all depended on you.”
If you need help, let me know.