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Picture: 123RF
Picture: 123RF

We’re two weeks into 2024 and those new year's resolutions have already been abandoned as we again discover that changing habits seems hard. The thing is, it’s not that hard, we just do it badly. So I want to write again on how we can set and, more importantly, achieve goals, be they financial, health, or in our relationships — whatever we’re striving to change. 

The first problem is how we actually set goals. We make them big and audacious. For example, we want to be a millionaire or run a marathon. 

Those are perfectly good goals, but they are poorly framed and overly ambitious. Wanting to be a millionaire is all very well, but it could take years. So for years we get no real sense of achievement. Sure, we may enjoy seeing the progress, but it will probably take a while to feel the real satisfaction of the goal achieved. 

Rather set a bunch of smaller, more easily achievable, goals. Start with targeting R1,000, then R10,000, then R50,000 and so on. It may seem silly to start so small, but every millionaire started somewhere and worked up from there. You can take this a step further and make the goal that you want to deposit 10% of your salary every month into your investment account. No hard numbers, but something that with a tweak of your budget could be possible. 

You can take this even a step further and make the goal that you want to deposit 10% of your salary every month into your investment account

Whichever way you’re doing it, if you’re head-down focused on an easy and achievable goal, then one day you will find yourself a millionaire. 

Another way to achieve goals is to reward yourself. So, you want to run a marathon this year. Well, first you’ve got to get off the couch and walk 5km. Then run it and slowly work your way up to the full 42km.

But how do you get off the couch? You reward yourself. You go for a run (or walk when you’re starting out), you get an hour of time on your PlayStation. No exercise, no PlayStation. 

Get a friend or family member to act as your second. Say you want to eat healthy and lose weight. Ask somebody to be your second and don’t start with wanting to lose 10kg. Start with what you eat and how much you drink. Maybe even a trip to a dietitian. 

Now get your second to check in with you regularly on how you’re doing. You’re going to want to be seen to be on top of your life and not want to disappoint, which helps us stick to the goal. Add some PlayStation time every time you eat well and exercise for a day or three. 

Achieving goals is easy — if we manage the process right and start with small steps, reward ourselves and keep ourselves accountable. 

Picture: kalhh/Pixabay
Picture: kalhh/Pixabay
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