What’s the mark of a really successful life? Is it a certain amount of money? Is it a certain number of friends? Is it a certain status within your firm? Of course, it isn’t any one of these things, or really any one thing at all. We all want to live fulfilled, happy, meaningful lives. But how?
That question can go pretty deep, but let’s not get too philosophical. Let’s look at it from a practical and general lens. We believe that to be successful is to enjoy what you do. So how do you reach that type of success? The answer is simple – create goals and work towards them.
A goal is the end result of your efforts, it’s the motivation for all of your actions. Without goals, tasks become mundane. Working for nothing more than a paycheck loses its luster very quickly. To be successful in life, we need goals. Not just career goals, but also financial, physical, mental, and relationship goals. In any aspect of your life where you want to be successful, you need to create goals. Here’s how:
Setting goals starts with some honest reflection. What do you want out of life? What is important to you? What are the things you want to achieve? Before you can set goals, you have to know the answers to these and other self-assessing questions. Take the time you need to really think about what’s important to you and what you want to accomplish.
Define Your Goals
From these big picture questions, you can extrapolate some specific goals. For example, one goal might be to become a partner at your firm. Another goal may be to get married and start a family. Another goal may be to save and invest well so that you can retire by the age of 45. These are specific and actionable goals.
When deciding on your goals, make sure they have a long-range focus, short term actions, and a basis of evaluation. Your goals shouldn’t all be immediate, in fact, most should be focused on the long term – five, ten, twenty, even 50 years from now. But even the longest ranging goals should have immediate, actionable steps and be measurable.
For example, if you want to retire with $1 million in the bank, you can and should start saving now, even if it’s still 30 years away. After a few years of saving, you can check your progress and evaluate whether or not you’re on track to meet that particular goal.
Diversify Your Goals
It’s easy to use financial goals as examples because they’re easily measured. But career goals and financial goals are far from the only important aspects of life. Equally important, and highly unique to yourself, are personal goals. Remember, a successful life is a well-rounded one.
Execute Your Goals
Here is a quick list of how to start your goal setting:
- Reflection – find out what is important to you.
- Crystallization – create a clear and specific picture of what your goals look like.
- Formalization – write down your goals.
- Modification – make changes where necessary to stay on track and waste less time.
Sometimes goals need to change too as priorities and circumstances change. It’s a constantly evolving process. As goals change, adapt your trajectory accordingly. As goals are accomplished, set new ones.
And, if your goal is to earn your CPA License, use this quick cheat sheet to accomplish that goal: