Baby Steps: Small Steps to Success
Left, right, left, right, left... That's right, one foot in front of the other. You may find that you're a little shaky at first. You might even stumble and fall. But you're going to pick yourself up and keep trying. You might stumble a couple of times, but eventually, you'll find your stride, and those baby steps will turn into leaps and bounds.
Everything Takes Time
You may have heard that everything takes time, or be patient. You'll eventually get there or achieve that goal. Well, it may sound cliche, but it's true. The example above was how babies learn to walk. First, they crawl, pull themselves up, and finally, attempt baby steps. These baby steps start by holding on to furniture, toys, the nearest person, or the beloved family pet. And then, they let go and fall. But they keep trying and falling until they take that first unassisted step. The crowd goes wild! Well, at least the parents do.
You know what? It didn't happen overnight. It took continuous practice to build muscle memory in the baby's brain and strength in the legs. The parents were watching and waiting for that moment when they could cheer for their child. This goal was a sign of growth.
Achieving Goals Takes Time & Effort
Have you ever had a vacation that you wanted to go on to Disney, the mountains, or Jamaica? How did you get there?
You may have had to follow these steps:
Pick a location
Pick a date
Find affordable lodging
Find a flight
Put a budget together and save
Drive to your location or airport
Get on a six-hour plane ride or rent a car
Arrive at your destination!
And this does not include all the in-between items like working extra hard at work because you're taking time off. Or even preparing to schedule care for your children or pets.
Putting a Plan Together
Planning for a vacation, retirement, college, or buying a new mattress requires planning. Planning requires you to create a plan with achievable and measurable goals that can be accomplished in bite-sized pieces.
For example, if you want to save $10,000 for your child's college fund, that can seem impossible to some. However, if you plan it out, you can make it possible. Saving money can be possible if you put measurable timeframes around this important goal. The ultimate goal will be to save $10,000. However, you can create smaller goals that make them more achievable.
The SMART Method
The SMART method is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Bound goals. You can create smaller short-term goals to achieve your $10,000 long-term goal. Your short-term goal could be: I will save $100 with each paycheck for my child's education from September to August. This goal should be in a place that's visible to you so that you can constantly be reminded of it.
Then, as you achieve the goal, you should celebrate. It doesn't have to be anything elaborate. It could be as simple as taking a bubble bath, a nature walk, or a family trip to the beach. Celebrating goal achievement can help keep you motivated to continue on your journey and future goal accomplishments.
In the end, you'll be able to achieve the big goals, and it won't seem as intimidating because you used short-term goals in the interim. To get started, use a SMART goal tool to begin your journey.
Left, Right, Left, Right
Ultimately, the goal is to stay motivated as you accomplish your goals. You may stumble and fall, but picking yourself back up and dusting off your hands repeatedly will provide you with the results you are looking for. On the way, don't be afraid to reach out for a helping hand to keep you on track.