Have you ever set a goal and not achieved it? I think we can all raise our hands on that one! However, if you’re consistently missing the mark on most of your goals, it may be time to look for a new strategy.
In fact, you may just be missing one key part — leverage.
In my case, I’ve generally stayed in pretty good shape for the last decade or so. Having said that, I’ve wanted to get my weight below 200 pounds for years, but tended to hover between 205-210 pounds.
I turned 40 last July and figured such a milestone would provide enough incentive to break the 200-pound barrier. Well, 40 came and went. Those extra pounds were still clinging on and I felt frustrated!
I then saw a video in which the speaker promised to share a strategy that was almost guaranteed to help you reach your goal. I leaned in.
He suggested getting serious "leverage" on yourself. After setting your goal, he said, write a cheque to a person or organization you actively disagree with or dislike. Give that cheque to someone you trust and have them promise to mail the cheque to that person or organization should you not reach your goal by the date you set.
Inspired, I set an ambitious goal of 195 pounds, wrote a cheque and promptly gave it to my brother-in-law with instructions. The overall process caused a shift in me I had never experienced before. Driven by an intense desire not to lose my money, an aversion to helping someone I disagreed with, and haunted by visions of family and friends teasing me for years, my behaviour dramatically changed.
I devoured health and nutrition articles and podcasts which led me to a cleaner diet than ever before. I worked out more, walked everywhere I could and took the stairs any time the opportunity arose. Not only did I reach my goal on time, I actually got below my Grade 13 weight of 193 pounds.
Aside from saving my money and pride, what I really learned was that I, or anyone for that matter, can reach virtually any goal with enough of the right leverage to make it a must!
So how will this example help you achieve your financial goals, you ask? Once you know what you really want and the areas where you struggle to follow through on, figure out what will give you maximum leverage (Step 5 in getting financially organized).
Maybe it’s promising your spouse to do all the chores for a month if you don’t stay on top of your budget. Perhaps you’ll give up meat for a few weeks if you don’t get your will and power of attorney done by a certain time. If you’re struggling with what will give you maximum leverage on yourself, ask your spouse or best friend, they’ll likely have a number of suggestions!
Most people are capable of accomplishing far more than they imagined possible. They are often so close to a major breakthrough. If this applies to you, perhaps it’s time to give this a try. I promise you that if you consistently use leverage on yourself, not only will you achieve more of your financial and other goals, but you’ll see what else you’re capable of achieving along the way!
In my next post I’ll discuss Step 6 in the process of getting financially organized — the importance of revisiting and resetting your goals.