It’s hard enough to stick with goals you want to accomplish, but sometimes we make goals we’re not even thrilled about in the first place. We set resolutions based on what we’re supposed to do, or what others think we’re supposed to do, rather than what really matters to us. This makes it nearly impossible to stick to the goal.
At Harvard Business Review, CEO Elizabeth Grace Saunders explains how this works in practice:
Many people fail on their professional development goals for the year because they take on a lot of goals – goals that they feel they “should” do but ultimately don’t energize them. For example, maybe they tell themselves that they need to read a pile of books in order to learn more, keep up with their colleagues, or just stay up-to-date with their industry. But if sitting down to read feels more like a chore, it’s unlikely they’ll make any progress – and they may feel badly for not achieving their goal when the year comes to a close. While the goal itself felt like it was something that fit the needs of their professional role, it didn’t match the individual’s preferences or ambitions.
In other words, reading more is a good habit, but if you’re only doing it because you feel like that’s what you’re supposed to do, not because you actually want to learn more, chances are, you’re going to have a hard time reaching the goal. This happens a lot with personal finance, too. Saving more for retirement and sticking with a budget are good money habits and admirable goals. But if you’re not sure why you’re attempting them, aside from feeling like it’s the grown-up thing to do, you’re going to have a hell of a time sticking with them.
Instead, make goals based on your own values. Now, this isn’t to say you should read less or forget about budgeting altogether. The idea is to first consider what matters to you, then figure out what you need to do to get there. (This post on the “Hierarchy of Goals” helped me figure out my own values). In general, Saunders makes a good overall point about making goals based on your own values instead of what you’re “supposed” to do. Head to her full article at the link below for more insight on the topic.
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