Want To Achieve Your Goals? Improve a Little Each Day


Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I turned the corner, and the numbers came into focus on the clock counting the finishing times of the 5K I was running on Sunday morning. The clock said 25:55 as I crossed through the inflatable finish line. My first thought was that of satisfaction in finishing under my goal of 27 minutes.

The next thought was that I knew I could do better.

It’s been a few years since I’ve done a race of this specific distance, so I wasn’t sure of what pace to start at. I started too slow, and then slowly increased my speed. My failure to study the course map had me kick into my final sprint far too early, leaving me sucking wind for the last half mile. I am looking to shed about 25 pounds, which would definitely help my race time.

I also saw a glimpse of where I want to be.

I’m training for the Twin Cities Marathon in October, with the goal of qualifying for Boston in 2015. My neighbor is running the Boston Marathon in a few months, and ran this same race over 4 minutes faster. We were talking after the race, and we agreed it would be fun if we ran more races together. He invited me to run specific 5K with him in May. I instantly set my target time for that race for 21 minutes.

I thought of a recent comment on a post by a fellow blogger who commented on how once I accomplish one goal, I move immediately on to a new goal. I am driven by goals, motivated by having something to work for and achieve.

I recently made a list of the things I want to accomplish financially this year:

  • Complete our Debt Management Plan
  • Refinance our Mortgage
  • Consolidate other Debt
  • Restart Contributing to Our Retirement Plan
  • Get Our Life Insurance Policies in Order
  • Start Contributing To College Accounts For the Kids

These six financial goals are like a series of finish lines that I see as I look down the road of the remainder of 2014. We’ve passed the first two, and now have our eyes set squarely on the third. That’s really what life is about to me, that constant drive to always do a little better, to be a little better. At the end of the day, knowing that I achieved something that makes me even the tiniest bit better than I was at the beginning of the day lets me sleep soundly at night with a smile on my face.

Do you have a constant burn to always be better? What goals are you currently working on? What are you doing TODAY to help you achieve them?

About Travis

16 Responses to “Want To Achieve Your Goals? Improve a Little Each Day”

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  1. Love this post Travis! It actually reminds me of the coach of my alma maters football team – Bill Snyder. He has the exact same mentality, to get a little better each day. You’re not going to achieve, generally speaking at least, some huge goal overnight – it takes work. If you work and improve little by little each day then you’re going to be much more likely of realizing success. Two of our bigger goals this year is to max out our SEPs and get our insurance (personal and business wise) in order – and we’re working on that as we speak. 🙂

  2. I think it healthy to be looking to improve on performance, whether they are personal, work or fitness related. I can taste the November finish line for paying off our debt. I’m doing whatever I can to try and pull that in.

    • Travis says:

      I know where you’re head is at, Brian….less than 9 months to go, you’re ready to just jump out and grab that finish line. Step by step, little by little you’re getting there. Once you achieve that goal, I’m looking forward to what you’re going to do next!

  3. I wouldn’t say it’s this deep, burning desire to constantly chase goals. Sometimes, at least for me, I need those moment to just be in the moment and enjoying life and what’s around me. I usually know when it’s time for those bigger goals. A boredom sets in. I had a lot of people tell me once my half was over I’d be itching to sign up for new races and honestly when it was done I was so happy it was over! lol! So for me it’s a balancing act of both being satisfied and also wanting more. I also think this comes from me getting over being a perfectionist. I was, and sometimes still am hard on myself, so letting go of a lot of expectations, especially ones that aren’t necessary for me to thrive (like a achieving a PR in running), helps alleviate those tendencies.

    • Travis says:

      Well, your next (fitness) goal doesn’t have to be another half marathon or even another running race. Maybe it’s an altogether different sport. The Tonya I know is the athletic, adventurous type that will definitely lock onto another goal eventually. 🙂

  4. I’m motivated by goals too. I get energized by the prospect of a significant physical challenge–climbing a ‘fourteener’ in Colorado, cycling around Lake Superior–and love the preparation leading up to it. Then there’s nothing like the satisfaction of actually doing it!

    • Travis says:

      Cycling around Lake Superior? Wow, that’s quite a task, Kurt…that’s a HUGE lake! 🙂 You’ve definitely got the right mentality…the preparation of getting ready for a task is the hard part (and if you enjoy it, as well as the anticipation it makes it all the sweeter)…actually DOING it is the REWARD! Thanks for sharing!

  5. David says:

    Good luck on the debt management plan. That was also an essential goal when I was paying off my debt.

    • Travis says:

      Thanks, David…we actually did complete our Debt Management Plan on 1/31. We’re off the the next items on the list now! thanks for stopping by, great to hear from you!

  6. Although our present goal is to pay of our business debt, my husband and I find ourselves motivated to de-clutter our house. I’m not sure that the two will end up being linked, but I think they might be. Chaos has been a big factor in our poor financing, and what do you know? There is chaos in many of our cupboards, drawers, shelves, and in much of our basement and garage. By tossing, simplifying, and reorganizing our house, I’m in high hopes we’ll be doing the same to our minds, and that the resulting straightforward clarity will spill over into our finances too. So many goals – fitness, household organization, job performance, financial management – are interrelated. All the best in that next 5 K and in meeting your ambitious goal to shave off 4 minutes.

    • Travis says:

      I’m a huge fan of decluttering too, Prudence. Getting ALL the clutter out of our lives (financial clutter, being unnecessary expenses, “stuff” clutter being things we have in our home but don’t need, etc), and simplifying just seems to make things run so much smoother. It does to me anyway. 🙂 Thanks for the encouragement..I’ll be sure to post my next 5K time!

  7. Mark Ross says:

    All of my goals are about my website and saving money. I really want to save more money these coming months, so that I’ll be able to invest a lot of it too on May when I will offer my very first brokerage account.

    • Travis says:

      I hope you have very specific goals, Mark – in my experience being able to clearly articulate goals is a key point in achieving them. Example, I don’t just want to “run faster,” I want to run a 5k in a specific time. I hope you nothing but success, and thanks for dropping by!

  8. “It’s a marathon not a race”

    Too many people want instant gratification when they need to realize things worth having takes time and effort. Great article

    • Travis says:

      Thanks, Ced – it’s easy to fall into the trap of getting things “right now” – nobody likes to wait. But I also know how much it sucks to go to work every day to pay for stuff I charged years ago!

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