Achieve Your Goals With Planning & Positive Thinking

by Tom Lavecchia

There’s a sweet spot when it comes to combining decisive action with the power of positive thinking. For working adults who want to achieve various kinds of goals, the right ratio is about 50/50. Success usually follows when the first steps are action-oriented, and the later ones are built on well-founded optimism. It doesn’t matter whether the aim is major or minor; the right mix and timing of practicality and a can-do attitude can win out every time.


The rule applies to the most common things people try to accomplish, like getting their lives and physical living space organized, completing a four-year degree, landing a worthwhile job, quitting a self-destructive habit, picking up a second language, finishing a long-delayed book, establishing a retirement savings account, and dozens of others. Wishing doesn’t get the job done. Explore the first action steps for each of the goals listed below.


Get Organized

Making a written plan for getting organized, regardless of whether the project is large or small, is the essential first step. Skip it, and you risk running out of enthusiasm about one-third of the way into the chore. Base the plan on the following points:


  • Limit project time to about 20 minutes per day. That way, you’ll never feel overwhelmed.
  • Don’t miss any days. This keeps the tempo and momentum going all the way to the finish line.
  • Categorize everything you own. Most items will remain where they are, like clothing, furniture, etc.
  • Move everything else to a pile with one of the following labels: charity donations, trash, sell in a garage or online sale, give away, and repair.
  • Dispose of all the piles in an orderly fashion, calling on professional haulers for things that are heavy or too big for the city waste truck.


Earn a College Degree

Finishing college is a primary life goal for millions of adults. But completing an undergraduate four-year degree program and paying the related expenses are actually two major challenges, not one. Luckily, if college is in your future, there are student loans available that can cover a portion, most, or all the bills. Why do people borrow? Few working adults and older teens have enough available cash to pay off four years’ worth of tuition, board, rooming costs, school fees, etc. Even part-time and online students face hefty tuition bills, which is why student loans make sense for most learners, no matter their age or life circumstances.


Find a Good Job

There are three elements to every good job search. Start by dusting off or creating a very good resume. Pay for professional help. It won’t cost much to get the document perfect. Next, use personal contacts and online job boards to hunt for suitable openings. The goal here is to get your resume in front of as many hiring agents as possible to score in-person or video interviews. Finally, follow up on every interview with a note of cordial thanks. Rinse and repeat the above process until you receive an offer that meets your career and salary requirements.


Quit a Bad Habit

All types of unsavory habits can be tough to break. There are even weekend habits that can degrade your quality of life without you even realizing. The list ranges from classics like fingernail biting and conversational interruptions to smoking and eating too many sweets. For significant problems like drug and alcohol use, consult a licensed healthcare practitioner. The DIY approach to habit breaking works only in non-life-threatening, everyday situations.


Enlist help from friends and family for a higher chance of success. Start slowly by only trying to refrain from the practice, says nail biting, for one hour per day. If you are successful with small increments of time, gradually expand the scope of the effort until you can avoid engaging in the habit for an entire day. Give yourself a reward when you reach the one-day mark before moving on to two days at a time, then three, and so on.


Learn Spanish

About 50 million US citizens speak Spanish as a second language, even if the majority can only converse at a basic level. Still, learning a foreign language and knowing how to speak something other than English is an accomplishment. If picking up Espanol has always eluded you, you’re in luck. The internet is your language learning friend, particularly if you’re an American who wants to acquire skills in Spanish. What’s the strategy for success?


Step one is building the determination to tackle the challenge. Make a genuine effort to consistently study and practice for at least 20 minutes a day. The most efficient approach is to sign up for a no-cost Spanish class online. There are hundreds of them, so take your time finding one that is for beginners and suits your style of learning. Some focus on grammar and vocabulary exercises, while others are more geared to everyday conversation and keep the academic emphasis to a minimum.


Write a Book

Some have a deep yearning to write a book. If you’re one of them, use the power of incremental effort to get the job done within a year or less. Don’t worry about formatting and all the technical aspects. Later, you can spend a modest amount of money and hire someone to create a digital file that can become an eBook or traditional paperback.


For now, focus on writing between 100 and 300 words per day. That’s not a lot, but it’s a real challenge to consistently crank out that many quality words day in and day out. Before you put pen to paper or fingertips on the keypad, make a super-detailed outline of the book. This skeleton will guide you from point to point as you create the story or assemble the non-fiction document.


Pay Final Expenses in Advance

Check the websites of top-rated insurance companies and find a final expense policy that’s affordable and includes all the features you want. Try to find burial, cremation, and funeral policies that offer at least $10,000 of coverage. Twice that much is better. Expect to pay a very modest monthly premium, especially if you’re under the age of 40. Final expense insurance is a bargain in today’s market.

About the Author/s

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Tom is a lifelong New Jersey resident, Rutgers and FDU alumni and the publisher of The Digest.

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