Secrets to Success, Part 1: Connecting Your Goals to Your Core Values

Photo (cc) by mick62

Information + Motivation = Inspiration
– Zig Zigler

For more than 20 years, I’ve been in the business of providing information: tips to help TV news viewers and readers make more, spend less, and avoid bonehead money moves. But while information is useful, when it comes realizing goals, it isn’t enough. If it were, nobody would be overweight, smoke, or overuse credit. We do things that aren’t in our best interests not because we’re lacking information, but because we’re lacking the motivation to change.

If you’ve ever set a goal – say, saving $1,000, or losing 10 pounds – and not succeeded, you know what I’m talking about. Your goal was obviously important, or you wouldn’t have created it. Yet you couldn’t summon the motivation to follow through. Why?

It’s an interesting question that I’ve been seeking answers to. In this post and a couple to follow, I’m going to share some of what I’ve learned. Hopefully these posts will provide the missing ingredient that will help you reach your goals and help you help those close to you, both at home and at work, reach theirs.

Connecting your goal to your core values

We all know that the only way to accomplish anything is to make it a goal: to write it down, share it, have a start date, an ending date, yada, yada, yada. (I’ve written about it many times, in posts like Step One in Destroying Debt? Create a Goal)

So you make goals: Lose weight. Pay off a credit card. Exercise. Quite smoking. Sometimes they work, more often they don’t. Why don’t they get accomplished? Because they’re not directly tied to what really makes you happy: your core values.

If you’re going to accomplish anything – especially something that requires changing your behavior – you’ve got to start by knowing what’s important. Not what’s important to me. Not what’s important to your husband, wife, or boss. What’s important to you. You’ve got to take the time to reflect on what you want your life to be about.

In my book Life or Debt, I ask you to close your eyes and imagine the happiest moments of your life. Or to imagine for a moment that you’re on your deathbed. What parts of your life would you be remembering? Traveling? Fishing? Family? Laughing with friends? Helping or mentoring others?

Before you set Goal 1, brainstorm. About what you want from life. About who you are. About what really makes you happy. This is the first step to getting it. And just as important, it’s going to expose how you’re now wasting time, money, and energy on stuff that you really don’t care about.

When you’re lying on your deathbed, will you be remembering all that TV you watched? The clothes you wore? The car you drove? Unless you’re shallow as a puddle, not likely. Yet you’re spending a lot of your only nonrenewable resource – the time you have on this planet – on this stuff. Why? Because you’ve lost touch with your core values. Instead of doing what you should be doing, you’re doing what the commercials told you to do, what your parents thought was a good idea, or what your friends are doing.

Create a goal that works

If you want to create a goal that works, start by knowing what you really want from life. Then connect your goals to that purpose. If travel blows your skirt up, buying skirts at the mall isn’t taking you where you want to go, nor is giving money to a credit card company. If serving others makes your life fulfilling, you’ll do more of it if you stop filling your life with TV. If family lights you up, you’ll be around them longer if you stop lighting up.

In short, if you want to follow through with a goal, tie it to a core value. And if you want to help other people follow through – your family, your friends, or your co-workers, help by asking them to first focus on the happiest moments of their lives, or the way they picture their ideal selves. Then help them get there by creating goals that align with that ideal.

Stay tuned for more in my next “Secrets to Success” post.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
15 Products You Need — Even If You Didn’t Know It

Discover some must-have products on Amazon that you didn’t even know you were missing.

10 Things That Really Are Free on Amazon

These freebies are available to anyone — no Prime membership necessary.

5 Renovations That Can Impact Your Home Insurance

Home improvements can affect your home insurance policy for the better, the worse or both.

The Worst Nursing Homes in America Are Revealed

The nursing homes with a history of providing subpar care previously hadn’t been identified for a government list.

21 Purchases You Should Never Skimp On

With some items, it makes sense to pay a little more rather than hopping on the lowest price.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

9 Deep Discounts Available on Amazon This Friday

These items are all steeply discounted — but the deals won’t last long.

The 15 Worst States for Retirees in 2020

Based on dozens of metrics tied to affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value

You can add value to your home without hiring a contractor to do expensive renovations.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.