I am currently in the midst of studying for the CFP® exam and am scheduled to sit for it in the middle of July. This exam is a 170-question, six-hour exam that carries a historical average fail rate of roughly 40%. Obviously, my goal is to pass this exam. As a result, I began preparing roughly a year and a half ago by enrolling in various courses, making a study schedule, and taking a lot of different quizzes and tests (and I am not done yet!). Achieving my goal of passing this exam is requiring a significant amount of preparation, determination, and sacrifice not only from me but also from my teammates at Master’s and from my incredible wife. It has been daunting and stressful at times. It can be tempting to entertain thoughts such as “Can I really do this?” or to become overwhelmed when faced with all that has yet to be done.
When it comes to achieving a goal you have set, just like my goal to pass this exam, you first need to determine how far you are away from being able to achieve the goal. Then, it is vital to develop a course of action that you know you can stick to in order to put you on the path to achievement. This step is very important, because if you do not commit the necessary amount of time, energy, or resources to the goal, it is unlikely you will achieve it. However, over-committing can be equally as dangerous, resulting in burnout, stress, and strained relationships with those you are close to.
Now that you know what your goal is and you have a plan in place for how to achieve it, the hard part comes: sticking to the plan. This is especially difficult for goals that could be years away. Life can throw curveballs at you that are unexpected and could have the effect of distracting you from your course of action. This is where determination and accountability come in handy. Having the mindset to stick to your plan and having people around you to keep you accountable to your plan will help you to be successful. Finally, when faced with the inevitable thoughts of doubt and times of stress, I have been intentional to remember that God is in ultimate control and I can only find true peace through my faith in Him.
What goals have you accomplished that you never would have thought were possible? As you reflect, what were the most vital aspects of your plan that enabled you to be successful?