Better Budgeting: The Three P’s That Will Help You Achieve Your Goals

The Three P’s That Will Help You Achieve Your Goals

Financial Journey (featured column)
by Karen Kuebler

Whenever I have attempted to achieve a meaningful goal in my life, I have discovered that I need to apply what I started calling the 3 "P’s" to bring sanity and reassurance to the process.

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The 3 "P’s" are Patience, Practice, and Persistence

These qualities can be applied to anything you are attempting to do that requires work, whether it is finishing a college degree or trying to quit smoking. Let’s take a look at how these apply to the realization of your financial goals.

Patience

Achieving your financial goals and dreams will not happen overnight. As Napoleon Hill said, "You need a plan, and then you need to work your plan." It will take time to create your plan, work your plan, review your plan on a regular basis to see if it’s still on target, and modify plans as required. As much as we would all really love to accomplish our goals in a few years, this is an ongoing process and journey.

The best plans will include short term, intermediate, and long-term goals. I usually call short-term goals those that can be accomplished in 1-2 years. I place intermediate goals in the 3-5 year range and goals over 5 years are long-term goals.

We achieve longer-term goals by establishing short-term and intermediate-term steps to get there. As you accomplish certain milestones, the classification of a goal will shift from long-term to intermediate to short-term, etc.

As you review and modify plans you will probably discover goals you forgot. New goals will come along as you move through life and circumstances change.

The planning and execution of your goals all require Patience. By establishing more immediate goals, you will experience the gratification and reward of accomplishment. You will also find that your journey probably won’t take a straight path toward your goals. This also requires Patience as you will have to deal with the unexpected and cut yourself some slack when you veer off your path.

I can’t say I’m the most patient person in the world. I’ve really had to work on this quality! At one time I created a 40 Months to Freedom calendar that I kept posted on my wall as I was preparing for retirement. I would draw and "X" through each month that elapsed. It probably wasn’t the best trick for developing patience, but like I said – this is an ongoing process and journey!

Practice

We can all remember some of the things we did for the first time when we were young and how awkward we felt. Sometimes, even dangerous! How graceful were you the first time you tried to swim... or, when you rode a bike the first time did you make it without falling? Even when we learned to walk, we fell down over and over again.

Start observing children on a regular basis. We can learn a tremendous lesson in the use of Practice ‘with a smile’ when we watch younger ones learning something new.

We all admire the skills of Olympic ice skaters, pro-golfers, and fine concert pianists. They didn’t acquire their skills overnight. They had to Practice hours on end, for years to achieve their dreams. And, once they became the best they could be, they still continue to Practice. An ongoing journey.

And, so it is with our financial goals. It takes ongoing Practice to learn the skills to achieve your financial dreams – from developing a spending plan, tracking expenditures, learning techniques to cut expenditures, to leaving the credit card safely put away and not acquiring unmanageable debt.

Practice has a magical quality -- the more you do it, the easier that thing becomes that you are working on!

Persistence

This is the quality you need to have when you’ve lost your Patience and you are sick and tired of Practice. It is Persistence that keeps you going when you might feel like giving up. Ever have one of those days or moments when you feel you just can’t take another step?  It is this same quality that drives a young child to get up and start over when they fall down each time they try to walk.

As you Persist, you will find yourself moving further along your journey. The road will get bumpy, but your Persistence will keep you moving ahead. As you achieve important milestones and goals, you will find your resolve and commitment deepening. It works in a wonderful cycle as you find yourself becoming even more Persistent. It is this characteristic that will keep you on your path toward your goals and it is this quality that won’t allow anything to get in your way of achieving what is important to you.

It is a useful exercise to evaluate your goals on a regular basis. Sometimes our Persistence might keep us working on a goal that is no longer of value in our life. I have found myself locked into doing something because I had it as a goal for so many years, and so I continued to persist to achieve it. I’ve learned that we can’t allow ourselves to be held hostage by goals we’ve outgrown. If we develop Persistence as an attribute, we just need to make sure we are following the right path.

The 3 "P’s" work together in a synergistic way. You become more Persistent and determined because you are working on something that really matters to you. It’s difficult to feel determined and persist to accomplish something you aren’t passionate about.

You will find that the more Persistent you are, the more Patience you will need because we can’t control life. Events often don’t occur in an ideal time table that we have designed. We build our Patience muscle through continual Practice and developing the ability to accept life as it occurs.

Yet, with continual Persistence, you can guide your ship. I love the quote "We can’t control the wind, but we can adjust our sails."

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Copyright © 2002 by Karen Kuebler. All rights reserved.

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