5 Steps To Accomplish Anything

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Can you really accomplish anything? If you're facing a challenge, but don't know where to start here are 5 simple tips to help bring about success.

While I’m out of town for a family wedding, please enjoy this contribution from Adam at 

I often find that many people have a problem I don’t identify with. Getting started. This has never been a failure of mine. I’m a list maker and a planner who tends to map out goals and processes and immediately jump in to projects. My problem is that I tend to create major projects out of small things. For example, our few garden beds have morphed in to 22 trees, 4 major vegetable beds, and a herb garden.

I realize I’m not like many who sometimes struggle with taking the first steps toward accomplishing goals. It can seem overwhelming. The most important step is to get in the game.

be honest about where You Are


Regardless of the goal (financial freedom, college degree, new skill set, six pack abs) the first step to being able to accomplish anything is always an honest assessment of where you are. If you want those abs, you need to measure your body fat and evaluate the amount of weight you need to lose to get there. You’re going to have to carefully examine your diet and be honest about the junk food.

If you want to pay off debt, you need to pull all those bills out and add up the balances and look at the interest rates. It may be painful, but it’s always the first step.

determine Where You Want To Be


“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.”
“I don’t much care where –”
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.”
― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

As the Cheshire Cat taught us, if you don’t know where you want to go, the path you take doesn’t really matter. The most important thing you can do in this entire process is create a specific goal to be accomplished by a specific time.

Bad Goals:

  • I want to lose weight
  • I want to save money
  • I want to advance my career

Good Goals

  • I want to be at 15 percent body fat by June 1.
  • I want to max out my IRA of $5,500 and have $10,000 in my emergency fund by the end of the year.
  • I plan a raise of at least $10,000 at my year-end review or I’ll have to re-evaluate my role here.

know How To Get There


Every destination needs a roadmap (let’s pretend we’re pre-GPS here) and guideposts along the way to ensure you’re still going the right direction. All good goals need something similar. Once you’ve established where you are and where you want to be, you must map out specific, actionable steps to track your progress toward your goal.

Good Steps:

To Run a marathon this year I want to:

  • Follow the detailed plan of couch to marathon
  • Run the local 5k in June
  • Run the local 10k in May
  • Run in local marathon in September

To Save 50 percent of my income this year:

  • Save $10,000 by March, $20,000 by June, $30,000 by September and $40,000 by year end.
  • Automate maxing out of my 401(k) / IRA (which hits 30 percent)
  • Set up an automatic $500 / month move to my savings account
  • Reduce bills by 10 percent (20 percent stretch goal)
  • Cut cable
  • Switch to a cheaper cell phone plan
  • Eat out less than once per week

Get Started


Many people spend their whole lives too afraid to leave their cage. They’re afraid they’ll fail. They’re afraid they aren’t good enough. They worry about what other people will say. There are always a million reasons (excuses) not to take a risk, take a chance, or try to better yourself.

Take the first step. Just get out there and try it. If you want to run that marathon, start walking. If you want to attack that debt, start saving. If you want to start a business, find a client. Don’t be scared. Well, be scared. We’re all scared. Don’t let being scared stop you. Step up.

If you still can’t seem to get over whatever issue you have, I’ll tell you one of my favorite tricks. This is something guys are often told when they have a deep fear of approaching a girl. Ask yourself what is the worst that can happen? Sit down with a piece of paper and write down the absolute worst case scenario. Ninety nine percent of the time, the absolute worst case scenario will be laughable when you look at it in black and white. You’ll ask yourself, “What was I scared of?”

Can you really accomplish anything? If you're facing a challenge, but don't know where to start here are 5 simple tips to help bring about success.

Stay Accountable


Anytime you try to accomplish anything, especially something hard, you’ll have doubts. You’ll also frequently have doubters. Sometimes things get tough and you wonder why you are going after your goals in the first place. These are the moments when you need an accountability partner. This is why startups seem so much more successful with at least two founders. They bring different, complementary skillsets and they keep the other person on the path when they want to quit or stray.

Find someone who is working toward the same goal, dealing with the same issues, and is a positive person looking to better themselves. It’s so important to surround yourself with people who will build you up and help you toward your goals, not those who bring you down.

Doing it alone is tough. In any endeavor it’s always easier to have a partner. You need someone to have your back, give encouragement in a moment of weakness, and keep you on the path toward accomplishing your goals.


What is the first thing you do when you try and accomplish a seemingly impossible goal? How do you keep yourself motivated when you’re working towards a difficult goal? How do you hold yourself accountable?


Author Bio: Adam Chudy is a writer, analyst and investor living in Houston, Texas. Check out his blog at where he writes about personal finance, investing, personal improvement, and living a better life. Follow him on twitter @AdamChudy.

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John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.

Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.

Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.

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  • Thias @It Pays Dividends says:

    I’ve been someone who has struggled to get started on numerous things throughout my life. I keep planning forever but have always had trouble implementing. I’ve been trying more and more to stop planning for every little thing and trying to jump into things quickly. The thing is, you will never be 100% prepared for most things so it is easy to get stuck in the planning mode and never actually accomplish anything!

    • Adam @ says:

      There’s definitely danger of paralysis by analysis. I’m a believer in planning, but I’m also a believer in just taking action. Put something out in the world and see what happens.

  • Jon @ Money Smart Guides says:

    I break my goals down into smaller goals. To me, the big goals can feel overwhelming at times. By breaking them up into smaller goals, it feels more attainable to me and I attack them with more motivation.

    On top of that though, the other key is to get started! I’ve failed at goals in the past because I was too busy trying to prevent failure by over-analyzing how I was going to reach my goal. I’ve since learned that I just have to start and if I fail, take a step back and then reassess.

    • Adam @ says:

      Creating small steps is really helpful. Small wins tend to turn in to more small wins. Momentum is hard to stop once your rolling.

  • Holly@ClubThrifty says:

    We are similar in this way. I never have a problem starting something. In fact, I often start new things before I really know what I am doing!

  • Kim@Eyesonthedollar says:

    I agree that it’s important to break big goals into small steps. Otherwise, it gets too overwhelming and there is a real danger of giving up. When we had a ton of debt, I think we put of trying to repay it because it just seemed too hard, but when we decided to pay off smaller chunks at a time, it all fell into place.

    • Adam @ says:

      I think that’s one of the only reasons to go after a small debt over the high interest debt. Those small wins are so important psychologically for most people.

      Cheers on getting rid of that debt!

  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde says:

    These are great steps John!! I think accountability is huge. I tell my clients all the time that I think the biggest reason for their success is that I hold their feet to the fire and force them to achieve the goals they laid out for themselves. It’s easy to decide where you want to go and make the plan to get there, but really difficult to stay on course, especially when life gets in the way, which it always does. Accountability keeps you on track.

    • Adam @ says:

      Thanks Shannon. I think having an accountability partner is huge. That’s why for the blog I have a monthly mastermind, and similar things for my personal and financial goals.

  • Hannah says:

    I find that my best goals are developed several weeks or months after I’ve actually started my actions. Once I’ve developed a true sense of the landscape of my goal, I feel much more confident that I can set and achieve difficult (but not impossible) goals.

    • Adam @ says:

      Well you have to have a general goal to get started. You can definitely then make your more specific goals and action steps from there.

      Once I started writing (general goal), my specific goals and action steps have continually evolved as I’ve gotten further along.

  • Fervent Finance says:

    Congrats on the guest post Adam. Getting started in my mind is definitely the hardest, but most important step!

  • Kayla @ The Jenny Pincher says:

    Great tips! I just started a new workout routine to help me get back into better shape and even though I didn’t want to go this morning, I made myself start Day 1 today. Woot!

    • Adam @ says:

      Thanks Kayla. Congrats on getting started! I think an accountability partner is probably most important for fitness, because it’s so easy to cheat and so important to be consistent. I hope you find somebody.

  • Jason B says:

    Those are some great steps. Determining where you want to be is my favorite one. Once I did that I got motivated to get there.

  • Athena says:

    Follow up is definitely key. I always have so many great ideas and go gusto at first then get distracted by something else.

  • Erik @ A More Successful You says:

    Hey Adam,

    Great post. I believe there are three things that I believe need to take place to achieve a goal.

    1. Have a plan and start doing it.
    Like you said above, if you to start a business, find a client. It’s as easy as that.

    2. Look for ways to improve your plan and strive to efficiency reach your goal.
    Work smarter and not harder is the way to go here. If you can shave a month, a year, or whatever time period off of your timeline for the goal, it is worth it.

    3. Keep going and don’t give up!
    This is obvious. Quitters never win and winners never quit.

    Have a great day!

  • Gary @ Super Saving Tips says:

    I’m great at getting started, but not always great at following through to the end. I think having an accountability partner is very helpful. Also, celebrating milestones on your way helps to keep you motivated.

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