How to Take Your Goals from Good to Great

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take your goals from good to great

Whatever goals you have on your list right now, I’m guessing that having the ability to fast forward your success in reaching those goals sounds very appealing. Are you working to reach financial independence? If so, wouldn’t it be nice to fast forward your success and reach financial freedom in ten years instead of 15? Or wouldn’t it be great to have that mortgage paid off in eight years instead of ten? Of course it would. But, sometimes getting there can seem so impossible that we just give up trying altogether.

The amazing thing is that by making tiny yet constant progress, you can shave years off the length of time it will take to achieve your personal and financial goals and move from ‘good’ to ‘great’ when it comes to accomplishing the goals you’ve set for yourself.

You Really Can Take Your goals from good to great


Whatever your goals, I have one little tidbit of advice that can help you reach them faster, which is the key to taking your goals from good to great, and that advice can be summarized in one simple quote:

It’s the smallest amount of extra effort that will separate the “good” from the “best”.

How can this quote help you to fast forward your success? What do these simple words mean for you and for your goals? How do you trade in “good” for “best”?

By making the “smallest amount of extra effort” on a consistent basis.

In practical terms, that means that you choose to, for instance, cut all possible expenses by an extra $5 each month. Or that you choose to earn an extra $50 a week to put toward your financial goal.

In terms of health goals, it means that, for example, you run an extra half mile each day or cut your calorie intake by 100 calories a day.

These changes aren’t major changes, and they won’t be terribly noticeable or taxing on your psyche or your time. They will, however, add up to big changes over the long haul.

For instance, cutting your calorie intake by 100 calories a day means you eat one less large apple, one less handful of your favorite chips, or 4 1/2 less Hershey’s kisses each day. By making those small changes, you will lose 1 extra pound a month, and 12 extra pounds for the year. By what percentage would that 12 pounds fast forward your weight loss goal?

In terms of money, that $20 less you spend a week on whatever you choose to cut out equals over $1,000 per year, not including the investment income you’ll earn on that cash, or the interest you’ll not pay on your loan. How much would $1,000 per year, plus compounding interest, speed up your current financial goals?

You see, the great thing about choosing to put in a little extra effort is that, on the front end, you’ll hardly notice the change, but the results you’ll see over the long haul are much larger than the effort you had to put in to get them.

That extra effort, however, requires one making the choice to do just a little bit more. It requires discipline, and  a willingness to say to yourself “I want more than ‘good enough.'” Are you willing to put in that little bit of extra effort to push your success from “good” to “best”? Choose today to make the changes that will fast forward your success, and see how much more quickly you reach your goals.


What goals are you working on currently? How can you put in a little bit of extra effort to reach those goals faster and take your goals from good to great? What is one small thing you can do today to inch yourself closer to your financial goals?



Photo courtesy of: Carol VanHook

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Laurie is a wife, mother to 4, and homesteader who blogs about personal finance, self-sufficiency and life in general over at The Frugal Farmer. Part witty, part introspective and part silly, her goal in blogging is to help others find their way to financial freedom, and to a simpler, more peaceful life.


  • Autumn @ The Barefoot Budgeter says:

    Love this. I get caught up in the big things so often that I forget the little things count too. The little things almost take more discipline – it’s much harder to say no to a $5 fancy coffee because “it’s only $5” than it is to say no to $100 pair of shoes. Those little $5 purchases really do add up!

  • I am currently working on losing the last 5-6 pounds of baby weight, although I’m not sure I should call it that since my youngest is 3!

  • Great post! I read a book recently from Darrin Hardy, the man who publishes Success Magazine. His book was about the power of compounding. I, like most people, think of compounding in terms of money. You compound your savings and your money grows faster. But his book applies compounding to all areas of your life and shows that small changes add up to huge results. It was really an eye opener as I’ve never related the 2 before.

  • Kim says:

    I’m always trying to cut those 100 calories and often do. The problem is those days when I add an extra 300…….I could certainly do better.

  • Great post! I think making a tiny bit of extra effort all of the time is so effective because it’s like a snowball. As you make tiny efforts, eventually they become second nature, making them not an extra effort anymore, so you pick up more extra efforts.. finally that $5/month is $50/month and making a big difference.

    • Laurie says:

      I completely agree, Daisy!! The great thing about those extra tiny amounts is that they’re hardly noticeable while you’re doing them but then you wake up one day to find out they’ve made a big impact.

  • Money Beagle says:

    Very good and very motivating. I have a goal to work out consistently and to improve my routine. Typically I run on the treadmill with intervals (1 minute walking, 2-3 minutes running) until I complete a 5K. Yesterday I decided to step it up and tried running the whole time (albeit at a lower pace) and was able to do so.

    That felt great!

    • Laurie says:

      That’s awesome, MB!!! I started running when I turned 41 and did a similar training technique. I’ll never forget how great it felt to complete my first 3.1 mile run while training, or how it felt to cross the finish line at my first 5k race. It was awesome, and it was all possible because I pushed myself just a little bit further than I wanted to go with each run.

  • The little things really do add up. I think I’m doing this with my ukulele training. I know I’m not good right now, and that’s to be expected, but every day, with just a little bit of practice, will eventually make me a good player. I just can’t give up because of frustration that not enough is happening “right now.” I think that’s where most people give up. They want instant results.

    • Laurie says:

      Tonya, you’re SO right. I feel that way often about our debt. Progress seems so slow that it often feels easier just to give up, but you will cross the finish line with the ukelele, just like we will with our debt one day, and I know we’ll both be so glad we stuck it out.

  • Prudence Debtfree says:

    Being consistently disciplined is the toughest thing going! There’s a steadiness and a vigilance that’s required – a maturity really. When I really want to change something, there seem to be 4 steps involved:
    1. Yank myself out of my outdated comfort zone.
    2. Try to achieve change at an unsustainable level of effort.
    3. Overcome impatience regarding inevitably slow pace of change.
    4. Settle into a consistency that allows for the occasional burst of effort, but that is overall steady, patient, and lasting.

    • Laurie says:

      Prudence, what a great list!! You should write a blog post on that! We’ve gotten into similar patterns here too. Sometimes I still struggle with the “slow and steady” method, but at the same time, I know it helps us stay the course for the long term. 🙂

  • John Schmoll says:

    Great post Laurie – very motivating! I liken it to the belief of making those small improvements every day. They might seem small or insignificant, but over time they can add up to something pretty significant. The challenge, I’ve found, is staying committed to that day in and day out but if you keep your goal in front of you it can be done.

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks, John!! This post makes me think about how you and Nicole took those small and steady steps with the biz until you finally reached that point of being able to quit your “real” job. 🙂

  • Kipp says:

    This is a really great post. So what can I do today… well it is already after 9pm, maybe after responding to this I can turn off my computer to save electricity :). But yea, it is crazy to think that saving just a little bit more will add up. It also matters how you handle those savings, either they need to be invested or put against loans to benefit from the compounding. I am quite scattered as to attacking loans and investing, but progress is being made as long as I am doing one or the other!

  • Amy says:

    I love this concept, especially since I’m facing such a huge mountain of debt. Health-wise, I’m going to go to bed at 11 (instead of 11:30) every night. I definitely need more sleep.

  • It’s crazy how much of a difference a little extra effort can make. I relate this to bible reading. When I put in the extra 15 minutes to read each day, it goes a long way. I seem to only do this in 3 month stretches, though, and then fall off the wagon. It’s such a small sacrifice, though, it really doesn’t make sense to NOT make the sacrifice.

  • Every little bit adds up! I’m working on expediting my debt payoff and also lose 5 lbs (darn you summer!). It seems like it’s not worth it at first, but you have to keep the big picture in perspective.

    • Laurie says:

      “It seems like it’s not worth it at first.” I couldn’t agree more, Melanie!! That is a huge deception that causes us to not put in that extra effort, isn’t it?

  • Great way to think about it, though those small changes are definitely easier said than done 😉

    • Laurie says:

      Some are, and some aren’t. Running an extra quarter or half mile might be hard, but running an extra block might be more doable. Saying “no” to that $5 beauty clearance item that you really don’t need might be difficult at first, but eventually it becomes much easier – with practice, that is. 🙂

  • Taylor says:

    This is totally me! I get overwhelmed by the enormity of things and then start getting anxious. I’m trying to be better about breaking up things into small pieces. Far more manageable!

  • E.M. says:

    I really like the idea of breaking goals down into smaller, more achievable mini-goals. Every step we take in the right direction will help, no matter how big. I have to admit, I went all in on trying to save money and cut my budget, but I could do this with making more money.

    • Laurie says:

      Exactly. A once a week staff writing gig might take an hour of your time each week, but that extra $30 or whatever a month can add up quickly!

  • This reminds me of James Clear’s concept about making a schedule instead of a deadline which I think is super powerful. Tiny, small changes in habit is what will help you reach your goals!

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