Goal, true goals, not wishes, are a great thing to have. Goals help us achieve what we truly want and stop life from passing us by. But what are goals? Are goals wants? Yes they can be, but not entirely. Goals are defined wants. I want to be able to retire, my goal is to have four million dollars in investments and 10 duplexes. I want to be debt free but if I want to get through graduate school, I need to take student loans out for a couple years. Which is more important? By defining your goals you determine what is possible, what is most important and most importantly, how you are going to reach your goal.
The first part of having goals if defining them. Goals are not just financial, I have personal and professional goals as well. Professionally my goal is to get a professorship and get paid to do research in my own lab. Personally, my goals include such things as getting married, having children and making connections in the community. And, of course, financially, I plan to become financially independent.
But I cannot just jump from this point to my goals. I need minigoals along the path to help me stay focused and to continue getting me toward the main goal. For example, to reach my main professional goal to become a professor and get my own lab I need to get into the master's program and then into a PhD program. Along the way I need to publish at least two papers and get one grant that I can use as a post-doctoral fellow. During, my post-doctoral fellowship I need to publish at least one more article and get one more grant. This path, should get me a professor position at a university. However, determining this path does not mean there will not be detours but by having goals and minigoals I increase my chances to achieve my goals. I must note that my goal of becoming a professor will require many years and some money to pay for tuition which will affect my other goals. It may even make it harder to achieve my other goals.
Next post I will go in depth regarding my goal of financial independence. I'll talk about where I compromised on that goal for other goals and where I made the choices to make myself be independent in the future.