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Setting our Goals for a Simpler Lifestyle

We are often asked how did we do it, leave our jobs, the security of a steady paycheck and move across the country to find a simpler way of life. While there are many answers to these questions, the one thing that we did do is "set our goals". Byron and I are both big believers in goal setting, and have used goals in many areas of our life.

How did we set our goals? We answered three questions! Below is a brief summary of how to set goals:

On a separate piece of paper, answer these three questions:

1.What three things would I like to achieve in the next five years? Make sure your answers are specific and measurable.

2. Where am I today in relation to my three goals, and what actions do I need to take to get me from where I am today to where I want to be? This question, in my opinion, is the key to successful goal attainment: The answer to this question will help you determine what steps you need to take to reach your goal.

3. What is the time frame required in order to complete each action step? Putting time frames for each action step allows you to monitor your progress, and helps to keep you on track.

That's it...three questions, but often times there is confusion between goals and action plans. Let's make an important distinction between a goal and an action plan.

Simply put, a "goal" tells you

WHAT you want ;


an "action plan" tells you HOW you are going to get it.

For example, let's say you want to go on a vacation next year.

You decide that your goal is to take a two week vacation in Hawaii. Obviously, you could choose any goal whether it would be to simplify your life, turn your hobby into your career, the list could go on and on.

Your action plan tells you what steps you need to take to reach your goal of going to Hawaii. For example, your action plan would show you how you will get there, where you will stay, how much money you will need, how you will budget for it, and when you will make reservations.

So your "goal" is your trip to Hawaii, and your "action plan" describes how you will go about achieving that goal.

Without action plans, the majority of goals are usually not achieved. You need to incorporate how you will achieve your goal.

An action plan also helps you to identify any obstacles or challenges that you may encounter along the way. Let's assume you do not have enough money to go to Hawaii right now. So, your action plan would identify funding as an issue to resolve, and highlight the necessity to develop a plan to ensure you obtain enough money.

To summarize:

WHAT = Goal

HOW = Action Plan

WHEN = Time Frames

Our goal to "simplify our life" had a time frame of 5 years, however, due to unexpected delays it ended up taking us 8 years. There were setbacks that we did not anticipate, but we were determined and very persistent to reach our goal to change our lifestyle to one of simplicity. Each time we were faced with a setback, we would go back and readjust our action plans, but the most important thing that we did is that we never lost sight of our end goal.

Today, we have achieved our goal of a simpler lifestyle. Our hope in sharing this information is that you will set your goals and never lose sight of your end goal. If you have determination and persistance you will reach it!

About the author:
Catherine Pulsifer is one of the authors of Stress Relief by a Simple Life Stories, thoughts, inspirational quotes, and poems on stress relief, by living a simple life. We have found less stress by implementing simplicity, being more frugal, doing crafts and more.

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