Part 2: Challenges, Goals and Action Plans

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In part 2 of The Balanced Business Experience in Action, I share how I used steps 3-5 of my methodology to buy my first house this year.

In this episode: 

  • How to identify the challenges to accomplishing your goal.
  • Setting micro-goals to get you to macro wins
  • Creating a plan of action and new habits to keep your goals on track.


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Episode Transcript 

Hey guys, thanks so much for joining me for this episode of Creatives Crushing Anxiety. Now we are in part 2 of The Balance Business Experience In Action Series where I’m going through my methodology and telling you how I used this methodology to buy my first home this year.

I’m so excited about this episode because I love this methodology and if you’ve caught part one, then you know that I really credit this to my success in buying my dream home. This is something that I feel is so much easier to see when you’re seeing it tangible and it’s not just a big idea or if you’re not working through it yourself and you’re just listening to the seven-video series without doing the workbook. You really get to see how it works.

If you have not watched video one or listened to that podcast episode, I invite you to go back because I will say it a million times in the series that these steps build upon each other.


So the next step is to look at the challenges. Typically with the challenges step, you will go over what your current reality is and what you say are your values and priorities. Then see how they line up together.

So for me,  I was saying the things that I really wanted in the house what I wanted to feel how I wanted to experience things and that was my priority. Those were the things that were important to me. And then my current reality I was talking about the things that I both loved and didn’t like about my current reality like my noisy neighbors, having to look for parking, not having an assigned spot, that sort of thing.

Where I go a little bit off of the methodology is with the challenges you typically look at the differences between these two. But in my case, it was very, very apparent what was different. And with buying a house you look at different kinds of challenges versus the current reality in the values and priorities. You’re looking at the challenges that are stopping you from getting to that goal. So I obviously knew when you want to buy a house, you have to have a certain credit score, you have to have a low debt to income ratio. And what that means if you’re not familiar with that terminology is what you owe other people needs to be a smaller percentage of how much money you bring in each month. I knew that as an S Corp, my income is a little bit different than someone who has worked a nine to five and gets W2s. I knew that there were things that I needed to pay off. I knew that I needed to save money. So these are the “challenges” that I would need to address in order to make this dream a reality.

Goal Setting

Once I looked at what those challenges were, what those things that I would need to do were I went and set the goals. Now obviously, this may be where when you’re typically going through this process, this is where you would say okay, based on back current reality, the values and priorities, and then what my challenges are in between those two, what do I want to change and my situation? What are the goals that I need to create in order to overcome these challenges?

And I just want to pause and say this is why I really really love this methodology. Because while there are steps to go through and there is a preferred way that you go through them, it is customizable based on what you have going on and what it is you want to accomplish, a lot of systems aren’t like that. They’re like no, you have to follow steps these even if it doesn’t make sense.

For me, it was very clear that okay, I have these, this amount of credit cards, this amount of like debt, what do I want to pay? How do I plan to pay it off? So I (project management nerd over here)  had an Airtable sheet with all the home stuff like a tab for the ZIP codes I wanted to live in. I had a tab for projected dates of things. I had a debt payoff tab where I would start with the name of the card, how much the balance was, what was the available credit on it because that is also really important when you’re buying a house is having available credit. So if you have a credit card that has a $2,000 limit, and you spent $1,900 of that that isn’t good. I decided okay, I wanted everything to be at least 25% or lower of what the limit was. So just to make this math even simpler if I had a $100 limit on a card. I didn’t want to have more than $25 charged on that.

I had that that sections for what the balance was, what the limit was when I plan to have it paid off. Every first of the month, I would go in and say okay, this is the current balance and a payoff due date. I used what I believe is the Snowball Effect. It’s the Dave Ramsey term where you tackle one thing at a time. Make one small victory at a time so I picked either the lowest card balance or the one with the highest interest rate so I can see progress slowly over time. So it was like, “Okay, yes, I’m paying the minimums on certain cards, but right now I’m making the point to pay an extra $500 a month on the Best Buy card until it’s below that 25% And then I’ll tackle MasterCard,” or whatever it may be. So I started making these kinds of goals and in addition to that, looking at my current reality of knowing how much I was typically bringing in in a month, how much I wanted to save each month to go towards the down payment. So this was really, really super powerful for me to have these goals that had time they were smart goals.

But just so you know so that was a really big part, as far as setting those goals.

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Action Plan

Now the next step that we’re going to go into in the final step for this episode is action plans custom solutions for you. Now I kind of gave you guys a little bit of a sneak peek when I was talking about my goals and what my action plan was, this is how I’m going to pay these things off and this is when but I definitely wanted to take it a step for a step farther and obviously I just got really excited when I was talking about it. So rather than re-recording that I wanted to flashback and say, okay, obviously, those are my goals. I knew I wanted to pay things down and then the action plans were how much I was going to be saving a month and how much I was going to be paying down and how I plan to actually save and play and pay things down.

The other thing that I want to highlight is in action plans we typically look at habits so we look at what habits are you proud of? What habits would you like to change? How do you work best? What things do you let distract you? What are your current strengths? What are your weaknesses, what is something you do daily? What is something you want to do each day but often don’t?

I got really, really clear on what are my habits so I may notice okay, I’m spending this much on fast food…etc.  I am not going to tell you to stop drinking your Starbucks coffee or to never go get a burger from your favorite burger place. But I was looking at how often I was doing things like that and looking at cheaper alternatives. I got really lucky (which sounds weird to say) because the pandemic hit when I was in the midst of this goal and like trying to start making things happen like literally, it was March when everything kind of shut down of last year and it was March when I signed the agreement to actually buy the house that I ended up getting this year. So it was the year where everything was kind of weird. Everything was kind of shut down. We were limited. But why I said I got lucky is because obviously, I didn’t want to be out. So I wasn’t spending money at bars. Yes, I was spending money at the liquor store but not as much as I would have at bars. I wasn’t eating out as much, that wasn’t a social activity anymore. You didn’t just meet your friends at Chili’s on a Friday night because you didn’t necessarily feel safe or maybe the inside wasn’t even open. So I started making some the meals that I loved so much. I started finding them [frozen] I love chicken parmesan and if you go to Olive Garden, their chicken Parmesan is like $16 I found the best and I try a few before I found the one that I’m obsessed with. I found the best like frozen chicken parmesan that I can actually heat up in the oven so it tastes amazing and I’m always super satisfied with it.

So even with the stimulus checks, I know a lot of people who just went like blew that or had fun, which I do think was the purpose was to stimulate the economy. But I was like, “I got this $1,400 stimulus check. I’m gonna put at least 1000 on the specified credit card or whatever it may be.” So just looking at the little habits and little tweaks that I can make so that it didn’t feel so daunting and just small things that I could do. Versus me going to go pick up this this food if I was going to order out how much is how much am I spending more if I use Favor, (which is kinda like Uber Eats here in Texas.) If I was going to order delivery there’s a tip, the markup that they always have on there, the service fee, like how much could I save? If I just went to get it myself and did it make sense to go get it myself? Or was I spending more gas?

There were just like little things like that, that I started creating these new habits and it’s so funny if you follow me on Instagram, you’ll notice that I did a story maybe a month or two ago, and I was saying how the whole mindset of getting ready to buy a house and knowing that I wanted to save and pay off debt has stuck with me even though I’ve accomplished the goal because I’m in the home. I saw a basket and that was at a picnic basket and I was like, “Dia you don’t even like outside. I was like the only thing you like less than being outside is eating outside. Why do you need a picnic basket?” So I didn’t buy it even though it’s kind of like this impulse buy I wanted to buy.

I definitely didn’t feel deprived during this journey, but I was more aware. Being aware of just these little bitty habits does build over time. So when you say okay, let me notice this, let me observe this. Let me be aware of this. Then it kind of becomes a reflex, like versus putting that basket in my cart. I was like, “Do you really need this? Are you really gonna use this?” I have a cooler if I did decide to go on a picnic that could fit so much. I use this cooler every single time that I go visit my family so I can have my green juices and everything. I didn’t need it. And I became aware of it because I built that habit over time.

Just doing small little tweaks in being very, very observant. Noticing the way that I was reacting with money, the way I was treating money, how I was spending money. So creating that action plan and having the big and the small in there is a great way to see success. Because when you say,” I’m going to pay $500 a month on Best Buy until it’s at $200.” “When possible I’m going to go pick up my food versus spending about $10 more on delivery.”

Then those little things add up over time you’re seeing big results with the big thing, but you’re also building smaller results that will add up eventually. So just setting these action plans into place and knowing what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it and just giving yourself room and giving yourself grace.

That is one of the thing that I tell my clients, both coaching and project management or online business management like my clients in all areas. I always remind them to get to give themselves grace because you will slip up and there will be one day where you just are too tired. You don’t want to put on a bra. You don’t want to go pick up food. And so you’re gonna pay that extra 10 bucks to get it delivered and to say, “Okay, this was the exception, not the rule. It’s okay. I did what I needed to do at that moment.”

I still went and got massages. I did whatever it was that I needed to do, even though it may have seemed like it was not good for the goal. But sometimes you have to take care of yourself over the goal and just give yourself grace when you do that and just know that this is the exception and not the rule.

I also was thinking about this like you get to decide what your values are. And if you let’s say you have a big financial goal because you want to retire spouse or you want to bring on a VA.

[bctt tweet=”You don’t want to be suffering to make this goal happen.” username=”Diadoll”]

Let’s say you have chronic back pain and you know that  you like to get a massage once a month and that it physically helps you, it helps you be more productive. It helps you not be in pain all the time. Then include that in your action plan. You don’t have to get rid of all the things that you love. As I said, I’m going to tell you to get rid of your Starbucks coffee. I’m not gonna tell you to give up the things that you love. I’m going to tell you just to be smart about how you’re indulging in them. Maybe its, “I know I want to get a massage every month but the place that I go is kind of expensive. Maybe I’m just going to take you know a few minutes and we’ll get some other options to see if there’s a place that’s cheaper but still has good quality and I’m still getting what I need.”

So that is my rant, my excitement about the actions because it’s so great to have the clarity and the knowledge of what’s going on, what you want, what needs to change but until you actually take action, nothing’s going to change. And it’s important not to just take action without intention when you make these action plans. You’re setting intention behind the actions that you take, and you know that they’re going to lead to the desired outcome. And if they don’t…. we’re going to talk about that in the next video.

Want to take this even deeper. Sign up for The Balanced Business Experience we’ll work together for three months to help you get to your goal.

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