Finances, Academics, or Personal Goals - What to Focus on?
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Personal Finance
- Swati Tripathi
- 2022-12-10
- 03 min read
#career goals
#finance goals
#personal goals

Haven’t you found yourself at an intersection, not knowing which path to embrace, and what decision to make?

In this article, we address the imminent confusion—which goal do you prioritize? Where do you focus?

As a young adult, you have all the energy to seize the world. But that is the thing about this dynamic spirit—wherever you channelize it, it can get extreme, causing troubles.

So the arising question is, on which goal to focus, for the best growth and results?

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At the juncture you are on, three aspects of life demand most of your actions.

  • Academic or professional goals
  • Financial goals
  • Personal goals

So how do you decide which goal to focus?

Throughout life, the focal point keeps shifting. Each phase demands a distinct priority.

Back in school, your focus is on academic goals alone. You have no financial responsibility, and no ownership to consider.

As you mature, you understand the nuances of your identity, gradually bringing personal goals into focus. You break out of your parents’ shell and start turning into something of your own.

To know which goals to prioritize, and how, you need to first fully understand your goals. Know their purpose, and identify the action points to get there.

Ask yourself definite questions to get that clarity.

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Here are a few prompts to reach that point for each type of goal:

Personal goals:

  • What kind of person do I want to be?
  • Which habits make me a better professional?
  • Which activity makes me the happiest/brings me peace?
  • What non-financial aspects of life satisfy me?
  • How does my ideal day look like?
  • What actions would help me grow as a person?

Financial goals:

  • How much do I need to sustain three to six months without any revenue?

  • Which goals am I fulfilling through each of my financial goals?

  • What are the various ways to compound my savings?

  • What is my risk appetite?

  • How much should I save and invest? And how much am I already saving?

Academic or professional goals:

  • What can I do to add more value to my learnings or work?
  • How can I be the most productive?
  • How can I bring the best to every process or subject?

This self-audit helps you understand where you stand, where you want to go, and what you need to get there.

Such an approach leads to a well-thought-out strategy to actually enable you to reach your goals.

Usually, once we start earning, we relate everything to a monetary value. We start measuring our growth on a monetary scale, run around finances and let that define every other decision in life.

But… here’s a reality check. Give this a thought – all your financial goals are simply a medium, a vehicle to fulfill all your other life goals!

Why do you want to earn X amount of money every month? So that you can pay for another life goal peacefully. Why do you want to save X amount of money? For a traveling experience, or fulfilling a hobby – which is nothing but a personal goal!

So, the takeaway is – do not blind yourself to the pursuit of financial goals only. Keep all three in tandem with each other.

Set goals that are easy to act on, and easy to measure.

Each goal contributes equally to your growth, so it is not practical to focus on just one.

The intensity and focus of each goal differ from phase to phase.

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The academic goals you work on as a student are to establish a strong ground to pursue your financial goals.

As a working professional, your focus is on finances and on improving your personality to be seen, heard, and acknowledged.

Growing even older, once your finances are stable, your focus shifts primarily to personal goals – where you are investing your energy in activities you enjoy the most.

All these goals work together in a trilateral mechanism. One primary wheel may be at the forefront of the cycle, but the other two aid in balancing the cycle effectively.

None of these goals can define life and its purpose in isolation. You can’t just work on yourself and throw your finances and professional goals out of the ground.

What you need is to work on aligning each goal towards a bigger purpose, a bigger ‘why’ that drives every action in your life.

Answering these questions can bring you closer to where you need to be. The proportion of your energy given to each of the three major goals is something only you can figure out for yourself.

When you write and review the answers to these questions, you gain better awareness of what you need to do.

Let this be the precedent as you set New Year Resolutions for 2023.


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