Whenever I talk to people about money, I often hear phrases that start like this: “I really should…” or “I wish I….” or “I hope someday…”
And whenever I hear those phrases, I know it is going to be really difficult for those folks to reach their money goals.
Why? Because their goals are full of hope and empty promises.
How to Set Money Goals You Can Reach
If you want to set money goals you can reach, you’ve got to stop talking about those goals in a passive, hopeful way. Stop using words like “hope” and “try” and “should” replace them with action words. If you want to get things done, it’s going to take some work! Start that work with these steps:
Know where you have been and be at peace with it.
You should know exactly why you’re in debt. You should know why you haven’t already saved what you had wanted to save. You should know the emotions that lead to those mistakes. You should know exactly where you stand at this particular point in time. And you should recognize that you cannot change your past. You can only learn from it and move forward. Beating yourself up for your past mistakes isn’t going to solve your money problems, so use that energy to focus on changing your future.
Have a clear vision of where you want to go.
You need to set specific goals for your money. You simply cannot hit a bulls-eye if you don’t know where the target is. You cannot be “rich someday” if you don’t define what “rich” is. Spend some time with a notebook and your thoughts and write out exactly what it is you want to do.
Once you have that clear vision of what you want to accomplish, it is easy to get overwhelmed by the work it will involve to get there. So start small. Break that goal into smaller, easier to reach goals. Each milestone you reach will help you build the momentum you need to make the end goal a reality.
Give yourself a series of deadlines.
If you don’t give yourself a deadline to get something done, it is easy to forget about doing it. It’s very easy to put things off. Once you’ve got your goal set and the mini goals set to reach the big goal, it’s time to set some realistic time frames for completing them. Having a deadline will keep you on task. It will ensure that you’re always making progress toward your goal.
Keep a positive attitude.
A negative attitude makes reaching goals about a thousand times more difficult. Stay positive and surround yourself with positive people. Believe in yourself. You can do it!
Establish some simple rewards for reaching your goals.
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, and that’s especially true when you’re slogging your way out of debt or pinching pennies to reach a savings goal. Whenever you reach a mini goal, allow yourself a simple indulgence. Perhaps you will reward yourself with a new book or a trip to the local coffee shop. Maybe you’ll get a new outfit at your local thrift shop or take a road trip to visit a friend. Do something that’s not too expensive that makes you feel good. Then start on your next goal.
Don’t give up.
Winners never quit and quitters never win, right? So don’t give up. Ask for help when you get stuck. If the path seems too long and too difficult, figure out another way around. Reaching your money goals is a lot like running a marathon. There may be times you want to quit. There may be times you have to walk. But if you just keep going, you will reach the finish line.
And it will feel amazing when you do.