Now in days, it’s easy to access knowledge and information, but it is sometimes hard
to figure out where to start. For financial advice, many professionals will have you
thinking about a budget, emergency funds, or starting your debt snowball. As
technical first steps, these are usually great strategies to start with, but I would argue
that there is one step that supersedes them all. Before you can start saving and
planning, you must give yourself a reason and purpose. Therefore we start with goals
because no proper journey begins until you know the direction and destination. Here
are 5 components to help you create sustainable & achievable goals.
1. Write it Down
Writing down your goal is a proven concept within human psychology. The act
of writing takes your ideas out of the conceptual realm and transposes them
into reality. It makes the goal seem tangible. While also helping us see where
the flaws & pitfalls may be in the journey to accomplishing it. Writing things
down also contributes to the commitment. It gives you just that little bit of
accountability that can make all the difference.
2. It must be YOUR’S
Often we allow society and the people around us to influence our goals. This
influence is not necessarily negative because they usually only want the best for
you and genuinely want to help. However, I have found that a goal prompted by
others doesn’t have the staying power like the independent ones. I see this a lot
when it comes to Parents setting the ambition of going to college for their
children. Don’t get me wrong, investing in yourself and furthering your
education is probably the best decision you will ever make. However, when
pushed into college, we often end up just partying through the first semester.
Success is when we view a goal as an opportunity instead of an obligation.
3. Be Specific
Being specific is the step where I find most fall short when creating goals. A
vague idea hurts you more than it helps. If your goal is to buy a house, that is
too vague. What kind of house would you like to purchase? How many rooms do
you need? Where is it located? What amenities must it have to support your
lifestyle? Once you have specifics it will be easy to discover the next actionable
step. If you find yourself running in place with your goal it is too vague.
4. Make it Measurable
Tracking the progress of your goals is of utmost importance when it comes to
long-term success. If you can’t measure your progress, it is more than likely for
you to become lost in your journey. You need measurable data, to make sure you
know that you are going in the right direction. If your goal is to retire before 50,
how much will you need to save to make that a reality? I’ll let you in on a secret
it’s much easier to save 3 million dollars than to save A LOT of money. All
because one standard is measurable and the other means nothing.
5. Create a Timeline (Due Dates)
Unfortunately, you MUST set due dates for all of your goals. No matter the size
of your objective, you must give yourself a time limit. This step will help you
with steps 1, 3, & 4. But more importantly, this creates a sense of accountability.
You are committing to having this done by a specific date or time. One thing to
keep in mind while managing these due dates, you have all the power. You can
edit, extend, and shorten these dates at any time. You are in control, but with
this great power comes great responsibility. Hold yourself accountable because
the only one who can make YOU successful is yourself.