We all have goals, or at least many of us do. It’s still early in the year and therefore many of us are probably still working towards our New Year’s resolutions. Here are four steps to help achieve your goals sooner than later.
Reward yourself for good behavior
The best way to achieve your goals sooner than later is to reward yourself for good behavior. I know it may sound like we are talking about raising a pet, but we’re talking about ourselves. We all work hard towards our goals and having a little reward (other than the achievement) to look forward to at the end (or along the way) is even more motivation to keep working towards them.
When I became debt free and saw my credit card balances at $0 I saved all that money that would have been going towards debt repayment and took a weekend road trip with my friends. When I reached my annual savings goals last year I took time off work and had a lovely spa day that I found on Groupon. The secret to rewarding yourself for good financial behavior is to set a limitation so you don’t get into debt over celebrating.
Set realistic goals
The first step towards achieving a goal is to set realistic goals. You don’t want to be too easy on yourself, but at the same time you don’t want to set goals that aren’t achievable. That can only lead to disappointment – and it’s not a good feeling.
If you want to buy a car you should know exactly which type of car you want to buy and research how much it will cost after you add on all the features. This way you’ll know exactly how much you have to save; that will help set a realistic purchase date based on your monthly savings capacity.
Break your goals down into mini goals
If your goal will take some time to achieve a great way to stay motivated is to break the bigger goal down into mini goals. If your goal is to save for a once in a lifetime vacation set smaller savings goals that you’ll hit in the short term and that will keep you motivated towards the larger goal.
Every time you hit a savings goal buy yourself something for the trip such as a new outfit or a pair of shoes or a new bathing suit. If the vacation will cost $10,000 break that down into monthly goals and every time you hit the savings goal for the month reward yourself.
Think about your life after the goal
Think about the big picture when it comes to your goals a.k.a. think about what happens after you achieve your goals. I always do this because picturing myself enjoying the goal helps me stay motivated and it also makes the time go by faster.
If your goal is to buy a house picture yourself decorating the rooms and picking out paint colors. Think about yourself staying in bed on the weekend and making dinner in your kitchen after you get home after work. The more you want it, the harder you’ll work to achieve it.