Reaching your long-term financial goal doesn't have to be a far-off dream. Buying a home, paying off debt, saving for a trip or any big financial goal is worth the effort, but it's important to remember that reaching it doesn't happen overnight. Instead of waiting for tomorrow to start saving, start today. Try breaking down an intimidating goal into bite-sized tasks, and give yourself the chance to have a few wins along the way instead of only at the end. Thinking small can be the secret to a big success.
Decide What You Want
If you're wondering where to start, it's with that long-term goal. Sit yourself down and ask serious questions about the far-off future, and be conscious of where your mind goes. If you're having trouble honing in on that goal, check out Financial Goal Setting for more tips on clearly seeing your long-term financial goal(s). Once you've landed on your goal, tell your friends, write it down or make a dream board if that's your thing. Do whatever it takes to continue reminding yourself of the big picture. Then, set a deadline. Break down your goals into tasks and map out a timeline. Before you know it, you'll be ten steps into a brand new path of good saving habits.
Set Small Goals
When breaking down your goal into smaller, digestible tasks, remember to keep it simple. Setting the bar too high can de-motivate and discourage. When organizing your small goals, "SMART" is a helpful acronym to use as you get organized:
- Specific: A specific goal is something clearly defined or identified.
- Measureable: A measureable goal can be quantified.
- Attainable: An attainable goal is something that is possible.
- Realistic: A realistic goal is something that can be achieved by you or others.
- Time Bound: A time bound goal has a deadline.
They need to be actionable tasks that feel doable, not daunting.
On top of being on track to your reach your dreams, achieving small, bite-sized goals also adds to your happiness. According to a journal studying motivational functions, they found that small amounts of success release dopamine which is linked to pleasure and—more importantly—motivation.
So instead of leaving the future to, well, the future, start saving for your long-term financial goal(s), today. And remember to think small to win big.
Next Tip: Try a Zero Spending Day. Ever spent an entire day not spending? Spoiler alert: they can add up to big savings.