Stay Sane: Set Milestones

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Now that you’ve got your list of goals in front of you, it’s time to put them into perspective. To take them all on at once would be madness, and our end game is financial peace of mind, not insanity.

Therefore, you must…

…be realistic with your timing, and…

…spread your goals out.

Once you’ve identified your goals and sorted into your three ‘to-achieve’ lists, the next step is to set milestones for each goal individually.  The more you can break a goal down, the more attainable it will feel. No need to face the mountain when you can tackle the molehill.

Start small

You know your goal and you know when you want to achieve it, now it’s time to figure out the first step to get there. For example, if your goal is to buy a house, set savings milestones and when you want/need to achieve them. Maybe you want to save X amount by this date and Y amount by another. For shorter term goals, milestones may be closer together; maybe you want to save X amount each day or week, in addition to reaching a set amount by a certain date.

Having short term objectives for longer term goals helps keep you on track, and helps you see that even the smallest advance is still a victory. Plus, it’s easier to play catch-up between smaller milestones than catching up to a long term goal right at the end.

Build it into your budget

While you’re identifying your milestones, it is important to make sure they fit in your budget. A goal or plan is useless if it doesn’t. Add a line for each goal you are working towards and treat it as you would any other bill: it must be paid! Remember, you most likely will not be able to work towards ALL of your goals at the same time, so attack your highest priorities first. Once you get in the swing of things, you may find that you can fit additional goals in along the way.

The takeaway here is that while we all love a good challenge, an impossible challenge will leave you discouraged. Plus, working towards too many big goals at once will ultimately hinder your progress. Should a windfall or raise come your way, adjust your budget accordingly and put more towards your goals when you can. In the meantime, be smart about working with what you’ve got.