Many of us make big plans only to be disappointed later on if we miss our goals. Part of the problem is we aren't clear with ourselves and we set large goals for the year, instead of breaking them down into more manageable pieces. This year, get specific with your goals and tackle one at a time.
- Instead of telling yourself you'll save money by spending less on fast food, be specific. If you currently buy your lunch five days a week, set a goal of buying it just four days a week. Try that for a month and see if you were successful. If you were able to make your goal, then perhaps adjust it so you only buy lunch three days a week. Again, try this for a month and see how you feel. The idea is to make small adjustments as you feel comfortable.
- The same concept applies to saving more for your retirement. If you’re saving with an automatic deduction, begin modestly — perhaps with just saving $10 a week. If a month passes and you're feeling comfortable, then consider adjusting your weekly savings to $15 a week and try that for another month. Of course if things get difficult, give yourself permission to make adjustments, just don't give up. As long as you're actively saving something, you're still making progress.
It's important to set goals, but you also want to be realistic and set yourself up for success. Tackle one goal first; give yourself that win; and then move onto your next goal. Soon, you'll be looking back with pride at all you were able to accomplish throughout the year.
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