If you think about it, there is a lot that our financial goals in life and our personal goals in life, have in common. To keep working towards either one of them, we need to restrict ourselves, live our lives and accept never getting to do the things we love. In general, we need to live without joy. And it’s easy to put responsible action for our financial goals off indefinitely. Of course, we know that if we keep to those goals, we will be far, far happier. But what we have to go through to get to that happiness is unpalatable.
I actually had a goal or two on my New Year’s resolution list from last January. I planned to create a great retirement plan and I planned to put on one single sheet of paper, every single detail about my financial life that there was, so that everything would be easily accessible (that’s really important should something happen to both parents and the children are left clueless as to what they have).
Of course, the reason we don’t do anything about our financial goals or any other personal goals is that, well, we seem to be doing fine without them right now. It’s hard to imagine things could ever not be as good as they are today. And then, there’s that old standby – that we don’t have the time. Basically, the reason we don’t take our financial goals seriously is that there is no penalty right now. If you don’t plan for your retirement, the penalty comes decades later. If you don’t pay the phone bill now, the penalty comes next Tuesday.
And so, now that we know that our reluctance to plan for our financial goals comes from sheer childishness and immaturity, we’ll have to see what we can do.
Basically, you need to first plan for what exactly it is that you wish to set a goal for. A well-defined goal is half the battle won. Once you have a goal and you’ve made sure that it’s a realistic one, your next task is to break it up into smaller parts that you can wrap your head around.
Basically, if you want to be able to save $10,000 by the end of the year, you want to tell yourself that you need to save around $200 every week. You could break that down further and say to yourself that you have to save $25 every single day. Is that much more manageable – to tell yourself that you need to set aside $25 a day? You can think of all kinds of ways in which to cut back to make that goal.
And when it comes to actually achieving those goals, you’ll find that taking up no more than one kind of goal at a time is best.