Maybe you dream of saving enough money to afford a down payment on a house. Maybe you’re working towards paying off your credit card debt. Or perhaps you hope to send your child to college one day and help them avoid taking out lots of loans.
Whether your goal is to save for a bucket-list vacation or a comfortable retirement, following through on your financial dreams requires motivation and discipline. Here are four ways to stay driven and avoid losing steam as you work toward achieving your dreams.
If you’re only looking ahead to your biggest and most ambitious goals, it’s easy to start feeling discouraged. Instead of getting lost in the big picture, try reframing a large goal by breaking it into smaller, short-term steps that are achievable.
The satisfaction of achieving small wins can provide a critical mental boost that keeps you motivated and working toward your bigger goal. For example, if you’re saving for a down payment, you might be aiming to set aside a large amount—say $10,000—in a defined amount of time.
Try breaking that goal into smaller monthly or weekly savings targets. That could be $20 a week, $2,000 a month, or anything in between.
As you reach small goals on the way to larger goals, you’ll feel a sense of pride in your accomplishments as you go.
Don’t let the word “review” intimidate you—checking in regularly with your goals and your accounts is an important step that can help you reach your goals.
Whether you perform an annual check-up with a trusted financial advisor or a quarterly check-in with yourself, scheduling a routine review of your finances will help you evaluate your wins, your shortcomings and your opportunities. A review can motivate you to stay on track, and it provides an opportunity to reassess your goals and make sure they still align with your dreams and values.
It can be tough to save toward your financial goals, especially if it requires passing up other opportunities—as you save toward a family vacation, for example, you may have to forego a few weekend getaways.
In moments when you’re feeling discouraged, re-focus on the “why” behind your goals. This could mean looking at pictures of your dream vacation destination to remind yourself what you’re saving towards, or it could be reminding yourself that once you’ve paid off your debt, you’ll have space in your budget for saving and activities you enjoy.
Reaching your financial goals takes hard work and perseverance, and that’s worth celebrating. Don’t forget to pause and acknowledge your achievements on the way to reaching your goals, whether that means simply recognizing that you’re making progress or dipping into your “fun money” budget for a celebratory treat.
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