Day 23 – Take A Step Towards A Long-Term Goal

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Today’s post was supposed to be about establishing (or re-establishing) a rapport with the people who work at your bank or credit union — but my lovely wife reminded me that today is Sunday, and few banks and credit unions are open. So! We’ll shuffle things around a bit and do that one tomorrow.

Today’s (new) task for 31 Days To Your Financial Future is to take a step towards achieving one of your long term goals. We all have those “someday” goals.

“Someday” I want to own a house. “Someday” I want to spend two weeks in Paris. “Someday” I want to go back to school and earn my Master’s Degree. We think fondly of having these things, but we keep them caged up in vague, nondescript ideas and don’t create any actual plans to make them a reality.

I don’t know who originally said it, but there’s a great quote floating around:

There are seven days in a week and “someday” is not one of them.

Obviously, most of us can’t just go walk into a real estate office today and buy a house. What we can do, though, is take one small step towards achieving that big dream.

Let’s get started.

We stall because we’re scared

Why do we hesitate to chase the things that we really want to accomplish? Usually it’s because our goal is so big and so scary and seems so out of reach that finding a way to make it happen seems impossible. The overwhelming scope of a big goal makes it difficult to approach.

The first step to overcoming that hesitation is to take a big goal and separate it into smaller projects. If you want to take a trip to Paris or start your dividend portfolio, you need to spend a few days researching the costs and nailing down a numbers. That’s one small project. You need to figure out how you can take two weeks off work, which might take some negotiating with your employer or careful management of your vacation days. That’s another small project. You need to save up the funds to pay for the trip or fund the account. That’s another project.

Chain enough of these projects together and you can achieve anything.

Just get started

Even if achieving the goal is far in the future, there’s always something you can do now. It may take you years to save up the down payment for the house you want. But right now, you can reshuffle your budget to start saving part of that down payment every month. You can read up on different types of mortgages, so that you can make informed decisions when the time comes. You can work to improve your credit score.

You may not be able to make a whole lot of progress in a single day or week.That’s okay. The point here isn’t to achieve your dream at a breakneck pace — it’s simply to break the habit of shuffling your dreams off to some nebulous future and to start facing them right here, right now.

Achievement is a function of momentum

In my experience, the more you do, the more you want to do. The more debt my wife and I pay off, the more I want to do to accelerate that process. The more we’re able to grow our income, the more I want to do to grow it further.

By committing yourself to the small projects that make up your big goals, you build a steady momentum of progress. Every thing you can cross out as “done” takes you one step closer to turning “I want it” into “I have it!”

Record your progress

If you find it helpful, keep a record or timeline of everything you’ve done, and refer to it as a way of gauging your progress. It’s a way to see what you’ve already accomplished and what still needs to be done. Keep your record however you like — a simple list in a notebook, a blog, or even video entries.

If your project has gone too long without progress, what’s causing the stall? What can you do to get things moving again?

Tomorrow: Talk To Someone At Your Bank Or Credit Union

Tomorrow we’ll cover what was supposed to be today’s topic — getting to know the people who work at the local branch of your bank or credit union, why you should.

What are you doing today to achieve your dreams of tomorrow?

Can you break up one of your big goals into a number of smaller projects? What are you doing now to get where you want to be? Tell us in the comments!

Click here to read Day 24!

Posted in 31 Days To Your Financial Future