It’s been a while since my last post, and while I intended to blog earlier than today, it was somewhat intentional that I took a little breather from my blog.
I’ve spent the last 45 days or so re-evaluating my personal financial plan. I revamped my budget, I even set up spreadsheets to help me countdown my debt (because I’m a total nerd).
These steps helped my wife and I focus on what we consider our goals.
So many people set goals that are completely unattainable – they’ll say, “I want to lose weight” but never say how much weight, “I want to have my dream job” but never define what that dream job is or how they are going to get there.
Goals need to be finite. When you set a goal for yourself, you need to determine these things:
- What goal do you want to achieve?
- What do you have to do to achieve it?
- When do you want to accomplish your goal (be specific!)?
- When do you need to start in order to complete your goal in that time frame?
The same can be said for when you focus on getting out of debt. If you are like a lot of people, you probably have more than one debt out there that you want to devour. Before you can be successful here, you need to set yourself some goalS. (Yes, GOALS. Pluralized, with a CAPITAL S at the end.)
When there are multiple goals you need to prioritize and define each one. You’ll need to devise a plan for long term goal and use several small term goals to reach that point.
Example: for the sake of this blog, let’s say your goal is to be debt free.
Your Long Term Goal will be “To Be Debt Free in [fill in the blank] months/years” – my personal goal is to be debt free in 3 years.
To achieve your long term goal, you will need to list your debts out and figure out the best strategy to pay them off.
Keep In Mind:
You’ll need to honestly evaluate your situation to make sure your idea is feasible. For Example:
- If you have $30,000 in debt and you make $35,000 per year, paying off $30,000 in a year isn’t feasible – because you more than likely will need more that $5,000 to cover your other expenses over the year.
Each one of your debts will be a Short Term Goal. I personally recommend listing them smallest debt total to largest debt total and pay them off that way. I’ll explain that more in a future blog – but today I want to focus more on the goals piece of it.
Now, why is this entry titled “The Writing On The Wall“? I’m glad you asked!
One other important thing about goals is that they need to remain visible! Sure you can set goals, write them down, make them look pretty, but if you put them away where you don’t see them, they really aren’t goals, they’re just ideas.
One way that my wife and I have attacked our debt goals is to keep them visible. We have a spreadsheet (because I’m still a nerd) that lays out our game plan to achieve our long term goal of being debt free. We’ve posted that on our bathroom mirror. It’s in front of us every morning as we get ready for work.
Next to that, we have the name of the debt that we’re currently focusing on (our smallest debt) – we’ve cleverly named this one “DOA” because we want it Dead On Arrival. We put the total due at the time that the card became our focus and every time we make a payment, we cross out the last total and add the new one in there.
Every “X” is reason for a happy dance in our house, we’re watching that goal shrink away – our goal is to have it paid off my August – but believe it or not, I suspect we are 2-3 weeks away from it being a goner.
The writing on the wall helps us stay laser focused on accomplishing this short term goal.
Once this debt is declared DOA – the money that we have been paying on it, will roll over to the next debt that we have which will nearly triple the payment on the next card and get that one paid off in no time flat!
So, no matter what your goal is,weight loss, financial, career, etc., give yourself a visual to stay focused and achieve it.
The Takeaway: Goals must be specific, must be finite and must be visible – otherwise they are just ideas.
Do you have a goal setting story? Have you been able to reach a goal by following these principles? Please share your story at: firstname.lastname@example.org – your story may be used as part of a future entry!
Thanks for reading!