We all know we are supposed to set goals for ourselves, but it always feels like the goals we set never seem to pan out well by the end of the year.

I have had my fair share of goal flops over the years, and I learned a secret to why I wasn’t able to effectively set goals.

While many of us are motivated and try to set goals for the year, we were never taught how to fix these goals efficiently to make them achievable. Twenty-five percent of New Year’s resolutions will be broken in the first week alone!

If you are working on a big financial goal, it can be tough to stay on track. We all dream of being millionaires retired and sipping sweet tea on our front porches, but if that is your goal for this year you might not make it.

So what can you do to set goals that are realistic?

Here are the key things you need to know to set realistic goals you can keep.

Write Them Down

You are far more likely to achieve the goals you set if you write them down.

I write them in my Happy Planner and refer to them on a regular basis to make sure I am actively working toward my goals.

By writing them down, you are forcing your dream to turn into a reality, and intrinsically helping your brain start to devise a plan to start thinking about the steps to make it happen. Just thinking of a goal is not enough to make it happen.

Plus, when you write it down, this is your way of committing to the goal you’ve set for yourself, and you can refer back to it regularly.

If your goal for this year is to pay off $10,000 of debt, find a creative way to write it down and put it in your fridge. This means you’ll see it every day, and you’ll be motivated to stick with it. 

Learn how the Debt Snowball works to get out of debt faster.

Consider Your Time Frame

If you are $100,000 in debt, it’s probably unrealistic to assume you will pay off all of your debt by the end of this year. It’s not impossible, but it’s probably unrealistic.

When you are setting your goals, think about what milestones you will need to hit to reach them.

If you were trying to achieve this goal, you would need to come up with $8,334 a month to reach this goal in a one-year timeframe. Unless you make a lot of money each month, that is not already designated for something else, you likely won’t be able to reach it.

Keeping this same goal in mind, let’s say you instead plan on paying off your debt in about seven years.

This would mean you’d need to put $14,285 each year toward your debt, which further breaks down to $1,190 each month. Now I think that is also a big goal, but I’ve seen it happen! 

It’s all about the time frame.

Here is another way to pay off your debt faster.

Keep In Mind Your Season of Life

If you are a mother of three kids who are all very young, it might be unrealistic to cook a big fancy meal at home every single night. Even if doing so could result in more money in your pocket, I know from experience, it’s not realistic to cook every night.

That means, in order to cook at home each night, you need to make an appointment with yourself one day a week to plan your dinners by making freezer meals, or crock pot meals, or even frozen pizzas so that you can have  a quick dinner.

This will still help you reach your goal of eating at home every night but helps with not having to cook each night.

When setting your goals, take into account what your life is like right now.

If you barely have enough time to do the laundry and cook your dinner, you probably shouldn’t add any other activities to your plate.

Be Specific

When you are coming up with your goals, make sure they are distinct.

You shouldn’t come up with something vague such as make extra payments on my debt or you’ll never reach that goal.

Instead, make your goal to put ___________ amount of money toward your debt each month to ensure you have something tangible to work toward.

Then you can brainstorm a list of ways you can come up with that ______ specific dollar amount.

Before you set your goals for this year, think about your time frame, what your life is like right now, as well as what you want your goals to be. Write them down somewhere you can refer often, and be sure to look at them often. If you follow these tips, you’ll be on your way to reaching your goals in no time at all.

YOUR TURN: What visual reminders help you keep on top of your goals? Do you tape something to your refrigerator? Let me know in the comments below!

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Setting Goals might be easy, but making them realistic and then ensuring you can keep them... that's the challenge. Learn how to be a Goal keeper for this year.