Of course you do. But daydreaming about them won’t do you any good. In order to achieve your goals you have to get down and dirty with them, nail them down to a timeline, twist that goal’s aims and objectives until either you or it cries ‘Uncle.’ In civilized society, we call this getting specific.
To get as specific as possible, do as the achievers do:
Step 1: Write down your goals. Include every practicality, creature comfort and pie in the sky you can imagine.
Step 2: Ask yourself:
- How important is it for me to achieve this goal?
- How big is this goal? For example, “I want a new car. Will a well maintained used car at 40% of the new car price work?” or “I want my kid to go to college. Does it have to be Ivy League?” Consider your options.
- How much money will I need to save?
- When do I want to achieve this goal?
Step 3: Divide your goals into three ‘to-achieve’ lists: Immediate goals, Intermediate goals and Long-view goals. For example:
Immediate goals (within 3 years):
- Pay debt in full
- Establish good credit
- Implement a disciplined savings plan
- Create that 3-6 month emergency fund
- Buy a (sensible) car
- Purchase insurance coverage
- Prepare and execute a will and power of attorney
Intermediate goals (in the next 3-7 years):
- Buy a home
- Plan a wedding
- Make more money so that you can create more goals and tackle them sooner
- Prepare for the birth or adoption of a child
Long-view goals (in 7+ years):
- Start saving for your retirement
- Set money aside for your children's college education
- Develop a plan for supporting aging parents
- Consider long-term health care for yourself
From here, you’ll want to rank your list by order of importance. You likely won’t be able to work towards all of your goals at once, so organize your list based on what you want to accomplish first. Depending on your goals and budget, you may be able to tackle one from each timeframe at the same time. This is your goal timeline, and you’ll need it to stay motivated and on track.