stick to it

02 – Goals Without an End Date Are Dreams

Are you just dreaming? You want to lose 30 pounds… eventually. You want to save up $20,000 for a down payment on a house … at some point. You want to make enough money to life comfortably … somewhere down to road. Without an end date, you have nothing to shoot for. It’s nothing more than a day dream.

To turn resolutions into reality, you need to know what you’ve got to do on a weekly or even daily basis to make it happen. And you can’t do that unless you have a set end goal. In other words, start at the end, and then figure out what it will take to get there.

Let’s look at an example. Let’s say you want to get out of credit card debt this year. You own $6,000 on your cards combined. That means you need to pay of $500 a month in principal to wipe out your entire credit card debt over the course of a year. Making a $500 payment each month sounds a lot more doable than looking at the entire sum, doesn’t it? And by setting an end date of December 31st, you know exactly what you need to do each month to get there. From there you can work on an action plan. You can pick up a little extra work each month to make the extra money to pay it down. Or maybe you cut out Cable TV for the year and skip your daily Starbucks trip.

The point is when you have a resolution or a goal and an end date you have something to work with. You’ll reach your goal much faster than if you just make a resolution of paying of your credit card debt and paying whatever is left in your bank account at the end of the month. Chances are that isn’t going to be much and you’re less likely to keep your resolution month in and month out.

If you have an end date and break your goal down into monthly (or weekly or quarterly) chunks you start to see some progress. And that will keep you motivated to make it to the next milestone and then the next. Before you know it you’re getting pretty close to your goal. Doesn’t that sound like a much better strategy?

Give it a try. Instead of “just” making a resolution, make a goal and plan it out. It doesn’t have to take you the entire year. If you can reach your goal sooner, all the better.

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