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Plan Well, Retire Well

Saving and investing your money
2014 Goal Challenge FU Debt

2014 Financial Goal Challenge Follow Up: All About that Debt

Earlier this year I wrote a blog post about creating a 2014 Financial Goal and I challenged our readers to write and share their goals with us. At the time of the posting, I deliberately failed to mention what my goal was, which has been and will continue to be in 2015 to pay off our debt. This year alone my husband and I have paid over $14,500 towards our goal of being debt free. Although we still have a long road ahead of us, the climb towards financial freedom has been harder than imagined. Below you'll find some tips I reminded myself to keep on, keepin' on:

Be Proactive

Making a plan for your financial goal can be easy; it's the follow through that's hard. When you're starting a goal you have so many hopes and aspirations for it, but then life gets in the way. For us this year, it was a real struggle between paying for things for our wedding or making larger payment on our debt. One way to battle this is to be proactive with your goal! This can help eliminate delaying the process. Have steps in place, like checks and balances when you veer off course. One key way to be proactive is to set SMART goals and write them down. Having the goal written down can increase your likelihood of achieving it. When it came time to decide what to pay for our wedding vs debt – we knew what we needed to do already since we set our financial goal in advance.

Motivate Yourself

At times, your financial goal can get derailed. Don't beat yourself up if one month you weren't able to save or pay off as much money as you wanted. Remember, some is better than none. You can always reset and start again tomorrow. Most people have a problem with self-control but one way to motivate yourself is to visualize your goal. If you're looking to pay down debt, make a paper chain and remove one chain after every $500 dollars. If you want to save for a down payment on a house, take a picture of your dream home and post it on a piggy bank. Whatever your goal is you need to imagine yourself at the end and how it feels to finally accomplish it!

Celebrate Small Victories

Sometimes it's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Since most people enjoy instant gratification, we often quit things early on if we don't see immediate results. One way to change this is to celebrate the small victories. An example could be that you've saved $5,000 towards retirement or you paid off that credit card. Savor the small victories. Take a moment to celebrate. Go see a movie or have a dinner out at a casual dining restaurant. Celebrate your victory with a small celebration, and then get ready to hunker down to get through to your next small victory. Once you step out of the tunnel and out into the light, you'll not only be excited you achieved your goal but you'll be better off financially as well.

When creating a financial goal, there are many variables. You should always start with a SMART goal. Be mindful that being proactive with your goal is better than reactive. Remember to think about your goal daily, whether it's looking at your debt paper chain or putting a few pennies in that piggy bank! Imagine your future self at the end with your goal achieved. Also, stop and celebrate the small victories, it will help you to get through to the next hurdle you need to jump. In the end, you will know a few things about yourself: You can conquer a goal and that your financial well-being is much better off than it was a year ago.

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