We all want to be financially abundant, right? Just saying it doesn’t make it happen, though. It takes hard work and dedication. It all starts with your money goals.

What happens when you set unachievable goals? You get discouraged. You lose motivation and you move nowhere. When you create achievable money goals, you naturally give yourself the motivation needed to move forward.

Before you know it, you’ll achieve larger financial goals than you thought possible.

First, you must start with achievable goals.

What are your priorities?

Make a list of every financial goal on your mind. Think short and long-term, achievable, and out-of-this-world goals. Write them down and prioritize them.

Your achievable goals, both short and long-term, should come first. Don’t discount the ‘crazy’ ideas; just let yourself meet the achievable goals first. Keep the outrageous goals in mind though; you may be able to meet them one day too.

What’s your Budget?

Take the prioritized goals and see how they fit in your budget. Do they fit or do you have to make changes?

For example, if you want to save a $1,000 emergency fund, that’s doable. Even if you only have $20 extra each month, budget that $20 toward the emergency fund. You’ll make slow, but steady progress.

If you don’t have the room in your budget, think about your options. Can you get a second job, start a side gig, or cut expenses in other areas? What will you do to make your goals fit in your budget?

Make your Goals SMART

This step makes your goals possible. Take the emergency fund, for example. If you set a goal of saving three to six months of expenses, it sounds unachievable, right? If your expenses are $4,000 per month, that’s $12,000 to $24,000 you must save. That’s not easy. But if you break it down to $1,000 to start and move up from there, it’s more achievable.

SMART goals are:

  • Specific – Give the goal a dollar amount, like our $1,000 emergency fund
  • Measurable – How will you know how far you’ve come?
  • Attainable – What will you do to achieve your goal? If there’s no room in your budget, what steps can you take?
  • Realistic – This goes back to our emergency fund example
  • Time-related – Give yourself a deadline, but cut yourself slack if you don’t meet it

Put your Plan in Action

This last step is big. It’s time to put the magic to work. You’ve done the legwork – you’ve planned, budgeted, and made sure you had SMART goals. Now it’s time to get to work.

  • How much can you automate? Automation removes the risk of mistakes.
  • How will you track your progress? Will you use an app, a spreadsheet, or a pen and paper? There’s no right or wrong way, just pick one.
  • How often will you check your progress? If you notice you aren’t on track, determine why and make changes.

Everyone can achieve money goals with the right steps. Whether you’re starting from scratch or you need a few do-overs, it’s never too late to set money goals and achieve them.