A couple weeks ago I said the first step in achieving your hopes and dreams is to write them out. I later said that actually, the first steps should be to begin with the end in mind (which should bring clarity to your priorities) and also to ensure you set your goals into a broader financial context.
Here are 5 further sure-fire ways to achieve your hopes and dreams:
1. Make it tangible. In other words, move it from a general hope (I’d love to be a homeowner) to a concrete goal (I want a 2-bedroom home in Neighbourhood ABC by the time I reach 35 years of age.)
2. Start saving for it regularly, right now. If you’re not willing to start saving regularly, it’s not a goal you’re going to reach anytime soon. If it’s a hope and dream, but you really feel you cannot afford to save even $10/paycheque (if it came down to it) then it may be time to find a way to increase your income or do some serious analysis of how you are currently allocating your income.
3. Hang around other people with goals. There are plenty of people who set and achieve goals. They are usually inspiring and quick to encourage others along the way. Find them. Spend time with them. Let their energy push you along.
4. Create a series of “next actions”. Your dream, whatever it is, will likely have a whole set of constituent parts. Create a list of all the discreet “next actions” that will be required. For Example:
To purchase a home I’ll need a down payment.
Next Action: Start a savings account. next action: find my bank phone number next action: book time into my calendar to call
Next Action: Ask my employer to deposit 3% of my paycheque to the Savings Account instead of my chequing account. next action: print and fill out the form next action: take the form to my employer
5. Create and celebrate milestones. Make one milestone something you can accomplish in the next 24 hours, then another milestone something you can accomplish within a month, and from then on make sure you have milestones at least once a quarter. Find some way of celebrating each accomplishment. It could be, at minimum, updating some sort of thermometer, or it could be a romantic evening with your partner or it could be attending an inspirational talk to simultaneously celebrate and re-energize you to keep going. But mark and celebrate your accomplishments.