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Making Financial Goals Less Scary

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Pursuing a big monetary milestone can be daunting. You’re usually talking about amassing large sums of money, facing any number of obstacles, and coming face-to-face with some potentially weighty issues. But with a few key techniques for becoming and staying focused, you can make the process significantly less terrifying.

Embrace your inner goal setter

Do you get psyched out when it comes time to set financial goals? If so, embrace the fact that you establish and achieve financial goals all the time. If you earn a paycheck to provide a better life for yourself or your family, you’re identifying and meeting a financial goal. Shopping around for the best bargain on a good or service means you’re accomplishing the goal of being frugal with your money. In reality, setting aside money for a bigger ambition is just one of the many financial goals you regularly pursue.

Automate

Often, one of the biggest goal roadblocks is the idea that setting money aside means making sacrifices. It’s human nature, though, to adjust to changing circumstances. If you set up an automatic monthly or per-paycheck transfer to savings, you’ll instinctively alter your spending so you’re still able to enjoy the things that truly bring you happiness.

Make it known

This may sound counterintuitive at first. But consider the fact that when a goal exists only inside your brain, it’s easy for it to fall victim to self-doubt or other negative thoughts. When that idea is out in the open—like on your social media profile or your desk at work—suddenly it exists in the outside world. Then it doesn’t feel like such an abstract and tenuous concept.

Partner up

Going sky diving by yourself sounds pretty intimidating. But if you’re strapped to an instructor who’s done hundreds of jumps, suddenly the fear factor decreases. Finding a Goal Buddy you can turn to for support—or even just bounce ideas off—can help bolster your determination.

Baby steps

It’s great to have big goals, especially when it comes to finances. But focusing only on a gigantic end target can make an aspiration feel overwhelming. Any goal longer than 3 months should be broken up into smaller timeframes. And don’t forget to reward yourself along the way for your accomplishments.

Accept that setbacks are OK

Fear of failure can be one of the hardest parts about gaining momentum with goals. Just the idea of missing a benchmark or making a bad decision along the way can be deflating. Before you even begin, adopt the approach that there aren’t failures—just victories and learning experiences.

In many cases, getting started is the most difficult aspect of building toward a goal. Don’t be afraid to start off with a small, regular contribution. It gets you closer to your target and can work wonders for gaining confidence.