Making SMART goals is the best way to actually achieve your goals in the New Year. It's not enough to make New Year resolutions and then never acting on them. These 5 simple steps will set you up for success for the entire year, not just January.
Welcome to the money mindset podcast where you will find the inspiration and motivation you need to manage your money better so you can stress less and live the life you want. Hey guys, it's Ashley with budgets fade easy and of course the money mindset podcast. Today I want to talk about how you can crush your [inaudible], your goals
in 2020 so we got some big things that I really want you to accomplish this next year and it takes planning now. And so to get ready to really crush your goals next year, we're going to talk about five simple steps to get you there. And we are also going to do a free savings challenge in my free Facebook group. You can go to budgets made easy.com/saving-challenge and of course I'll link to it in the show notes, but the free challenge savings challenge starts on January 10th and it will be to save $250 in just five days. So it'll help you get started on your, um, $1,000 small emergency fund so that you can get started on paying off your debt. So you've got to save money first and then start paying off debt. So January is all about getting that thousand dollars saved in this challenge. We'll get you a quarter of the way there and we'll give you the tools and tips and tricks to get you the rest of the way there.
But I really want you to focus and hone in on getting that savings goal done in just five days, $250 in five days and tons of little tips and tricks to get you there. So it's free to sign up. Go to budget's made easy.com/saving-challenge and it will get you there. And then you can also, whenever you sign up for that, you will get a special one time offer and it's only valid for 20 minutes to get a special discount on the monthly savings challenges as well. So go ahead and check that out. There's a different savings challenge for every month. Different things to do to kinda change it up, make it fun and interesting throughout the year. But remember, I want you to save this thousand dollars as quickly as possible. I don't want you to take the whole year to save up your thousand dollars, but each month has different challenges to just kind of make it fun, build new habits so that you can really reach your goals next year.
So, you know, it's the time of the year that we are beginning to think about next year and our new year's resolutions. And then around March, April we start to lose steam and we just stop focusing on our goals. If we, even honestly, if we even made it to April, you know, March is about the time that people start to lose traction on their new year's resolution. So I don't you to make a new year's resolution that you can't keep. Like I want you to be very intentional about why you want to reach this goal and how to get there. So you know, in order to start paying off debt and saving money, you will stress less. You'll be able to save more and you'll be able to really gain confidence and hope in your financial situation. Because that's the big thing that I want you to accomplish is just have hope.
And whenever you make your plan, that gives you hope, even if you haven't accomplished anything yet on your goals, just making the plan, you can see that it's possible and that you can do it. And that just really helps give you momentum. So there's five steps to reach your goals next year. And it's called smart goals. If you haven't heard of smart goals, they're my favorite. Uh, you know, you're their specific, I forget, I forget what all the acronyms are, but basically it's to make specific measurable, um, realistic, timely, and, um, I always forget what the a is, but you know, it's to be specific and make measurable and timely goals. That's the big thing and goals that you can actually do. So, you know, actually, you know, if you're 60 years old, you know, are you going to be able to run a marathon? Well, you can.
Um, but it's going to take a lot of practice and a lot of work and you may not physically be able to. So, you know, it needs to be a goal that you can actually do in the timeframe that you set. So I want you to be realistic about your goals. And in order to make your smart goals, it takes some planning out. So in deciding on some major benefits of your life, you know, for one, it helps you make progress and not stand still in life. It helps you be successful in life in many ways, not just in your finances. Like you can make smart goals for anything. Um, but you know, setting financial goals is the key to financial freedom. You know, once you are debt free, you have so many options. That's the thing. Freedom, you know, people call it financial freedom.
I like to say that it gives you options. You get to do what you want to do. Um, you know, if you want to quit your stressful job and you don't have any bills, you know, you don't have a bunch of debt, you've got money saved up, you can do that. Um, you know, you need to change jobs. You can do that. Do you need to go back to school so that you can get a better job? You can do that. It just gives you so many options. And then when something happens, like an emergency, you know, your washer breaks, your car breaks down, you know, you're not stressed and panicking and just taking the first option that comes up because that's the only choice you've gotten. You've got to get to and you've got to pay your bills and you don't have time for this and you, you know, you don't make the smartest decisions because you're under pressure, you're under stress.
But when you have money saved up and you're like, okay, I've got this much, I can buy a new car or a new washer and dryer, you get a little bit more freedom. You get more options to choose the best situation for you instead of just panicking and rushing into a decision. Um, whenever you have freedom and you have the option to make the best choice for you. So everything starts with a plan. Even your budget is a goal for your money. You know, in, in your budget is a plan for your money. So it all starts with planning what you want to achieve with your money and then breaking it down to get there. You know, that's what a budget is. So that's why I start there. And that's kind of the foundation for everything else you do. Um, you know, we talk a lot about money mindset and figuring out why you're doing certain things with your money and why you think about money in certain ways.
And once you kind of work on that, you know, your budget is the foundation and the goal for your money and everything else that you do with it. So you know, it really, um, is what you have to do in order to reach your bigger goals, whether it's to invest for retirement, save for emergencies, pay for kid's college. You really can't do all that effectively and efficiently or even, you know, to the most potential, um, without a budget. And you know, a budget is just simply a goal for your money. So the first thing that I want you to do, um, in order to achieve your big goals in 2020 is to set measurable and specific goals. So the first thing is to decide what your goal will be. Think about the big picture here. Where do you see yourself in five years from now, one year from now, even six months from now.
And then you got to figure out how to get there. So we take that big goal and we break it down into specific and measurable, smaller goals. So it can't be something like, I just, I wish I was debt free. Well, that's not specific. It's not measurable. It's a wish. You know that if you wish something, it's not going to come true. You need to want it and you need to plan for it and you need to get there. So it needs to be specific enough, um, to be measurable. So it needs to be like, I want to pay off $50,000 in three years. You know, then you had to break it down to each year, uh, six months, three months, a month, a week. So you need to take that big amount, whatever your big goal is, even if it's a savings goal, I want to save 50,000 in three years.
Uh, you know, you have to break it down and decide how much you have to save at each interval. To get there. Now keep in mind that the first little bit of your goal planning, like let's say the first week, the first month is going to be just kind of building the foundation. You know, you're just taking little steps in the right direction. So you know, if mathematically it may seem like, well, I've got to save $3,000 this month to reach this big goal, I'm never going to be able to do it. So why even bother starting? No, what will happen is, is let's just say like this week your goal is to do your budget. I want you to get it done in just a week, and then the next week will be, okay, well next week I want to save $200 and you know, it builds on it. And what'll happen is as you go, you gain momentum and you just naturally do it faster and faster and faster because you're building new habits, you're changing your mindset around money, you're really deciding on your priorities, what are priorities, what are needs, what are wants and things like that.
And so it just really gains momentum. And you will find that you will find ways to find money or make money, save money that you hadn't even thought of. So by the end of it, you know, you're really like just gaining steam and you're plowing through your goal. So don't worry about the smaller goals in the beginning, like if it, um, if the math doesn't always add up to the bigger goal, like make up for it towards the end, make your, you know, it doesn't have to be an exact amount every single month, you know, um, you know, you're six months male and be 10% of your goal and, but then as you go, it'll have to be bigger and bigger. So just kinda, you need to lay it down on paper and really figure out how you're gonna achieve this bigger goal. So you really need to write it down and do the math and figure out how you're going to reach that bigger goal.
So, you know, as you're making your bigger goals, we need to make it timely, so we need to put a deadline on it. So that's step number two. So step number one is making it specific, measurable. Step number two is to put a deadline on it. So like I said, you know, if your goal is to pay off or save or whatever, $50,000 in three years, you know, you need the three years is the deadline. So it needs to be timely. It can't be 10 years. That's way too long. You will never get there. You will constantly put it off because it'll be like, Oh, I've got plenty of time to do it. I'll do it later and then later never come. So it needs to be timely. I want your goal, whatever it is, debt free savings, I want the three years. Okay. Now, if for some reason you've got hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans and for some reason you're not a doctor, five years max.
Um, and keep in mind that this, um, your debt payoff goal, um, if that's what your goal is, is doesn't include your house right now unless for some reason, you know, you've got a low mortgage or you know, you don't have any other debt, um, your mortgage comes after you've saved up your emergency fund and you've paid off all your consumer debt, like your credit cards and your 401k loans, everything except for the mortgage. So, but if you're on that step, yes, you know, you will want to work on your mortgage, uh, paying that off. So whenever we are paying off just our consumer debt, everything else, it needs to be two, three years. If you have like an, a crazy, crazy amount of debt and not a huge income, five years max, like if you've got that much debt, you need to be selling stuff like cars because most of the time, uh, it's cars that are the huge debt burden.
So sell the cars and you knocked out a ton of money right there. So you know you've got to make the hard decisions to get to your bigger goal, but you don't have to do it right away. You may be thinking, Oh, I don't want to pay off my car or I don't want to sell my car right now. But you, like I said, as you gain momentum and you start selling things and making more money and you gained steam, and really once you get like even to the halfway Mark over the halfway Mark, it's like, how can I do this faster? And a lot of times that will be when you will be ready to sell the car. So don't beat yourself up right now. If you're not ready to start selling the big things you will get there. Don't overwhelm your stuff with all the big details.
Okay? Break it down into your smaller goals and then add those smaller goals. Still need to be timely. So you need to have like this week what your goal will be this month, three months, six months. And then just focus on that goal. For now. You know, I want you to see the big picture, but I also want you to break it down into the smaller bite size pictures and just focus on that. Because if you're focusing on the huge picture all the time, it will really feel like you're not making any progress and it will feel overwhelming and it's a whole lot easier to give up whenever you do that. So that's why I want you to break it down. Take your big goal and break it down into smaller, timely, and achievable goals so that you can get to your bigger goal. You will get there and as you go you will just gain momentum.
So don't worry about that. As long as you're heading in the right direction. That is what is important. So I want you to break down your goal into one week, one month or sorry, what? Yes. One month, three months, six months, one year, 18 months, two years, and then a three year goal. You know, it may be possible that you as you go, I know it was for me, I think our debt pay off date was close to three years and we did it in 17 months. So you know, as you go, you will just find ways to do a faster and so that really, it's kinda like a goal to beat. Like that's your ultimate goal. But it's like, okay, how can I beat this goal and do it even faster? Um, you know, so just keep that in mind, make it still, make it timely, make it realistic.
And then as you go, you will find that you need to, uh, that you will want to do it faster and faster. So, you know, even for just goal planning for this year, I want you to decide this year, at the end of the year, what do I want to have accomplished? And then make a goal for every single month. Like, okay, this month I want to do this, this month I need to do this in order to reach the bigger goal. Because if you just say, I want to save $10,000 by the end of 2020 or by the end of the year come November, you'll be scrambling trying to figure out how to do it. You need to break it down into smaller goals so that you have little things that will move you in the right direction throughout the whole year.
Now number four, okay, so number one is is to make it specific and measurable. Number two is timely. Number three is to make your smaller goals to reach the bigger goal. And then number four is to write these goals down. You are one and a half times more likely to achieve a goal. If you write it down, it makes it real, it keeps you accountable, it helps you visualize your goal and once you write down your specific goals, a map out how to get there, you figure out what to do every month or every paycheck to get there. Make a list of things you can cut or sell to help you save money or pay down your debt. You'll write down your budget and see what things you can cut back on in order to reach your bigger goal. So I am a huge advocate of writing things down.
That's why I sell the budget planner that is a printable. You have to print it out and write it out. The monthly savings challenges which are coming out, uh, this week are all printables. So you know, the, and it has a goal for you every single month, the different things to work on every month to reach your bigger savings goal for the whole year. So it changes is, uh, changes that, uh, keeps it interesting and keeps you on track for the whole year. So you're not waiting until December and panicking on how to even, you know, pay for Christmas. You'll be able to pay for Christmas before, you know, black Friday and you can get black Friday deals without guilt and trying to figure out how you're going to pay for it. Okay. And number five, this is a big one. I love, this is making visuals. So that's another thing with the savings challenges that we just created and are launching this week is visualizing your goal.
So with the savings challenges, you've got the challenge itself, you've got the cash envelopes to put the money in that you are saving or earning and you know, selling things and whatever that you're saving for each month has its own cash envelope and then it has a visual tracker. So you print the tracker off and you fill it in as you go because I know so many times it will feel like you're not making any progress, but you are, it's just so small at a time that you're not seeing the bigger picture and seeing the progress that you really are making. So that's why I love visuals, whether you're, whether it's for saving or whether it's for paying off debt. So you can make a visual for your whole year for whatever. If you want to save or if you want to pay off debt, you can make a visual.
Um, you know, you can even, all I did when I was paying off my student loans was I just drew on construction paper with a Sharpie, a thermometer and I filled it in myself. But you know, you can of course get a free ones on my website. You can get 'em, um, free on lots of other websites, you know, prettier ones or you can just make it yourself. It doesn't matter. Just visualize your progress so that it can actually feel like you're making progress. Because when times get tough, when something comes up and messes up your budget and you don't have as much to send towards savings or debt or whatever this month, it feels like, Oh my God, I'm not making any progress. You really are. You just have to see the bigger picture and see how much progress you're making. So I want you to make a visual, um, visual, uh, sheet of your goal.
So whether it's just for your goal for 2020, or you know, your overall goals, and even if you're paying off debt, it can be for each debt and then your overall debt. You know, so that you can really see the progress, you know, and put the visuals in places where you need the motivation. You know, I had mine taped in my closet, so every day as I was getting ready for work, I would see it. Um, you can put it in your bathroom, you know, you could even make 'em really, really small one, put it in your wallet. You would put it there in front of your credit card or debit card. So it'll remind you when you go to spend money, you know, you make a little one laminate, laminate and, but in, in your wallet, make a little wallet card. So, you know, it doesn't have to be extreme.
It can be something simple. You know, some people even take um, construction paper and they, I forget what it's called, but the, you know, the little a chain, the little paper chains and, you know, as they make a payment or something, they take off a chain. And so they see how much they have left. And so, you know, be creative with it, you know, search Pinterest for different ideas, whatever you need. Um, make it fun and just make sure that you can visually see your progress because it will help motivate you. And it'll really, as you get closer and closer to your goal, I'm telling you, it will help you go faster and faster because you're just motivated and you're like, you can see the finish line. You know, when you first start your, you know, hopefully you're excited about the, you know, the prospect of it and then about, you know, then you can kind of start losing steam.
And then once you start to get closer and closer, you just pick up steam. So, you know, it's not a constant speed. Okay. You may go faster and then a little bit slower and then faster and whatever. So keeping a visual of your progress will really help keep you motivated whenever you start to lose steam or start to slow down or things just freaking come up that you didn't think about and you weren't expecting and hadn't saved for and it just screws up your whole budget, um, you know, and things like that. So it will really help you break down your goals and see your progress. So some other ways to just kind of stay motivated, you know, is um, to kind of recap is making visuals, writing it down and breaking your big goal into smaller goals. You in some other ways to stay motivated, include, you know, a big reason why, you know, I'm big on telling, um, and figuring out why you want to achieve this goal.
You know, it needs to be a big reason. It needs to be for yourself. It can't be for somebody else because you just won't care enough to do it. I mean, that's just how we are. That's how humans work and operate. So it means to be a big reason that you want to do it. You know, why is this goal important to you? You know, do you want to quit your job? Do you want to retire comfortably? Do you want to take your kids to Disney world? Are all paid for vacation before you even get there? You know, whatever your reason is, make sure to remind yourself what it is. You set big reason as a visual to remind yourself to keep your eye on the prize. And you may also want to think about why you may not be motivated. Think about the barriers that are going to keep you from your goals in 2020 you know, you can go ahead and plan on how to overcome them.
So if you already are planning for things to screw up your plan, then you will also be able to plan how to counteract that. So make a plan for the setbacks and the speed bumps because they're going to happen from time to time and you need to know how to deal with it. And you know what? If you already have a plan ahead of time, how you're going to handle that. It'll just be less stressful for you when it comes up because you know how to handle it. You've already thought it through. You've already made your plan. Now you just have to implement it. You have to do it. And so it will be less stressful for you if you already go ahead and make a plan and know that those things are just, they're just going to happen. That's just life. Life's going to happen.
So, you know, I've already talked about tracking your progress. So that's another way to stay motivated. Um, it's important to tr, it's so important to track your progress so that you can visually see, um, the progress that you have made. Cause like I said, you will, um, not always feel like you're making progress, but you really are. Um, and the next thing is to celebrate your wins. Okay? So when you reach a milestone, celebrate it. It doesn't have to be fancy or extravagant or expensive of course, but Pat yourself on the back, celebrate your successes and that will help motivate you to keep going. You know, don't focus on the negative. Look forward. Celebrate your however you want to do that. You know, if you, let's say you've pay off $5,000 in debt, we'll go have a date night or go bowling, go to a concert, you know, celebrate that.
You did that. That's a big achievement. Some people never do that in their life. So even if you've got $50,000 in debt and you've paid off 5,000 and may feel like you barely made a dent in it, celebrate the win. You did something amazing and you did something that a lot of people don't even want to do. They don't even care to do, or they don't want the, you know, they don't even know that they need to do it. You know, they're not listening to those podcasts. So, you know, celebrate the wins. Know that you still accomplish something that is going towards your bigger goal. You know, and it doesn't have to be a lot of money. Just be sure to give yourself credit for your progress and enjoy it. We don't want to be miserable while we're doing this and paying off debt and saving money, or we will quit and lose steam.
So you've got a plan to have some fun in there. Celebrate your wins and just, you know, enjoy the ride because it's going to be so worth it in the end. So in conclusion, setting goals is really the secret to success in life, whether it's financial success or personal growth. You get there by setting a goal and doing what you can to achieve it. These simple steps will help you reach your goals and make 2020 the best year. Yet it all starts with a plan and some motivation. And with these steps you will be able to crush your goals in 2020 so let's start planning now. They have the best year of your life. I know you can do this and I am so happy to be part of your journey and please let me know your big wins. Come to my Facebook group. It's free budgeting for beginners. Come join my group, share your wins, share what your goals are for 2020 and then be sure to sign up for the free savings challenge to get you a jump start. We're going to be doing that in the Facebook group as well, but you can say them to get your free tracker so you can visualize your progress. Go to budget's made easy.com/saving-challenge and I will see you guys later.