By Rob Kerby, Senior Editor
Most of us have big goals and dreams for our finances, but executing those grand ambitions is easier said than done. Life happens, busyness creeps in, bills need to be paid, setbacks occur...the years tick by and somehow we never seem to make any traction on our financial goals.
"I'm here to tell you a secret I've found for jumpstarting financial success," writes Crystal Paine, author of The Money Saving Mom. "When I started implementing this a few years ago, i was amazed at the results. For the first time, I wasn't just coming up with all these big ideas - I was actually following through and getting things done."
"What's the secret, you ask?" asks Paine. "Stop looking at the goal as a whole and instead focus on one small thing you can do today, this week, this month, to make some headway."
"It can seem overwhelming and daunting to view your long-term goals of wanting to get on a budget, increase your income, save for your children's college, fund your retirement account, pay off your student loans, or give more generously. In fact, you'll probably give up before you even begin because it just feels so impossible - especially if you're on a really tight budget right now."
"However, if you assess your goals and big dreams, determine your top two or three most important goals, and then pick one or two small things you can do right now to make a little bit of progress, I promise you won't feel so defeated!"
"For instance," writes Paine in The Money Saving Mom, "if you want to get on a written budget, that's a very worthy goal and one I highly recommend. But for most people, the thought of going from no budget at all to a to-the-penny written budget is mind-boggling and incomprehensible."
"Rather than setting yourself up for failure by trying to bit off more than you can chew, start on a smaller scale: Decide that you'll stick with a grocery budget for the next three months. The lessons you'll learn through implementing and following a grocery budget will likely carry over to many other aspects of your finances. And the momentum you achieve from being disciplined with your grocery budget will propel and inspire you on to success in other areas of your finances."
"Remember: big progress begins with small changes. It's easy to want to overhaul our lives overnight, but if you want to see success throughout the long term, do yourself a favor and start with little steps."
"Those small steps might seem minuscule and microscopic," writes Paine. "You might feel as though you're hardly getting anywhere. But keep plodding along, don't give up, keep pressing forward, and I promise you'll start to reap the fruits of your efforts. Someday soon, you'll look back and realize that all of those tiny, seemingly insignificant chagnes added up to greater financial success than you ever dreamed was possible."