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Sure, setting financial goals is important for us in a tangible way, but it also gives us a reason to feel particularly accomplished when we achieve those goals. As important as it is to know that every $5 saved is going toward your dream home, it’s just as crucial—maybe more—to set good short-term goals. Psychologically speaking, it’s not good enough to vaguely work toward paying off your debt or saving for retirement. All of us need short-term goals that break down the larger projects, and give us something to check off of our lists. The feeling of continuously moving, doing, and going forward is what propels us to reach those long-term goals in the end.
Today, we challenge you to list out at least ten short-term goals that will help you get organized and reach your larger goals in some way; these can be as simple as packing your lunch a few times this week to save money or finally choosing a day to sit down and deal with your end-of-the-year finances. Don’t just think of these goals, but scribble them down…and don’t deny yourself the pleasure of physically crossing them out as you check them off the list. We’re right here with you. For some inspiration, check out our list of “low-hanging fruit,” or shorter-term goals that will give us the sense of movement and motivation to get the job done in the long run.
1. Cook a big meal with enough leftovers to serve as lunch for two days at work this week.
2. Go through your mail and any extra papers on your desk and deal with it once and for all.
3. Move $20 into your savings account today.
4. Finalize any and all holiday travel plans—not just airfare but also exactly where you’re staying and when.
5. Update your budget and figure out how much money that leaves you with for holiday gifts.
6. Create a list of all the people you want to give holiday gifts to, and how much you can afford for each person.
7. Set a date on your calendar to rebalance your investing portfolio. When that date rolls around, stick to it!
8. Empty all receipts from your wallet. Throw out everything that has cleared on your credit card statement and that you know you won’t want to return.
9. Clean house, clean mind. Spend half an hour doing a basic clean of your home: Dust window sills and the top of the fridge, pick up all papers or junk lying around and make a pile to sort through later, and vacuum or sweep. A little bit can go a long way in terms of how you feel about your surroundings.
10. Finish going through your email inbox entirely.
11. Spend a few minutes officially naming beneficiaries for all of your financial accounts, thus ensuring that your loved ones will be cared for no matter what.
12. All of us dream of being philanthropists. Make a game plan for your charitable giving this year—even if you don’t have a dollar to spare.
14. Go through your phone bill from the past couple months. Have you been going over on your usage? Are you not using anywhere near the minutes you already have? Figure out if you’d be better served by a different plan. Just call your phone company. While you’re at it, negotiate that phone bill.
15. Start preparing for your end-of-year review by reviewing your accomplishments and thinking about the value you’ve brought to the company. Are you due for a pay raise?
For more smart tips from Learnvest, check out: