Celebrating small money wins can be really powerful when you’re on the path to your one big goal. For example, your big end goal might be the deposit for your first house, building a lump sum of money for your emergency fund, or paying off your debt.
I often think the reason people give up is because all they see is a huge goal; an enormous mountain to climb.
It can seem impossible.
But actually, a big goal is just a number of smaller goals, broken down. When you look at it that way, you can easily achieve one small goal. Then another, and another. And before you know it, you’ve reached your vision.
Feel powerful in your progress
The real motivation comes from celebrating the smaller milestones along the way. Tackling your goals this way is hugely powerful; you feel a real sense of momentum when you can physically see your progress. But, you will only get that progress and momentum by monitoring your progress and tracking it.
Use backcasting to break down and track your progress
Let’s say you have a wedding to save up for, or a deposit for a house, as an example. You need £10,000, and you need it in 12 months. If you have no savings, it can seem like an impossible task, but it’s what you need for your big commitment. With backcasting, you look at the time frame (12 months in this example) and work out how much you need each month to meet your total by the end of the 12 months (£10,000).
Backcasting £10,000 over 12 months means you would need to save £834 a month in order to achieve that goal. If that seems completely unrealistic, you might need to evaluate either a) the amount of money you want/need; or b) the length of time you need to be able to achieve it. Perhaps you need to lengthen the time frame, or look for ways to bring that money in, in addition to what you can save.
It might be that you need to pay down debt to free up credit card repayments; or squeeze as much as possible out of your bills by cutting back/switching to a cheaper provider. Or it might mean starting a side-hustle or taking on some extra hours at work.
Chart and monitor your progress
Now that you know how much you need to save per month in order to achieve your end goal by a certain date, you’re going to need a progress chart. It could be a wall chart, a spreadsheet, a notebook, or a planner.
Each month you achieve your goal, you should place a tick or a cross in a box, or colour/shade something in, or add a sticker to mark your progress. It might seem childish, but it’s actually really motivating to see your progress visually and physically in your hands. Because not only is your bank account growing, you are now tangibly able to see the time left to achieve your goal.
How to stay motivated
One of the most important things you can do to keep yourself motivated is to celebrate big milestones throughout your journey. But, make sure it’s not something that will undermine what you’re trying to do and sabotage your progress. If you’re trying to get out of debt or build your savings but then have a huge blowout and spend that money, your progress and celebration becomes pointless.
So, use money you have accumulated elsewhere for this purpose. Do something for free, or something that’s not hugely expensive that won’t undermine your efforts. Let’s say you want to celebrate two big milestones during your twelve-month period; you’d celebrate one at six months and another at the twelve-month mark.
You could book a spa day. Or, buy some jewellery or something nice for yourself which you’ve wanted for ages. If you can put it off until you’ve achieved your milestone, it’s the best reward.
Celebrate the little Money wins
On a monthly basis, each time you reach your goal, you should absolutely celebrate that progress. Each and every time you save that £834 towards your £10,000 goal, mark the occasion.
It could be as simple as coming into my Facebook group and sharing how you’ve achieved this month’s goal. Or checking in with your accountability buddy and acknowledging your progress, so that you can celebrate together with a virtual coffee or something.
Seriously, don’t just let it pass you by. Buy yourself something small. A book, perhaps, or something that makes you feel good. Acknowledge your small money wins with small rewards.
Improve your chances of reaching your goal
It’s been shown that you’re 42% more likely to achieve your amazing goal if you write it down.
Honestly, we’ve had lots of discussion about this in various Facebook groups I’m a member of. I have diaries all over the place, filled with my written goals of things I want to achieve. One of them was to pay off debt, which thankfully, I’ve done!
It doesn’t necessarily work out exactly as you write it but getting it down in ink is so powerful. Another really important thing to do is to get yourself an accountability buddy or join an accountability group of people. They understand you and what you’re trying to achieve, and they won’t undermine your progress.
Every month in my Facebook group, we celebrate paying off debt. I encourage each member to share how much they’ve paid off, then add it to the community total. We are doing incredibly well with that, and we’re close to £1,000,000!
Visualise your BIG WIN!
When you’ve finally got your £10,000 house deposit, or wedding fund, can you imagine how that will feel? Imagine how it will feel to live in your own house, putting up your Christmas decorations for the first time? Being able to raise a family in your own home, designing your living space, and buying beautiful things to make it your own?
Make a vision board, use Pinterest to collect images to refer back to on a regular basis. Collect the wallpaper samples you want to use, or save images from Etsy of the beautiful things you want in your home. Picture it, and it will help you to visualise the end point of your goal. Whatever you do, don’t give up.
Never give up!
Because if you do, you’re going to have to start right back at the beginning again. Rest for a while, if you need to. If you can’t make that £834 one month (because you’ve had to pay out for new car tyres, for example), that’s ok. Things happen. Just save what you can, even if it’s not the amount you wanted.
Then the next month, add the shortfall, or accept it will take you slightly longer than you originally planned. Life gets in the way, and sometimes, we have to put our goals on the back burner for a little while.
Don’t confuse this with sabotaging yourself. Some people can find it difficult to save as they’re not used to having money “sitting around”. It’s ok to take a little time out, but if you leave it for a month or so, make sure you get back on the bandwagon. Don’t let the break be the death of your goal.
It could be a sign that your motivation is starting to wane. Just pick up where you left off, and carry on, as it will be far better than just giving up completely. If you need help to find your motivation, connect back in with your “why”; your reason for reaching your goal.
Be realistic in what you can achieve
We all overestimate what we can achieve in twelve months. But we underestimate what we can achieve in five years, ten years, and in our lifetime. It’s not a race. It doesn’t matter if you’re not keeping up with the person next to you saving or paying off debt. Everyone’s circumstances are different, and you follow your path at a pace that works with your life.
I mean, look at it this way. We didn’t know we were heading for a global pandemic that would affect everything we wanted to achieve. For some of you, it may have helped your goals. For others, it may have completely hindered them. You can’t predict what’s going to happen in a year, but you CAN put things in place that will have a lasting impact.
The small money wins are how you get there; it’s not about big leaps. It’s about the tiny steps in the path, one foot at a time.
Please, celebrate your small money wins. It’s what it’s all about.
Come and join our Facebook group, share your money wins, your goals, and let us support you.
I’ll see you in there!