Retirement Goals: How to Make Setting and Achieving Them Easier

How to Make Achieving Your Retirement Goals Fool-Proof
How to Make Achieving Your Retirement Goals Fool-Proof

By writing your goals down, you are 42% more likely to achieve them, according to one study from the Dominican University in California. This applies to any goals, personal, professional, fitness, or your retirement goals.

Just by putting your goals in writing, you are way ahead of anyone who keeps their goals merely in their head. Sounds pretty awesome, right?

But wait, HOW do you write down your goals? And by that, I don’t mean by hand, in a notebook, on your smart phone or laptop, or on an old paper napkin. I am talking about how you word your goals.

Some experts say, your goals need to be SMART

S: Specific
M: Measurable
A: Actionable
R: Realistic
T: Time-framed

Makes sense, right? Compare these two retirement goals…

Version 1: I want to save mailbox money for retirement.

Version 2: By the end of this year, I want to put at least $100 each month into a regular savings account to grow my retirement nest egg.

Which version has more chances of success? The SMART one, aka version 2.

Make Achieving Your Retirement Goals Fool-Proof

But, here’s one simple trick to make achieving your goals virtually fool-proof…

Write them down as a question.

In our example above, the SMART goal would then read…

How can I put at least $100 each month into a regular savings account by the end of this year?

Can you feel the difference? By turning your goal statement into a question, your brain immediately springs into action and tries to answer the question.

Write down everything that comes to your mind, as bullet points. Don’t assess or dismiss anything. Just write all points down. Once your stream of ideas has died down, review your list and decide which actions to take.

Your result could look something like this…

Question / Goal: How can I put at least $100 each month into a regular savings account by the end of this year?

Steps / Possible Actions:

  • List my income and expenses (aka make a simple budget).
  • Review my expenses: which ones can I eliminate or reduce?
  • Talk to my spouse about this plan.
  • Talk to my employer about a pay raise.
  • Earn some extra money by offering consulting services.
  • Talk to my landlord about reducing the rent (if you rent).
  • Look into refinancing my mortgage (if you own).
  • Review my insurance policies: do I need all of them?

These are just some of the points that came to my mind. I am sure you can expand the list.

To give you a personal example that this goal setting technique works…

In 2010, I asked myself this goal question: How can I move to a tropical country by the end of this year? I listed all the possible action steps I had to take, ordered them by priority, and in September 2010 my daughter and I arrived in Nicaragua.

So, you see, it works. Give it a try. Ask yourself your most important retirement goal questions today!

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