Why Small Financial Goals Guarantee Success

In my experience, setting small financial goals can help you stay motivated to achieve the big ones. Remember S.M.A.R.T. goals, everyone? This old hat idea is worth keeping around. An acronym for goal setting, it stands for specific, measurable, achievable, results-focused, and time-bound.

The more your goals conform to these criteria, the more likely you are to achieve them.

I’ve always felt that I am more likely to achieve smaller, bite-sized goals but now I know why. When a goal is smaller and more specific, you can achieve it in a shorter amount of time to get your desired result. You can do this with goals in every category of life, but I’ve found it to be especially effective when evaluating financial goals.

Here is why I believe small financial goals guarantee success.

They are Achievable  & Results-Focused


It’s common sense that when financial goals are smaller, they are more achievable. For example, it’s hard to save for a house, but it’s relatively easy to save $100. Here’s a list of different ways to save money every month that can get you to $100 with little effort.

As such, small financial goals are results-focused. You have a goal in mind, and once you achieve it, you’ll get the result you hoped for, whether that’s saving a few hundred dollars or paying off just one of your student loans.

Plus, because small financial goals are so achievable, you can easily build momentum with them. When you’re staring at a $10,000 balance on your credit card for example, that amount seems crushing, as if it will take forever to conquer.

However, if you commit to paying $400 per month on your credit card and you do everything in your power to watch your spending and earn more to get there, you’re much more likely to stick to your goal.

Another tactic that can greatly help when paying off credit card debt is refinancing that debt at a lower interest rate through online partners like Avant or Lending Club.

Small Financial Goals Are Specific


By their very nature, small financial goals are specific. A big financial goal would be something like, “I want to save enough money to go on a trip around the world someday.” That statement is vague. When do you want to travel around the world? How much money will it take? How much money will you have to save to get there?

With small financial goals, you know exactly what you want. For example, you can say “I want to save enough money to go to a Taylor Swift concert.” (Look at what you made me do.) With a specific goal like that, you have a timeline in mind too, which brings me to my next point.

They Are Time-Bound


In order to achieve your small financial goal, you should absolutely put a deadline on it. Saying you want to save $1,000 in an emergency fund someday will make you far less likely to achieve it. If you say you want to achieve that goal by the end of the year, then you have a deadline by which to accomplish it.

Goals that are time-bound are important because they help you stay focused. There are always going to be things competing for your time and attention. Good marketers make you want tickets to a concert, or to act on a sale at the mall or to snag a great deal on eBay.

When your financial goals are small, it’s easier to look past these temptations. When what you want is achievable and time bound, you know that as soon as you get there, you can focus on the next goal. This makes it a lot easier to withstand the constant pressure to buy and buy some more.

They are Measurable


Setting small financial goals is a great way to build confidence to reach bigger goals. Here are 4 ways small goals guarantee success in life.


Financial goals are extremely measurable. It’s a lot harder to achieve a financial goal than a goal like, “I want to be a really great digital marketer someday.” A goal like the one just mentioned is open to interpretation and really depends on the person.

A small financial goal, however, usually involves numbers. We’re not talking about big, broad financial goals like wanting to be financially independent someday. These are smaller goals with specific values. Some examples include, “I want to save $1,000 for a new road bike,” or “I want to save $400 to take my family to the theme park before the season ends.”

As evidenced, setting small financial goals means you’re more likely to achieve them. So, anytime you have a big, lofty financial goal, break it down into smaller chunks and try to accomplish them one at a time. You might be surprised how quickly you knock them out.


What are some small financial goals that you’ve set lately? How do you keep track of goals you’re working towards? What’s one way you avoid temptation when trying to accomplish a goal?

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