Most of us have financial goals — large and small. These goal can range from just having enough money to pay our bills on time each month, to planning out a detailed retirement where we travel the world.

But goals all have one thing in common: in order to achieve them, you generally have to plan.

How do you plan out your goals, financial or otherwise?

I used to use the method where I would write down what I wanted to accomplish for the year sometime in January, and that would be it.

Strangely, that was often enough. Most years I would look back on my goals and discover that I’d actually achieved a large portion of them.

In recent years, I’ve continued to write out my goals at least once a year, but I’ve started checking in on my progress quarterly. This seems to be even more helpful, but I think I’m still missing some things that could help me make even more progress, and that is…

Steps.

You see, I know where I want to go, but knowing how to get there is another matter. Operating on blind faith has worked out reasonably well for me, but I think that actively listing out the steps that would be necessary would help even more.

Usually though, I have no idea what those steps might be. (Except in the case of goals like “Open a Roth IRA”. In that case, the steps are pretty clear: do research, choose brokerage house, get the money, open account, choose fund(s), fund account.)

It’s when the goals are really huge and somewhat nebulous that I have a problem. For example, I have this vision of an early retirement where we travel the world. How on earth do we get to that point though?

One method that I’m going to try out involves starting from where you want to be and working backwards. I’ll give that a try in a future post.