How Thinking Small Can Equal Big

Imagine your financially independent life.

Now think of the feeling you get when you have an extra $300 in your pocket as a result of packing last night’s dinner leftovers as today’s lunch. How about the bubbly feeling inside when your boss commends you on work well done in the staff meeting. Or how about the pride of investing all the money from your iSave account when it matures. Budgeting and having more than enough to cover bills, savings, entertainment, and investments. Or not having to worry about whether or not this month’s salary was late.

We often set our Big Financial Independence goals and don’t see them through. We get frustrated with how difficult it seems to save 20% of our income every month, to volunteer in our community, or to start our own business. Achieving them may be time-consuming and demanding but it’s great to have really big goals. Ambition is a beautiful thing!

Too Big of a Big Picture

There is a reason why we find it so hard to see our large goals through to the end.  Imagine a flight of 50 stairs. You are at the bottom and need to get to the top of those stairs. If you stand on the first step looking up at step 50, it may seem impossible to get to the top. But if you focus on getting up the second step instead of all the way to 50 then it seems more achievable doesn’t it? That’s the trick to achieving our larger goals. Not only breaking them up into smaller, more achievable steps, but looking at the small goals that will lead you to your financial independence.

Think of a Series of Goals Not Steps.

After completing a step the next thing to do is to move on to the next. On the other hand, a Goal leaves you feeling resolved when you’ve completed it and motivates you to tackle the next one. Think of it as many small goals that will eventually lead to you achieving your larger goal.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Decide on your final goal. What does Financial Independence mean to you? Think about what you want to achieve and when. Maybe you would like to retire in the next 40 years. This will make it easier for you to create a clearly defined action plan.


  1. Work backwards. Figure out the smaller steps that need to be met before getting to the final goal. (And the one before that and before that one.) For example if your Big plan is to retire comfortably, calculate how much money you will need. Break it down to see how much money you’ll need to save each year, each month, and each week. Then see how you can save this amount each week. Make a list of questions you have about opening an Approved Retirement Scheme (ARS) account at Victoria Mutual Pension Management. Working backwards ensures that each small step is aimed at fulfilling the bigger picture.


  1. Create a goal for each small step. A goal of taking lunch to work 3 or 4 days a week. A goal of saving $2k each week for a month. Whatever your small goal may be, it will serve as an endpoint for each small step, like the end of a book in a series.


  1. Work to accomplish each goal on time. Set time limits for yourself to complete each small goal. Bring lunches to work 4 times a week. Did it? Done! You’ve accomplished one goal in a week. Keep doing this and you’ll notice how it helps you to remain disciplined and committed to your goal.


  1. Check it off. After achieving a goal, check it off, congratulate yourself, have a celebratory dance in your living room. You’re doing great! But don’t stop there. Re-assess the goals you’ve completed and tackle the next small goal on your list.

Stay focused on the big picture but don’t let it consume you. Decide on the steps needed to accomplish your BIG goals and set small goals for each step. Think small, take small steps and you’ll be surprised how easily and quickly you’ve made it to the 50th stair.

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