What I Do When I Don't Reach My Goals

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Last month I didn’t reach the goal that I set for myself. Going into the month, it was a bit of a stretch. But, I really wanted to cross that off. I love setting big goals and seeing how far I can go.

My goal was to get under $70k in student loan debt. It didn’t happen. And I missed it by about $150. Of course I was disappointed in myself, but it happens.

I’d never reach any goals if I let it get me down. There have been so many times that I could have given up. I know there will be so many more as well. It happens and we need to know how to deal with them.

This is what I did last month when I didn’t reach my goal.

1. Got upset.

At first, I definitely was upset and I let myself be for a bit. When you’ve been on this journey it’s inevitable to get down on yourself every now and then. Personally, I love challenging myself and seeing how far I can push myself.

I knew my goal was going to be a stretch for me, but I wanted to do it anyway. That’s the thing about goals, they gotta be a little scary to make real progress. It killed me that I was short by $150.

Immediately I started thinking about all the “if only” things in my budget. If only I worked a little more in my side hustles, if only I didn’t use my eating out budget this month, if only I didn’t budget my hair appointment this month.

I let myself take sometime to be upset that I didn’t reach my goal. But, I didn’t let myself stay there.

2. I reflected on the last month.

Once I actually looked at my budget, the reality was that I just didn’t make enough in my side hustles. I got paid from my April after school program hours. April was spring break for my school, which meant I worked a lot less than normal.

May was also weird for my babysitting and tutoring. I love babysitting and tutoring, but the reality is that you work for your client. If they don’t need me one week, I don’t get paid that week. This unfortunately happened a lot more than I expected.

And being totally honest, I was anticipating my retro payment on May 15th. In my current district, we haven’t received a raise since 2016 and were told that we’d be getting retro pay from the last two years. Things happened and it still hasn’t been processed.

This was disappointing for me, because I wanted to make a massive debt payment. But, this is why you should never anticipate money, wait until it is actually in your account. Even though I know I can make that payment whenever the money hits my account, I was excited to do it last month.

3. Make a plan to continue towards your goals.

I know I’m going to get under $70k next month. Just my minimum payments will get me there. So, I’m excited for that. It will be especially nice since this summer is going to be so up in the air for me. And I still hit a huge milestone of paying off $130k, so I can’t dwell on the bad too long.

I am moving out and switching jobs in June. It’s going to be a little crazy for sure. But, I have planned for this and I am confident that I will be fine throughout this summer.

I honestly don’t have any plans in my budget to make extra debt payments in June, July or August. My plan is to try my best to only use incoming money throughout the summer. If I need my summer sinking fund, I will obviously use it.

Once September rolls around and I get my first paycheck from my new job, I will empty my summer sinking fund and my moving out fund to make a debt payment. My current school doesn’t offer 12 month pay, only 10 month pay. So, I would rather have more money stashed away throughout the summer, than make extra debt payments.

You have to keep moving forward  to reach your goals.

The important thing to remember is to just keep moving forward. Whenever you make big goals, you’re risking the chance of failing. But, if you let that failure hold you back, you’re never going to improve.

Failing is a part of life and it helps us learn. I learned the hard lesson of not tracking my side hustle income more closely and anticipating funds before they come in. If I had tracked my income better this month, I would have seen that I was short in this area.

Take failure as an opportunity to grow and learn. Don’t spend much time sulking about not reaching the goal, keep pushing forward with a different outlook about it. I have outlined my plan that I use in my financial life in my ebook, it will help you get started on your own path. How have you navigated not reaching a goal?