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Empowering your money

A step-by-step guide to goal setting

Maggie Stamets is a writer for BUILT BY GIRLS, which prepares the next generation of female and non-binary leaders to step into their power and break into their careers. WAVE is the backbone of BUILT BY GIRLS: it’s a 1:1 matching program that connects high school and college students with top tech professionals across the country. For more information and to sign up check out

If you’re at all like me, you take the whole fresh start-new year thing very seriously. Each new year, I ceremoniously open a new journal and write out all of my lofty goals for the upcoming year.

This will be the year I suddenly become the organized, hyper-vigilant, detail-oriented boss lady of my dreams with glowing skin and a completed first draft of my novel. But year after year, I fall short of these ambitions. Maybe I’m not setting the right goals, but even more likely, I’m not holding myself accountable.

Angel Trinidad, founder of Passion Planner, spoke at the BUILT BY GIRLS Summit last year about setting achievable goals. Her method involves setting a series of smaller goals with deadlines that lead up to your bigger goal. Use these steps to set your best and most productive 2021.

(Photo credit: BUILT BY GIRLS)
(Photo credit: BUILT BY GIRLS)

Map it out

Make a wish list for your future and remember to think big. Take 5-7 minutes to jot down the first things that come to mind when you think about what do you want for yourself in three months, one year, three years, and over a lifetime.


Spend a minute looking back at your wishlist and circle one goal from each section that could have the most powerful impact on your life.

Make the plan

Choose the goal that would have the most positive impact on your life today. Write that down on a fresh page. Now write down every step you’ll need to take in order to achieve that goal. You have 5 minutes, go!

Get specific

Add due dates to each task. Be sure to include specific details like quantities or deadlines. Your goal may seem daunting but when broken into pieces, even the biggest goals can seem manageable.

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Yahoo Money sister site Cashay has a weekly newsletter.

Create a timeline

Number all your tasks in the order they need to be completed. Do you need to finish one thing before moving onto the next? Be sure to think through how all of the steps connect.

Make a date

Mark a calendar with each due date or set reminders on your phone. This will hold you accountable and keep you on track.

If you miss a deadline or get off track, remember calendar alerts can be changed and timelines amended. Remind yourself that you’re only one person with a lot on your plate and you’re going to get this done.

Read more information and tips in our Planning section

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