1. Money

7 Steps to Making and Keeping Your Credit/Debt Goals

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How often do you set a goal to repair your credit or pay off your debt, work towards it for a few months, then forget about it? It's easy to push goals to the side, especially when they seem unattainable. With the right approach, you can reach any goal, including your financial ones.

1. Set clearly defined and measurable goals.

Setting a vague goal like "I want to get better credit" is asking for trouble. What do you mean by "better credit"? By when do you want to have better credit? When you set goals, they should be specific and realistic. A better goal would be, "I want to improve my credit score from 600 to 650 in six months." That way you know exactly what you want and by when you want to have it.

2. Break the goal down into steps.

To reach a goal, you'll need to take specific actions. An action plan is like a roadmap toward your goal; without it, you can easily get lost. You might reach your destination, but it could take longer. Planning the steps it will take to reach your goal will give you the direction you need.

3. Make a timeline.

Including a deadline is part of making your goals specific. Once you set a deadline, plan shorter deadlines or milestones for each of the steps you'll take to reach your goal. These shorter deadlines will give you something smaller, more easily achievable to work toward.

4. Write down your plan.

Put your goal in writing and place it where you'll see it regularly, like in your planner or on a bulletin board. This way, you'll constantly be reminded of your goal and the steps you need to reach it.

5. Track your progress.

Since you have your goal written down, you can easily update your progress on the same piece of paper. There are lots of ways to track your progress. You can check off completed action items, write down increases in your credit score or reduction in your debt, or write down the number of days that have passed since you began. The important thing is to recognized how much you've accomplished.

6. Tell someone.

Letting a friend or family member know about your goal makes you accountable to someone and gives you a support system. You'll have someone to celebrate with and encourage you. 

7. Celebrate success.

You don't have to wait until you reach your goal to celebrate. Giving yourself a pat on the back as you make progress will help motivate you to keep going. As you see progress, you'll become inspired to keep going.

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