Setting goals is a great motivator to get things done. Without a goal, life goes on without much excitement and nothing to look forward to or work towards. But if you have a goal that is too hard or takes too long to achieve it may actually be demotivating. How do you get out of this situation. Simple, have a long term goal and then have a few smaller, shorter incremental goals.
Take the case of early retirement for example. How can you keep yourself motivated if your retirement goals is some 10 or 15 years away? You make smaller goals in-between. Lets say you are 30 years and want to retire at 45. Use the "how much should I invest" calculator to figure out how much you need to invest every month. Then make sure you are reaching your goal each year as the calculator projected.
If your corpus is below the projected value, make sure to increase your SIP to something more than what the calculator is projecting. If your corpus is more than projection, just pat your back and continue with your SIP.
Every year on January 1st, I hear many people making new year resolutions especially in the area of health and fitness. The goals are usually very vague like "I want to exercise more" or "I want to eat healthy". But these are not measurable at all. What does more mean? Make a more measurable goals like, "I want to be able to do 10 pull-ups by the end of the year". Now that you can measure. Or if you want to eat healthy then something like "I want to be at 10% body fat by the end of the year".
Then you can make smaller in-between goals like "Do 4 pull-ups in 3 months, 7 in 6 months, 9 in 9 months and 10 by end of the year". That way you can check your goals every few months and make progress. If you are about to miss a goal, you can make adjustments to get there. The new year is just around the corner, so prepare yourself to set better goals.
The reason I wrote this post is because I see all too often that people make lots of goals at the beginning of a year and not being able to stick to them by mid-year. Let alone achieving the goal or at least sticking to it until end of the year. Moreover the goals keep changing along the way. Having a far away goal makes you lax. On the other hand, having a too aggressive goal will demotivate you if you are unable to keep up. Just set one or two achievable but not easy goals per year. Then make smaller goals and stick to them.