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Goal Case Study: Buying a House

Goal Case Study: Buying a House

It was this time last spring when we took the whole family down to Oxford, Ohio (home of Miami University!) to look at houses. 

Oxford was 3 hours from our current home in Toledo, it was unusually warm, and the air conditioning in our van was acting up. 

By the time we arrived we felt sticky, a little irritable, and the floor of the van had been swallowed up by kid blankets, pillows, coloring books, shoes, and a lot of other mysterious items. 

But we were excited to FINALLY be looking at some houses. We all felt it.

We met our realtor at the first house and then after that he suggested he just hop into our van with us and give us the grand tour of the area.


He didn’t bat an eye at the pretzels embedded into the seats.

He was so gracious and spent hours driving us around. I knew then we could trust him.

Half of my Sol Planners so far have been used to track my goal of buying a house, but finally at age 37 and with 4 kids in tow, Chris and I bought a house last summer. 

Although it took three times longer than I had hoped, my Sol Planner was a big piece in me tracking the right things towards this goal. 

So much of buying a house is outside of your control and plans, so I thought I would use this as a case study to show you how you could use a planner to track a goal like this. 

You might be tempted to write out a goal like this:


Step 1: Save up a down payment.

Step 2: Find a house.

Step 3: Pack, move in, unpack.

You might even break it down like this:

Step 1: Save up a down payment.

  • Jan-June: set aside $____ each month until the down payment is reached.

    Step 2: Find a house.

    • Contact a realtor and look at houses.

      Step 3: Pack & move in.

      • July: pack
      • Aug: make repairs
      • Sept: move in and unpack

      ⬆️ This is too vague, too open to variables, difficult to track, and even more difficult to see progress. 

      Buckle up because I’m about to show you some next level goal setting.


      We begin with a basic step of breaking down a goal. A couple things to notice in this example:

      1. There’s a timeline (Quarter 1, Jan-Mar).
      2. The goal of saving a down payment is broken down into more specific steps (deciding on the price range, adjusting a budget, assessing income, etc).


      I bet that’s not new to you. Breaking down a goal into month-size objectives is something most goal-oriented people know how to do.


      If those steps already seem basic, how would you break them down even further? (you might have to zoom in to get a good read)


      This is what it might look like:



      If you can’t read it, these are some of the items listed that if not identified, could get neglected, pushed off, or surprise you and knock you off track.


      Schedule a budget meeting.

      Decide what credit cards to pay off.

      Pay bills.

      Review budget.

      Set aside amount agreed upon at the budget meeting.

      Pay off credit card.

      Brainstorm where extra money can be found.

      Sell something.

      Stay motivated by finding a podcast about money.


      Some of these might just naturally happen if you don’t write them down. But the cool thing about writing it down is this: you get to check it off 🙂


      And that helps you see progress. Which is motivating and increases the likelihood that you’ll stick with your goal.


      It also makes it feel doable, holds you accountable, and builds character as you consistently work on something.


      Ok that was just quarter 1. Most people don’t save up for a down payment in 3 months.


      Here's what the next quarter might look like:



      Mapping it out looks like calculus but it's just the repetitive process of breaking your goal down into smaller, doable, action-oriented steps.


      Small enough so you know exactly what to work on each week. This will set you up for progress and big wins!


      Don't overlook the simple (almost mundane) weekly steps. This is the path to goals achieved.


      Everyone’s goals are different and the paths we take to achieve them are more unique than the ice cream flavors found at Jeni’s (my personal fav is the coffee flavor although since moving to Oxford we have Graeter’s Ice Cream here and now my fav is Black Raspberry Chip).


      Although our goals are different, you’ve told me that you like seeing other people’s goals and how they went about using their Sol Planner to achieve them.


      So send me your goal and I can break it down in a case study for us all to learn from. 


      I’m also cooking up a beta program for this summer that will go over higher level goal setting and time management for those running both a business and a home/personal project. 


      It will bring your Sol Planner to life. 


      For now, let me know if a case study is helpful and if you have a goal you want me to break down.


      Your sol sister,

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