5 Things to Remember to Rock your Financial Goals in 2011

by Tracy · 0 comments

Are you looking to make some changes in your finances in the New Year? It’s a cliché that most New Year’s resolutions are abandoned somewhere around Epiphany and there are good reasons for this. Making changes in your life is hard and if you don’t make a conscious effort to set yourself up for success, failure is almost certain.

Here are five things to think about as you make your goals for the coming year. While we’re focused on personal finance here at CouponShoebox, these tips can be applied to any of your resolutions.

1. Is this what you want to do or is it what you think you should want to do? I’ve done it myself, instead of setting out to get what I really wanted, I thought about what I imagined a smart and responsible person would want and said that was my goal. That didn’t work out too well for me.

While being a financially responsible adult means that sometimes we have to do things we’d rather not, there is also absolutely no point in living your life according to somebody else’s vision of what a good life should be.

2. Is this goal vague or specific? Do you want to save more money or put $2,000 into an emergency fund this year? Do you want to work on your investments or meet with a financial planner to map out a plan for investing for your retirement?

Vague goals sound good, but they don’t leave us with much direction, give us too much room to fudge and flake and don’t give us a good idea of how we’ll know when we’ve accomplished the goal.

When you are making your financial goals for the New Year, come up with concrete achievements and specific plans instead of vague wishes to spend less and save more.

3. What is my timeline? Again, a vague, open ended goal like “save more money” leaves you too much wiggle room and makes it far too easy to never do so much as get started. Be realistic about your deadline but don’t give yourself too much slack.

You’ll make it so much easier on yourself if you decide what you want to accomplish, when you want it done by and how you will measure your success. It’s the difference between somebody telling you “Hey, write a book” and “I want you to write a 250 page book on how to collect widgets by June 1st”. Both options are intimidating, sure, but at least the second gives you direction and guidance on what to do and when it needs to be done.

4. Is your goal realistic? By this, I am in no way implying that you should set easy, peasy powder-puff goals for yourself. We all need challenges and it helps us grow as people to constantly be aiming towards something just out of reach.

However, when it comes time to set goals, we need to look at our lives and our situation and ask ourselves, can this really work and at what cost to our wellbeing and the wellbeing of those we love?

Are you really willing to put in the work towards this goal? Do you have the motivation? This is related to tip number 1, because it’s extraordinarily difficult to find the motivation and energy to work towards a goal that we’ve only set because it’s what we think we need to do or should do instead of what we really want.

There will be times when you need to suck it up and do things that that you don’t want to, but when it comes to setting goals for your financial future, success starts with really wanting it.

5. How will your life improve once you’ve met your goal? Knowing this and being able to clearly visualize it can help provide the motivation and energy we were talking about in the last tip. Of course, there are the obvious answers like “if I save more money, I will have more money” but let’s go beyond that.

Being able to visualize yourself accomplishing your goals is one of the best ways to keep yourself working towards them. Think about what could change in your life if you paid off that credit card? How could you use that extra money? What would it mean to your stress levels?

I don’t believe in anything so woo-woo as the Law of Attraction, but it can help to keep visual reminders of your goal to keep yourself motivated. Perhaps you could collect travel brochures if you’re saving for a vacation or a running “bucket list” of all the great things you’ll do once you’ve retired.

Working towards our goals is not always easy, but it’s worth it. This year, set specific goals, give yourself a time frame and think about what you really want to work for and why.

What are your financial goals for this coming year? Do you have any tips that have helped you reach your goals?

Photo credit: nonlegalresident

Bonus Tip:

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