The New Year is fast approaching which means everyone is going to start thinking about setting new year money goals. New Year’s goals don’t have to be something that you fail at each year. There are ways to set goals that you will stick with through the year. While you are making health goals, don’t forget to make goals for your budget to help set your year up for success.
1. Reflect on the Past Year
In order to set goals you can actually stick to, you need to reflect on what you did last year. What worked well and what didn’t work well? Try to think about the past year without emotion as far as your money goals. Be realistic about what happened and what you would have done differently. Don’t focus on just the bad. Celebrate the challenges you overcame and the accomplishments that you had from the previous year. How can these help you make your future goals?
2. Prioritize Your Goals
Have you ever sat down and made a list of 10 resolutions for the new year or a new month? You try to work on all those goals but some fall to the wayside or are completely forgotten. Maybe you just throw your hands up and quit them all together. To keep this from happening again, make a few high-priority goals. What is most important for you to accomplish this year? Are you saving for a home? Do you want to pay down debt? Maybe you want to take a fabulous vacation. Use those to help you set your goals. Pick one or two and make a plan for those.
3. Make SMART Goals
You have your goals! Now, let’s make them SMART. Goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-Bound. Goals with these characteristics give you a better chance of accomplishing your goals.
Here is an example of a SMART financial goal.
“Pay off capital one credit card (current balance $6k) within 6 months.
- Specific: I state exactly what credit card I will pay off and it’s current balance
- Measurable: The goal gives a specific amount of money, $6,000
- Achievable: That means I need to pay $1,000 extra to my card each month (since interest will accrue I am saying $1,000 extra on top of the minimum payment) and not add anything else to this card.
- Relevant: This will make me credit card debt free!
- Time-bound: You put a timeline on it within 6 months.
Now you can use this example to set up your own SMART financial goals.
4. Break It Down
Once your goals are set up as SMART goals, break them down into smaller tasks. When you make smaller tasks, it helps you gain a sense of achievement as you accomplish each task. Accomplishing these smaller tasks will keep you moving in the right direction because you can see your progress. Everyone wants to feel as if they are being successful so set yourself up for success with these manageable tasks.
5. Create an Action Plan
Making a plan is one of the most important parts of achieving each goal. Your plan should be clear and easy for you to follow and understand. Make sure that your plan is feasible. If you are looking to save for a down payment and want to put $500 a month in savings but don’t have that money each month then that is not an achievable step for your goal. Take the time to think about what is doable for each step of the plan to set yourself up for success.
6. Stay Accountable
It is so easy to forget or stop our goals when we mess up or feel that it is not doable. Get an accountability partner. If you are part of a couple, make sure your partner knows what your goals are so that you can keep each other accountable. You can also get a good friend or family member to help hold you accountable but make sure you choose someone who will help you. If you need more help than check out my FinanciALLIFocused Foundations free course. This is the BEST place to start and will get you on the right track!
7. Flexibility and Adaptability
You have to be flexible with your goals. Situations can change during the course of a year. The great thing about setting up the plan for your goals is that you have the ability to monitor and adjust them as you need. What if you lose your job? You may not be able to keep up the same goals. That is okay! Just change what you need to in order to succeed. What if you find out you are having a baby? Again, just change your steps for your goals as they change. When you think about goals with an all-or-nothing mindset you are setting up to fail your goals. Flexibility is key when changes happen that will affect your goal.
8. Focus on Habits
Long-term goal success is all about building positive habits. If your goal is about saving money and you know you are bad at saving money make putting money in your savings account the first thing you do on pay day. Take it a step further and have it automatically deducted and put in your savings account. Out of sight out of mind really can help with money. Make budgeting a part of your life to help you save and know where your money is going. Take the time to write out where your money is going each paycheck.
9. Celebrate Your Progress
Here is the fun part! When you have an achievement, celebrate it! Don’t just focus on what goes wrong. Look at what is going right. You saved $100 this month. Woohoo! Celebrate it! You actually did your budget for this month! Celebrate it! No matter how small the achievement is, celebrate it! You are more likely to continue with your goal if you are celebrating your successes.
10. Seek Support and Guidance
Are you just not sure where to start even after reflecting on your past year? You have so many goals and you don’t know how to prioritize them. Maybe you set your goals but they have just flopped and you don’t know why? It is ok to get help. Check out my signature coaching program Flourish FinanciALLI. I can help you decide what goals you want to accomplish and set up steps to help you achieve your goals AND (the best part) I will hold you accountable and get you personalized feedback.
Sticking with goals can seem daunting but you can achieve your goals. Stay positive and be patient with yourself as you move towards your goals. Realize that there may be setbacks and that is ok. Just work through them so that you can keep moving forward on your goals. If your goals get pushed back to a later time that is ok. Adjust your goal and keep moving forward. You can accomplish your goals! Don’t be afraid to reach out for help!