Wouldn’t you agree financial goals are a good thing? Some people might set a daily goal for simply (or not so simply) getting out of bed on-time in the morning. Other strive for much larger goals such as joining the special forces. There are career goals and so on.
Goals give us something to strive for, and if there is some work behind them, they can help us accomplish just about anything. At least that’s what my mom and dad always told me. 🙂
Seriously, I’m a fan of goals and specifically, financial goals. They have helped me grow in my career as well as in writing and blogging. In my younger days, setting goals helped me become a collegiate soccer player.
To be successful in achieving financial goals, you’ll want to keep a few things in mind. For you goal driven people out there, this may seem like a little bit of goal setting 101. However, I’m a fan of getting back to the fundamentals because that’s where you find success.
Tips to Achieve Financial Goals
1. Create resolutions
I know there are a few different camps as it relates to New Year’s resolutions. Personally, I think it’s great to create a few resolutions that will help you tell a better story at the end of the year. Resolutions aren’t really goals in my mind. They are visions of success. Again, these are stories you want to tell such as improve the way you manage your money or get out of debt. They will never stand on their own as you’ll need to set some specific goals to achieve them.
2. Identify 2 – 3 major goals
Considering “improve the way you manage money” example and think of some goals that can help you achieve this resolution. Don’t pick too many, otherwise, it may be difficult to make progress. Here are a few examples to consider: create a plan to get out of debt; create a budget and follow it consistently, or invest 5% of pre-tax income in your company’s 401K plan.
3. Be as specific as possible
Try to rely on the SMART goal format. Make sure goals have these attributes: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. This format will help insure you have a well written goal.
4. Make goals visible
I know for many people it helps to make their goals visible. I think this is a great idea! Ideas might include writing your goals on sticky notes and posting them on the fridge, office or even in your car. What about using a screen saver to display them? I think being constantly reminded of your most important goals helps in keeping you motivated and on-track.
5. Create a list of tasks
Here’s where we get to the meat of goals. Create a list of things to do that are required to achieve each goal. Creating a budget might include finding the right budgeting software, estimating your spending categories, balancing your budget each month, etc. The tasks make up your project plan to achieve each goal.
6. Track your tasks
Probably my favorite tip is to use a task management system. I currently use Remember the Milk to create lists (per goal or project) to organize all of my tasks. I set due dates and the priority for each task.
Tracking tasks is probably the most important thing you can do to stay focused. For example, if I’m working on my blog, or a project at work, I need to make sure I’m working on tasks that roll up to a real goal or accomplishment. If not, I may be burning unnecessary time on something that isn’t going to help me achieve my resolution, or create a better story for my career or small business for the year.
This isn’t a complete list of ways to achieve and stay focused on your financial goals, or really, any goal for that matter.
What ideas have you found helpful to set and achieve your financial goals?