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Setting goals for your financial life

Lots of people set New Year’s resolutions, firm in the belief that, within the next 365 days, they’ll have ticked off some big goals and set some fabulous new habits.

But then, we all know it, life has a way of getting in the way. So, what if the solution wasn’t just about the goals you set, but how you set them?

Here’s how to set great goals to really elevate your life in the new year.

Keep goals manageable 

Big goals have a certain appeal. Why run just 5 km when you can run a marathon, right? But big is not always better. If your goals are too big, you might feel like you’re not getting there fast enough, leading to frustration. On the other hand, breaking big goals into smaller ‘wins’ that you can tick off on your way can help keep your goals more manageable – and achievable.

Keep goals measurable

Goals aren’t much good if you don’t know whether you’ve achieved them. Make sure there’s a clear target that you’re aiming for that you’ll be able to either tick off – or not. Saving more money sounds good but “I will save $50 a week this year” is much more clearly measurable.

Make sure you care about them

This might sound a bit obvious, but you need to make sure the goals you set are things you actually want, or need. 

If you aren’t saving money for a reason, and are just setting a goal because you think you should, you might not have enough motivation to do it. So, it’s a good idea to find ways to connect with the goals you’re working towards, so that you have the drive to make them happen. 

Maybe that’s regularly reminding yourself why you’re doing it, or reframing the goal into something that sounds more appealing. Giving yourself the chance to save up for a holiday sounds a lot better than denying yourself the chance to spend money at the shops this week.

Write it down

Write your goals down so that you have a record of what you’ve committed to, and share it with others who might help you stay accountable. Then, check in regularly to see where you’re at. It can help to note each day what progress you’ve made towards long-term goals: when you get to the end of the year, the document can provide a good checklist to work through and see what you’ve accomplished.

Reward yourself

Don’t be afraid to celebrate your successes as you go. When you get to tick off a goal, or make some progress towards it, take the opportunity to reward yourself. Quick tip: planning out the sort of things you’d like as rewards in advance can also help you stay motivated.

Understand what might trip you up

If you’re working towards longer-term goals, you’re likely to encounter things that act as hurdles to success. Maybe it’s a big event that requires a lot of spending and will knock you off your plans for a month, or a month where your income is likely to be lower. Keep in mind that there are lots of natural human traits that can get in the way of goals – humans are basically hardwired to prioritise “now” over a reward later. Understanding that can help you prepare for it.

Adjust as necessary

Circumstances change, and your goals should be flexible enough to move with them. If you’re slipping behind, consider why. Were the goals too ambitious, or do you no longer have the same ability to achieve them? A small adjustment that keeps you on track is better than battling on, trying and failing to stick to something that’s just not working.

Like to talk? 

If you have any goals or needs that we can help you with, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re here to help.



Disclaimer: Please note that the content provided in this article is intended as an overview and as general information only. While care is taken to ensure accuracy and reliability, the information provided is subject to continuous change and may not reflect current development or address your situation. Before making any decisions based on the information provided in this article, please use your discretion and seek independent guidance.

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