Most of us likely have goals…whether they’re health-, entertainment-, financial-related or another kind. Financial goals may not be as high of a priority as exercising, but being financially unfit can affect you just like eating poorly and not exercising. There are many different types of goals to choose from: build emergency savings, save for a trip/big ticket item, pay off debt, stick to a budget, increase retirement savings, etc. Once you determine which one you should focus on, here’s how to make it happen:
Write it down
You’re more likely to achieve your goal if it’s written down. Also, be sure to pick a deadline and keep it visible. An example is: ‘I will save $2,000 by December 31, 2016.’
If your goal is to take a trip around the world, while it may be possible, it will likely take a long time to achieve. If it takes too long, you might give up because it seems impossible. So try to pick something that is realistic and that keeps you motivated.
Create an action plan
Write down the specific steps you need to take to reach your goal. For instance, if it’s saving money for a trip, how will you do it – by making budget cuts, increasing income, or selling things? What else? Figure out what you need to do monthly (or daily or weekly) to make it happen.
Just like writing it down, you’ll be more accountable if you spread the word to others about your goal. And this is especially true if it’s finance-related. Your friends/family will be more understanding if you’re saying no to going out to dinner every week. Plus you can find other things to do with each other that don’t cost as much money and maybe you can even motivate someone else to improve their finances.
Stick to your plan
The only way to reach your goal is to work on it on a regular basis and remember to keep your eyes on the prize. If you stumble, it’s okay. When you’re able, pick up where you left off. I trained for a half marathon once and had to take a couple weeks off due to an injury. When I felt better I started back up again and in the end completed my goal of a half marathon! (And now it’s done and I never have to do it again. 🙂 )
This process is fairly simple, but in order to make your goal happen, you need to put in the time and effort. And keep in mind this quote from Confucius:
When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals. Adjust the action steps.
If paying off debt is your goal, LSS can help. Give us a call today at 888.577.2227 and schedule your free session to talk about your options, including the Debt Management Plan that helps people pay save money and pay off their credit cards faster. Or you can get started right now from the comfort of your own home by clicking the button below. Take action today that your future self will thank you for!
Author Elaina Johannessen is a Program Director with LSS Financial Counseling.