Published by Taylor Financial Group
Keeping your financial resolutions for 2017 will require more than just good intentions. You may be striving to invest more, save more, spend less or a combination of all three. But regardless of your resolution, remember these four main characteristics when setting goals: be realistic, be specific, look for support, and be forgiving of yourself.
Be Realistic – Is This Attainable?
One of the main reasons people fail at keeping their New Year’s resolutions is because they set unrealistic, unachievable goals. For example, setting a goal to save $30,000 this year when your annual salary is $60,000 may be a very unrealistic goal. Likewise, people often make the mistake of creating stiff or subjective resolutions without considering their current situation. For instance, it may be difficult for you to save a significant amount if you’re moving to a new home or if you just lost your job. Remember, it’s okay to adjust your goals according to your circumstances, especially when your circumstances change over time. Part of being realistic is being appropriately flexible.
Be Specific – Why Am I Setting This Goal?
A good way to help you be specific is to write things down. For starters, take time to think about and write down the reasons for your resolutions. Maybe you’re saving money for a dream vacation to Africa that you have always wanted to take. Maybe you want to buy a new home in a year or two. Maybe you just simply want to plan for your financial future. The point is you have to know why you’re doing it before you can figure out how you’re going to do it. Knowing your “why” is important because if the reasons aren’t clear to you, it will be easier to lose focus and abandon your goal. This is especially true when your resolutions are the result of the desires of other people in your life. For example, if your parents have been pushing you to buy your first home or your spouse wants you to reduce your credit card debt, these “desires” may not be important enough to you and will therefore be more easily forgotten as the year goes by.
The next step for being specific is to make a plan. Breaking a goal down into smaller goals or stages helps you move forward without getting discouraged. Start by asking yourself what can be done to get you to the main goal. If your goal is to save more, you can ask yourself some very specific questions. Can you set up an automated transfer to your savings account for each payroll? Can you increase your 401(k) contribution? Are there any expenses you can cut back on? Are you investing enough of your money? Can you invest your money differently? Answering these questions can help you take the necessary steps to reach the overall goal.
Look for Support
Having support can make all the difference in keeping your resolutions and reaching your goals. Simply sharing your resolution with others helps make it real and will keep you accountable. So, tell others what you’re trying to do. This could mean telling friends or family and asking them to encourage you. But this also means seeking professional help to make sure you stay on track. In the past year alone, with the launch of our new financial planning process, WealthMatch™, we have been able to help many clients set and adjust their financial goals. And it is our objective for 2017 to make sure each one of our clients has created a WealthMatch™ plan. Because we believe that having a financial plan is essential to pursuing your goals. And, with WealthMatch™, we are able to create scenarios to help you decide what financial decisions will help you pursue your dreams.
Don’t feel that working toward your goals is something you have to do alone. Get the assistance you need to form an effective plan.
If you see that you’re failing to keep your resolutions, don’t be too hard on yourself. Discipline and honesty are essential to pursuing your goals, but being too hard on yourself can make it impossible. Instead, evaluate what caused you to slipup and whether the goal is achievable. Perhaps your pursuit of this goal helps you realize that your expenses are too high and therefore not allowing you to save as much as you had hoped. This could just mean you need to consider cutting back on some of your expenses, or maybe you need to revise your savings goal. It does not mean you have to stop trying to save or that you have to abandon your resolution. Think positively and move forward with a new plan. Don’t just quit.
If you want assistance building a plan to help you work toward your 2017 goals, and even your more long-term goals, make sure you give us a call. Let us show you how WealthMatch™ can work for you.
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