JW’s Financial Coaching Podcast Lesson #133-How to determine and achieve our goals in the upcoming year

  • Why goals work
  • How to create SMART goals
  • The power of writing your goals down
  • Where to determine what your goals are in the first place
  • Quote of the lesson from Earl Nightingale

Goal setting is something we’ve discussed on the show before around this time of the year. It’s a good time to talk about financial goals because usually at the end of the year most of us are reflecting on what we’ve accomplished the previous year and look ahead to what lies ahead in the next one.

With that being said you might not be a big goal setter and you start to roll your eyes whenever you read or hear someone talk about goals. But I believe in setting goals because for me they have

  • Helped Lisa and I achieve what we’ve wanted to financially
  • Allowed us to dream together
  • Propel us to things we didn’t think were possible!

But goals aren’t magic, you still have to do the work to achieve them. A lot of times we don’t reach our goals because they are too vague. Goals like I want to do better with money, I want to save more, I want to spend less, contribute more to retirement, reduce debt, aren’t likely to get achieved.

So instead of doing that this year, today we discuss how to create goals that are S.M.A.R.T. I didn’t come up with the acronym but making S.M.A.R.T goals for our family has really helped out.

S-Specific. Goals needs to be precise and leave no doubt. Instead of saying “I want to lower my spending in 2016” change it to “I want to lower my spending on groceries, eating out, and utilities in 2016”

M-Measurable. Goals need to be quantifiable to succeed. Instead of saying “I want to save more in 2016” change that to “I want to save $100 a paycheck in 2016.”

A-Actionable. This is always a tricky one. You have to create a goal that is reachable but also a stretch. If you make it too easy, you’ll more than likely procrastinate on it and then barely achieve your low goal.

R-Realistic-You have to be willing to do the work. If your goal is to pay off all your debt his year, but to do that you’ll have to work 100 hours a week, live in the dark, and eat two meals a day you won’t accomplish that go. Because you won’t see it through. There is a level of sacrifice of either time, energy, or money when it comes to reaching your goals however.

T-Timeline. Expected results need to have a timeline. We don’t like to have deadlines but for most of us we work better when we do. Instead of saying “I want to pay off my student loans in 2017” change it to “I want to pay off my Salie Mae Loan #1 by the end of February.” That will force you to put your energy and money into Salie Mae #1 and you are more likely to pay it off in February.

In addition to having goals that are S.M.A.R.T it’s important to write them down as well. Don’t ask me why but when I write things down they are more likely to happen then not. I’ve also created an easy to use worksheet that has you write down your goals, determine the cost, and develop the action steps needed to accomplish them.

Also if you need help determining what your goals should be in the first place check out this short 10 video series I put together a few years back on taking control of your finances. The video are supposed to be consumed daily and feature small actionable steps to take to gain control of your money. They were designed for the year 2015 but apply to any year you do them in.

But what if you are listening to this after the beginning of the year. Can you still use these strategies? Of course you can, goal setting can happen at any time! It’s easier at the beginning of the year as January 1 is a good starting point for a fresh start. But it doesn’t have to be a certain date, you can start your goal journey at any time.

Below are some more resources on goal setting

Today’s quote of the lesson is brought to you by Audible.com

“People with goals succeed because they know where they’re going” ~ Earl Nightingale

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