Setting and achieving goals is important in all areas of your life, whether financial or not. The challenge is not so much in creating goals but actually fulfilling them. Whether it’s a New Year’s resolution or a random Tuesday, starting on the path of a new goal is much easier than making the trek to the end.
That’s why understanding how to create actionable goals and develop the plans necessary to achieve them are so crucial. Let’s review how you can increase your chances of success by tweaking your goal-setting process.
Define Your Goals
When it comes to creating goals, you must be specific. It isn’t enough to say you want to lose weight or save more money. The more detailed you can be, the better. Including a deadline can help motivate you further by adding a sense of urgency to your efforts.
Consider goals such as the following:
- “I will save $1,200 by November 1st for my emergency fund.”
- “I will lose 15 pounds by March 15th.”
- “I will take one night class in the fall semester to work toward my advanced degree.”
By creating specific goals, planning how to achieve those goals becomes much easier.
Create a Plan for Accomplishing Your Goals
Once you have defined your goal, work backward to create an actionable plan to achieve it. If your goal is to lose 15 pounds in two months, that works out to nearly two pounds per week. Your plan may consist of calorie counting, defining specific exercise routines, or a combination of several tasks.
When creating your plan, it’s important to make sure it’s realistic. If your goal is to lose 30 pounds in three weeks, you’ll likely be met with disappointment. The same holds true for any goal you’re trying to accomplish. Your plan should be actionable, meaning it’s capable of producing the desired result if followed correctly.
Eliminate Bad Habits and Distractions
Too often, the perfect plan is forced off track by the very habits we’re trying to break. The best way to deal with these habits and distractions is first to identify them and understand how they are triggered. Then, create a plan ahead of time on how to deal with the situation when it arises.
If your goal is to save $100 each month and you often shop online out of boredom, try deleting your favorite shopping apps. Or, if you routinely go out with your friends for dinner on the weekend, ask if they’d switch it up and come to your house instead. A little preparation can go a long way when it comes to overcoming obstacles.
Learn to Manage Your Time
Make your goals a priority. One of the easiest ways to do this is by scheduling specific times on your calendar to manage your goals. Treat these entries the same as you would any other appointment.
Whether it’s scheduling 30 minutes to exercise at 5:30 pm three times a week or making a transfer to your savings account on the 15th of each month, it becomes more official when it’s logged in your calendar.
Affirmations are a great way to keep you focused on your goals and help you get back on track if needed. Oftentimes, simply asking yourself, “Will this help me get closer to my goal?” before you indulge in a meal, spend extra money, or skip a workout session, will realign you with your plan.
Learn from Your Mistakes
Mistakes happen. Everyone messes up. Allow yourself the grace to get back up and keep moving forward. It’s more important to learn from the experience and try to use the lesson to avoid making the same mistakes in the future.
Your target is progress, not perfection.
We’re Here to Help!
Goals are important at all stages in life. Whether you’re saving for college or buying your first house, we’re ready to help. From savings accounts and automatic transfers to budgeting tools and financial calculators, you’ll discover various resources available at the credit union to achieve financial success.
Please give us a call at 202-479-2270 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how we can help you today.