If you didn’t meet your financial goals last year, guess what? You’re not alone. This time of year, LOTS of people go through the same gut-wrenching process of reviewing their goals and realizing they came up a little bit short. Just breathe, and get ready to make a better plan.
WHY wasn’t that goal achieved?
Figuring out why you didn’t achieve something starts with defining the goal itself. Maybe your goal was too heavily dependent on things OUTSIDE of your control.
Take these goals, for example:
- Get a promotion – Moderately out of your control
- Get a raise – Moderately out of your control
- Get a new job – Moderately out of your control
- Save 20% of your income – Entirely within your control
- Same goal, but you had a serious medical emergency – Totally out of your control
- Get Famous – Again, TOTALLY out of your control
What about the things you COULD have done, but didn’t?
You can probably rattle off a laundry list of reasons why certain goals weren’t met, but they usually boil down to these three areas:
- You got too busy
- You got distracted
- Your willpower said “bye bye”
It is important to be able to take personal responsibility for our own shortcomings, but just feeling guilty is a waste. No good fruit comes of it. Your energy and time are better spent focusing on committing to new actions.
SO, how do I make 2016 different?
- WRITE IT DOWN. OFTEN.
Take the information OUT of your brain, and put it in the real world. Take ten to twenty minutes to make a picture of what your current finances actually look like. Cash on one side, and Debts on the other. NOTHING fancy. You can’t figure out where to go, if you have no idea where you are now. That’s why maps exist.
DON’T make this a one time thing. DO THIS WEEKLY. Maybe monthly. This will keep you focused and consistently affirming that “YES, this is something I still want”.
- TELL SOMEONE. OFTEN.
The most beneficial tactic we know of is to speak the goals OUT LOUD to somebody else. Ideally, more than one somebody else. You NEED an accountability partner. Period. Full stop. Not only will talking about the goal make it more “real”, but hopefully people will help you see if your goals are realistic. Utilize the strengths of those who are close to you. Humans are NOT designed to act alone.
If you have a spouse or a significant other, that can be a good place to start. But, don’t just stop with them, the MORE people you tell, the more likely you will make it happen.
Here are a few ideas:
- Business partners
- Colleagues or peers in your industry
- Close Friends
- Family Members
- Financial Planner (obviously!)
3. Define what you will GIVE UP in exchange for that goal.
Free time and resources don’t just show up. Time and money are limited for everyone. You CANNOT do all the things all the time. There’s 24 hours in each day. But, with planning, you CAN get the things you really want.
So, what is going to give? Your daily lattes? Your Netflix binges? Those new jeans? That music festival ticket? Nights out with friends?
What is your goal worth MORE than?
Answering that is absolutely key to your success. That way, when achieving that goal is on the line YOU have already decided how to make room for it. BOOM.
We are so thrilled for the 2016 ahead of us here at The Art of Finance. Make sure you like our page on Facebook if you haven’t yet! You can find us here. We’re constantly striving to make our free content more relevant and more helpful.
Drop us a line any time! We always love to hear from you. : )
The Art of Finance
Philip and Julia Olson