Did you know that setting goals can be as fun as chasing rainbows?✨When a new year starts a lot of people look for a new start, especially as it pertains to financial goals. It’s important to remember that goals aren't just about reaching an endpoint; they're about embracing the process and growing along the way.
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Here are 3 simple steps for setting financial goals for the new year:
Step 1: Evaluate the past year
Take a look at how your past year went and what areas need some extra attention this year. I know it is already February, but it is never too late!
The following questions may help to guide you in evaluating and as you start to set financial goals:
- What unexpected expenses did I have last year?
- What expenditures did I have an opportunity to pass on due to financial limits?
- How comfortable was I with my take-home pay?
- How is my savings account doing today?
These four questions can give you an indication of your financial health. If you feel comfortable with the answers to all these questions, then you’re likely in a good place. And, if that’s the case, you can begin to consider ways to potentially grow your business/wealth in the new year.
However, if you weren’t comfortable with the answers to these questions, then calculated risk-taking should be put on pause, and it’s time to revamp your current practices.
If revamping your budget/business is what’s needed, then ask yourself the following:
- How organized are my budgeting practices? Am I tracking every dollar in and every dollar out, or do I need to change the way I budget?
- What am I spending money on right now that’s not having a direct impact on my ability to reach my goals?
- Where am I saying “yes” right now, when I should be saying “not yet?"
This process takes some personal integrity and may be challenging, but you’ll be better prepared for the new year as a result.
Step 2: Set financial goals for next year
Set a time to review the financial/business goals you had for the prior year. Didn’t set any? Now’s a good time to get into the habit.
Good goals are specific, measurable, achievable (attainable), and relevant.
If you did set financial/business goals for the past year, review them one by one. If you met the goal, that’s great! Ask yourself what helped you succeed in that goal, and how you can replicate it going into the current year.
If you didn’t meet your goal, that’s OK, cut yourself some slack! And then think about what prevented you from successfully meeting that goal. Was it not achievable, or overly ambitious? Did you not give yourself enough time? What goals have you set and met in each area? What goals are moving slow and need to grow?
Step 3: Make plans to meet your financial/business goals
So, we’ve evaluated our financial practices and our goals. Now we get to pull it all together to reach the new goals we’re setting for ourselves, and see what areas need adjusting in order for us to meet them.
As part of your review of the past year, identify your mistakes as well as your successes. And to avoid repeating the same mistakes in the current year, strategize ways you can handle your money differently.
As part of your review of last year’s goals and setting new ones, make sure you’re setting yourself up for success. Go over your goals again and make sure they’re attainable goals, and adjust where they aren’t.
If you find you consistently have trouble meeting attainable goals, there are other things you can do to work through it, like connecting with an advisor or mentor.
Set regular appointments with yourself to check in with your plan and goals. When you have that meeting regularly throughout the year, you’ll be able to course-correct more often, rather than leaving it all for the end of the year.