Best Practices to Achieve Financial Goals in 2019

We are now well into 2019 and everyone’s thoughts turn to new beginnings and setting goals for work, family and personal development. The idea of setting New Year’s “resolutions” has become a bit passé. These promises to yourself often fall by the wayside before the end of January! So instead of resolutions, why not reframe our goals as “best practices”.

Be specific about what you want to achieve. It’s one thing to say something like, “I want to make more money” but you need to be very specific in order to make your goals more tangible and actionable. Exactly how much more money do you want to make? An extra $500 per month? You may need to do overtime or take on a part-time job. Being specific will help you to determine how much work you need to do in order to reach your goal.

Have a measurable strategy. It’s been said that “a goal without a plan is just a wish”. It’s important to determine all the steps to get you from A to B. If your goal is to save money, create a plan for how much you want to save each week or month and determine what changes need to be made to your current habits. For example, instead of going to a restaurant once a week, get takeout food instead. It costs less, and there is no additional cost for a tip!

Set a reasonable timeframe. Changes can be uncomfortable, so make sure you pace yourself and allow enough time to reach your goal. If you want to buy a new car, for example, figure out how much you can afford to save each month then work forward to see how long it will take to have a down payment. No need to rush – do whatever you can handle.

Make your goals realistic. We all have lofty dreams of having luxury cars and big beautiful homes. Who doesn’t!  As described in the timeframe reference above, make sure not to overextend yourself in your ability to save or make more money. Setting goals that are too lofty and too hasty will result in setbacks and frustration, which could cause you to get discouraged and throw in the towel.

Set measurable goals.  Being able to quantify your progress is the best motivator of all. When you set specific dollar amounts to your goals, you can track how well you are doing and determine if you need to make adjustments. You may be surprised and find out that you could be saving even more. When the numbers start to increase, it’s positively addictive!