Tuesday, 9 December 2014

How to achieve your goals in 2015

And it's that time of year already.  This is the time you should start setting your goals for 2015.  Leave it any later and the holiday season and holiday mood will over-take you and you will get nothing done.  Leave it until next year and you're already behind the 8-ball.

I think when you set your goals you should make sure that
  1. They are written down
  2. They are achievable / realistic (but not too easy - they should be a challenge)
  3. They have a set time frame
  4. You have a plan to achieve these goals
Note that these don't only apply to financial goals - I talk about financial goals on this blog because that's what this blog is about but I do this for every goal I set for the year.  

Make sure you write your goals down

How many times have you made a new years resolution at a party on new years eve or perhaps the next day or week and then have forgotten about it?  Maybe it was to lose a few kg or perhaps it was to pay off some debt?

It's too easy to forget a goal and not hold yourself accountable if you don't write your goals down.  So write them down.  Start a blog if you want to and track your progress towards your goal (that's what I did with this blog!).  Or just keep it simple and write them on a piece of paper.  I wrote mine in a little notebook I keep on my desk.  For 2014 it had 8 goals (of which I managed to achieve 5 and get awfully close on 1).

Make your goals achievable...but challenging

Having achievable goals is
the best way of keeping yourself motivated.  That being said having goals that are too easy will not have you stretching to achieve.  Have a goal that is definitely achievable but requires real effort.  You will be both motivated and will hopefully achieved more than you possibly could.

So what happens if your goals are too big?

What if you want to set one of those goals that looks incredibly hard (or close to impossible)?  My usual tactic in this situation is to break the goal down into smaller parts.  Have monthly goals and targets which are achievable and which should get you to where you want to be.

For example if you set yourself the goal to buy a house but have no savings and no deposit...how do you get there?  You need to remember "achievable but challenging".  So the first thing you need is a deposit.  If your take home wage is $50,000 per year can you save $30,000 this year for a deposit?  Saving 60% of your wage is incredibly challenging...but definitely achievable!

Start breaking it down.  $30,000 is $2,500 per month.  Where can you cut out unnecessary things to make sure you're putting away that $2,500 each month?

I do this kind of thing all the time.  I want to have a net worth of $90 million dollars.  That is a super long term goal but I break it down every year.  In 2014 I wanted to hit $600,000.  It doesn't look like I'm going to quite there but I got awfully close.  Remember to break your goals down and watch them become more achievable.

Your goals need to have a time frame attached to them

Goals with no time frame remain nothing but wishes because there is no impetus to go and get things done.  You have to attach a time frame to every goal you set.  Although these are new years goals, not all of my goals will have a one year time frame.

For example when I set my goal last year to save for a wedding I knew that it would not be within the year...but it was not going to be 3 years away either.  I set my time frame which allowed me to get on with my plan to achieve this goal.

If your goals have a time frame it forces you to have a plan to achieve this goal.

What is your plan to achieve your goal?

So you have your goal - you've written it down and stuck it on a wall somewhere.  It's a stretch but it's still achievable, you've broken it down into bite size pieces and have a specific time frame attached to it.  So what's next?

Make a plan to achieve your goal.  Have short term objectives and longer term objectives.  Work out what you can do each day or each week to bring you closer to your goal.  You need to have actionable steps at each point in your plan - things you can do to keep you moving along in the right direction...and then start to implement your plan!

That's SO much effort!

Yes.  If you're going to set a goal, have a good go at actually achieving it.  It doesn't matter whether your goal is financial or personal.  If you go through each of these steps (and some of them take real time, effort and preparation) you're much likely to get to your goal than if you don't think about and plan your efforts.

Good luck and start your 2015 goal planning today!

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