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How to set and keep monetary goals

June 01, 2014

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“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.”
                                                                            – Tony Robbins

Make a list of your dreams. What do you really want? You might think this is pointless, yet it is an important step in getting your finances in order. Until you know what you want, how can you hope to achieve it?

Write it down! Really. If you put your resolutions in writing, you are much more likely to succeed. Many people learn more and respond better to the written word.

Be specific in your list. “Making more money” is vague. Instead, say, “I want to increase my income by $10,000 next year.” An impossible amount? There are many ways it would be possible for almost everyone. Another goal: pay off your mortgage in 10 years? 

Set your goal. Be as specific as possible. The more focused you are, the better you can apply yourself to reach it. Then break your goal down into detailed steps. To increase your income, you could either make more money or spend less of what you currently make. Decide which path you will take, or if you will do a little of both.

Break your major goals into smaller, doable tasks. “I will become a millionaire this year” is an admirable ambition, but it may become overwhelming and cause you to quit.

What specific steps will you have to take to reach your goals? Will you increase your worth by furthering your education or learning a specialized skill? Will you increase your hours to bring home more pay? How much will it take to pay off your mortgage early?

Make a timetable with detailed “mini-goals.” Break them into daily, weekly or monthly strategies that you know you can accomplish. Whatever works best for you and fits into your schedule is the ideal map for success. Then start taking the steps to achieve those dreams.

Picture the reward. When you begin a diet or exercise regime, you have a goal or incentive in mind. For some, it may be fitting into that slinky red dress, losing a beer belly or simply gaining a healthier, stronger body. Imagine what your life will be like when you accomplish your monetary goals. Without a mortgage payment, you will have the extra money to pursue other dreams, like traveling around the world or building a summer home.

Things are starting to look up! You have met some initial goals and are on the way to accomplish more. Take a moment to savor your success. Uh oh! Later, a glitch shows up in your careful plans. Maybe an unexpected bill arrives or your water heater starts leaking. Don’t throw in the towel – although you might be able to use it for the water heater. Stick to your plan. And stay flexible to more easily meet your objective. Also, tell someone about your goals. That makes you accountable. Plus, the ongoing help of a trusted friend or loved one can spur you on to keep working toward realizing your goals.