What are your money goals for the New Year? If you haven’t set any yet, it’s time to sit down and make some serious decisions about how you want to spend, save, or invest your money in 2017.
If you don’t make these decisions now, it will be much harder to maintain your financial fitness in the coming year, because you’ll have no target in mind with which to aim. Once you decide on your target, however, it will be much easier to stay focused on the path toward achieving your financial goals this year. So what should these targets be?
Create a Plan
The first step in making your money dreams a reality is to set goals. Some people—myself included—like using an app like Tally or Google Drive/Docs as a place to write out goals, while others prefer writing them down on paper.
But if you’re serious about getting your financial life on track, it’s time to get serious about setting and meeting monetary benchmarks.
Track and Report on Progress
Once you’ve set your goals, it’s important to track how you are doing. To make a goal truly successful, you have to be honest with yourself about how you’re progressing toward achieving that goal. If you need help getting started tracking your progress, there are many apps and tools available that can help.
But just remember: there is no point in setting a money goal if you aren’t going to be honest with yourself about whether or not you meet your target!
If you’re staying on track with your financial goals, give yourself a pat on the back—and some rewards. Treat yourself to new clothes, a manicure, or an afternoon at your favorite restaurant.
A little self-indulgence goes a long way toward helping you keep those resolutions and can strengthen your willpower over time. Just make sure that when you do give yourself something nice, it aligns with your financial priorities and is worth its cost in effort or money.
Keep it Simple
Our New Year’s resolutions are often too complicated, with things like losing 20 pounds by running three miles every day after work. Make your goals more realistic, such as workout once a week and cutting back on fast food twice a week.
Once you achieve these smaller goals, it will be easier to stick with them and set new ones each year.
Share your financial plan with others
Many of us don’t discuss our finances with friends and family—we think it’s a sign of weakness or incompetence. But it turns out that talking about your money can help you manage it more effectively; discussing your goals, progress, and challenges with others can not only help you stay motivated but also learn from others.