With another year winding down and another one on its way, many people are making resolutions and setting goals for the new year. It’s a good time to look back, look forward, and then bring both together.
- How well were you able to stick to your financial goals from last year?
- What helped you reach your goals/went well? (i.e. getting a raise, giving yourself a set grocery budget every week)
- What were some challenges? (i.e. medical emergency, spending too much on clothes)
Did you make any goals last year? Before creating any new plans, revisit your goals from last year. Were you able to stick to them? If not, what happened that derailed you? Be honest with yourself when looking over last year, because this will help you in creating realistic and attainable goals in the upcoming year. It’s also important to take time to celebrate what worked and progress you did make. (A lot of people forget this equally important step!)
If you didn’t make any finance related resolutions last year, you can still reflect on how the year went for you financially in general. Give yourself a 10 minute limit and write down everything that went well, and do the same for what went not so well. By giving yourself time to think (and a time limit), you’ll come up with things you never thought of. If you’re not a writer, consider audio recording yourself.
Once you’ve done a review of your year, it’s time to start thinking about the year to come.
- What plans do you have in the next year?
- How do you plan to meet your goals this year?
- How often will you “check-in” and assess progress?
Seems simple, right? Give yourself ten minutes to brainstorm all the things you’d want to do, both practical and fun, then look at your list and pick 2-3 things that are most important.
Bringing It Together
In order to make a resolution that sticks, you need to pick the destination AND plan how you’ll get there. In other words, it’s time to bring the two together. Earlier this year, we discussed creating SMART goals in our Financial Cleanse post.
For example, if one of the big issues for you last year was an unexpected expense, perhaps one of your goals for the upcoming year is to build an emergency fund. Now, how do you plan to get from A to B? Is it by opening a new savings account and depositing a set amount of money in it every month? Or perhaps you plan to set aside $2 a day in a “piggy bank” to start. As you can see there are multiple ways you can meet any goal, the key is finding the one that works best for you (and that you’ll be able to stick to).
That’s why establishing the progress check-ins are important. If in April/May you realize you’ve been forgetting to put your $2 aside every day, maybe it’s a better idea to switch to something less infrequent and more automatic. In other words: change your approach, but don’t give up on the goal itself.
If you need some help getting started on these resolutions, here are some of our past blog posts that are worth revisiting:
And if we can at all help you reach your financial goals in the coming year, please contact us and let’s get started!