Keeping yourself motivated on this everchanging financial journey can be challenging at times. Life demands, family obligations, and so many competing priorities can quickly push this essential necessity to the very last item on your to-do list. Emotions like fear, self-doubt, and sheer confusion create an environment that can make you want to avoid refining your financial goals altogether. Use these tips to help you to finish the year stronger than you began. They will help to ensure you’re being proactive while remaining optimistic.
Re-define your goals
Derailing on your financial journey happens. Unexpected expenses occur, emotionally charged purchases happen and we lose the initial steam we once had. Dedicate some much-needed time to review the goals you created previously. Do these goals still apply? Are they tangible? Do they need to be revised or broken into small goals? While everything can be done on a smartphone, tablet or computer – create a financial goals notebook. This way, everything is included and captured over time. You have the ability to review and track your progress while also have timestamps of when these goals were created. You can also have digital versions of this for when you’re on the go.
Break larger goals into smaller wins
Generally, we experience a feeling of euphoria when setting our yearly financial goals. We have a tendency to set some pretty lofty goals (which isn’t a bad thing), but we often disregard the struggles and challenges that come with the execution phase. Because of this, we begin to doubt our abilities and talk ourselves out of the very thing we were so excited to achieve. Why? The initially set goal needs to be broken down into digestible pieces. This doesn’t mean we’re incapable of them. The key here is we need to be at ease with ourselves, go at a pace that’s sustainable, and breakdown down the goals in different phases.
For example, let’s say you want to end the year with a particular amount of money in your savings account or investment portfolio. Create a monthly savings plan that will break this goal into a consistent line item in your budget versus one lump sum. Celebrate yourself as you attain this monthly goal by picking up your favorite cup of coffee from a local shop or picking up a treat from your favorite bakery. Every month, this will energize you to continue to push forward, bringing your financial goal from ideation right into fulfillment.
Create a vision board
Breaking your goals into smaller wins serves as the “what” while creating a vision board ultimately serves as your “why”. This interactive exercise will help you dedicate time and effort to using pictures, phrases, shapes, and words to bring your financial vision front and center. This doesn’t have to be created in a single day; it can also be broken down over a few days or one week. Once it’s completed, make sure it can be seen in plain sight every single day. This can be in your office, on the fridge, or anywhere that’s most convenient for you. Anytime you feel yourself getting discouraged, take a minute to look over it – this serves as a boost to remind you of what you’re actively working toward.
Anticipate distractions and resolve them quickly
Distractions are inevitable on this winding financial journey and it’s important to identify ways to address them beforehand. What’s the best way to handle these situations? How can we set ourselves up for success and mitigate risks along the way? Let’s use unexpected expenses as an example. In order to maintain your budget and sanity, set up an account to take care of these unforeseen expenses. Enter a specific amount every pay period – this way your savings and emergency funds remain untouched. Your goals aren’t in jeopardy and your proactiveness is protecting them.
Have an accountability partner
Accountability partners are essential in providing us thoughtful and encouraging words when we can’t find the inner strength ourselves. In order to feel like you’re not alone, rally the assistance of your family or friends that can help you stay on track. If this isn’t an option, search for virtual finance groups online or via social media where you can candidly share your experiences while helping someone else along the way. A lot of times we believe we’re on this isolated island with us and our goals – when in actuality, that’s so far from the truth. If you need to take it a step further, consider using a financial advisor to help you sort through your financial goals. Most times, we are our own worst critics. Sharing this information with someone else can not only be therapeutic, it provides a sounding board for you.
Commit to working on your plan
As we all know, the process of creating goals can be relatively simple; the challenges rear their ugly heads during execution. In order to make sure you not only start but finish – commit yourself to achieving your financial goals. We understand things happen outside of our control. Life will throw some curveballs that we can’t always intercept. We will miss the mark at times. The key isn’t to dwell on what didn’t work or what we didn’t finish, it’s to understand the importance of pivoting. Redirecting yourself as things happen not only alleviates pressure and anxiety, but also shows you that you’re much more financially resilient than you believe.
Not only is it important to maintain a budget, it’s imperative to stick with it and redefine it as needed. Having financial goals are also essential, but actually working toward them is so much more rewarding. Dedicate time every week (or whatever cadence works best for you) to review your goals. Are you on track? In what ways can you improve? How can you create a fun experience? Having regular check-ins sound like another item on your growing to-do list, but you’ll feel so much more confident in your abilities when reviewing this information regularly.