In our last post we discussed the Seven P’s of Goal Development and how they correlate to achieving your financial goals. Today, we continue examining Goal Development and its importance in structuring a plan to obtain your aspirations.
Short-term goals are those that can generally be accomplished in under 12 months. Anything longer can be considered a long-term goal. But while categorizing your goal in this way is necessary, it is more important that you develop the order in which you would prefer to achieve them. This allows you to avoid feeling overwhelmed when you have multiple goals and helps you focus your attention on the most important ones.
In order to meet the goals you have set, you need to be prepared. To do so, you should ask yourself some questions:
• Why is this goal important to me/my family?
• How much money will I need to reach this goal?
• Will this fit comfortably into my Spending Plan?
• Have I established a realistic timeframe for reaching my goal?
• What additional information do I need to achieve this goal?
• What help, assistance, or collaboration do I need?
• What financial obstacles could block my progress?
A good way to help prepare yourself to accomplish your goals is to create a “Goal Book.” Commit one page to each goal that you set. Write out the questions listed above, along with your answers for each. This will help you to better visualize your goal and help you to determine how plausible each will be to attain. If you find it helpful, place a picture of your goal on the page as a way to “own” it. You can also track the financial progress you make toward completing your goal on its designated page. For example, if the couch you were looking to purchase costs $1,000 and you commit $25 of each paycheck toward its purchase, write down each deposit and subtract it from the total price. Remember, achieving your goals can be very empowering. Your self-confidence should get a boost every time you review your progress.
Always remain positive about achieving your objective. You will reach your goals; it is simply a matter of time. Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet that “there is nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so.” The author knew that attitude is everything. Sure, you may face challenges on your way to reach your goals, but oftentimes that is all they are – mere obstacles that you must rise above to reach your destination. Maintaining a positive thought process will help you overcome adversity, not just in accomplishing your home improvement goals, but also in many other aspects of your life.
Anything worth having is worth working for. Each goal you set is important to you, and the passion that drives you toward the fulfillment of that goal is important, too. Just imagine how you are going to feel when the goal is finally reached. A sense of accomplishment is one of the most powerful feelings that a person can have.
Always keep the achievement of each goal in mind. If you ever find your motivation weakening, go to your “Goal Book” and read the pages you have dedicated to each of your goals. It should re-ignite your passion for achievement and provide you with the energy and attitude lift you need to persevere.
At times, individuals can lose their enthusiasm for reaching goals that are far off in the future. To help maintain a positive outlook, establish financial milestones for each of the goals that you have. For instance, if your intention is to set aside $1,000 for a couch you are looking to buy in eight months’ time, check yourself at each monthly milestone to be sure you are on track. Periodically acknowledging your progress will help keep you moving forward.
No matter how much we wish it were otherwise, one of the few constants in life is change. Such unpredictability invariably leads to the development of additional goals. That is why it is important to revisit your objectives regularly. Not only can you review your progress, you can examine the appropriateness of your goal to your changing circumstances.
Also, remember that life happens. Things may come along that temporarily prevent you from reaching your goals, but it is important to get right back on track as soon as you can. By developing a solid Spending Plan, establishing an Emergency Fund, and remaining committed to your goals, you can live a happy and rewarding life.
For more information, or to speak with a certified credit counselor please contact Cambridge Credit Counseling at 800-897-2200 or www.cambridgecredit.org.