5 Steps to Setting Financial Goals
As Zig Ziglar, a motivational speaker, once said: "If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time."
Here's the thing: If you don't put a plan behind your finances, it will be incredibly difficult to do well with money.
If you want to happen to your money instead of having your money happen to you, it’s time to make some financial goals.
1. Write them down.
Something special happens when you put a pen to paper and write down your goals. You’re more likely to actually achieve them, too. So go ahead—make the commitment to yourself by putting them in writing. Then, stick them in your car, to your desk, or on your bathroom mirror. Keeping your goals where you can see them will keep you focused.
2. Make them specific.
You’re not just saying, “I want to be better with money.” That’s too vague. What you’re going for is, “I’m going to pay off $15,000 of my debt this year.”
3. Make them measurable.
If you want to pay $15,000 toward your debt in the next year, that means you have to pay $1,250 a month to reach that goal (or about $290 a week). Breaking your goals into bite-sized chunks will keep you motivated when you cross each microgoal off your list.
4. Give yourself a deadline.
Will you ever really reach your goals if they aren’t time-sensitive? Author Benny Lewis said, “There are seven days in a week, and ‘someday’ is not one of them.” Don’t be afraid to give yourself a finish line and adjust it later if needed.
5. Make sure they’re your own goals.
It’s easy to look around at what other people are doing and feel like you should be doing it too. But when we start comparing ourselves to other people, we’re playing a game we’ll never win. When you’re setting financial goals, make sure it’s the best choice for you. In other words, just because all your friends are taking out second mortgages for renovated kitchens doesn’t mean you should. Put the blinders on, focus on your lane, and cross your own finish line.