Tag Archives: goal setting

Reflections on 2014

What financial goals did you achieve in 2014?What a year it has been! If yours has been anything like mine, it’s been one of change, challenges and adventure. The highlight for me was the arrival of a baby girl in August. She has added yet another layer of love and logistics to the constant challenge of balancing life’s demands.

As the year draws to an end, this is a good opportunity to reflect on your achievements in 2014. It only takes a few minutes to take stock of life’s blessings—everything from the food in your fridge to the people you care about. What did you achieve? What did you learn? What are your goals for next year? Continue reading

Happy New Year! Time to set your goals for 2014.

MyBudget can help you achieve your financial goalsHappy New Year! As the current year draws to a close, it’s time to start focusing on your goals for 2014. What do you want to achieve with your finances next year? It’s an important question because without a destination in mind it can be easy to go nowhere.

Goal setting is a vital component to success in life as much as in personal finance. Goals provide us with focus, motivation and a blueprint for making our dreams come true. Continue reading

Happy Australia Day! Have you set your goals for 2013? (video blog)

Budgeting tips from Tammy MayWishing everyone a great Australia Day! I hope you’re looking forward to a fun, relaxing day with friends and family.

Have you set your goals for the year? In my January vlog I talk about achieving your financial goals in 2013 by establishing new habits. Don’t forget that we also have a Review and Planning Officer to help with goal setting. If you’re on top of your debts and bills and starting to wonder about future goals, the Review and Planning Officer can help you.

Tammy May’s January 2013 video log

20 tips for achieving your financial goals to get out of debt, save money and live your dreams

Bidgeting, money management, start saving, achieve your financial goalsOver the last few weeks, I’ve been writing about goal setting and how it applies to personal finance. Here’s a link to my articles on the importance of goal setting and a step-by-step guide to goal setting for money management.

So what are the keys to staying on target? Why do some people achieve so much with so little, while others never seem to get ahead?

Here are my top 20 tips to goal achievement. These principles have worked for me when it comes to money, work and life in general. I hope they work for you, too. They are in no particular order.

1.  Give yourself permission to be excited and passionate about your life and finances.

2.  Keep your goals somewhere you can see them regularly: on the fridge, behind the toilet door, in your office, taped to your bedside table…

3.  Create a symbol or talisman to represent your goals, and keep it close. This could be something as simple as a red dot stuck inside your wallet.

4.  If you’re frightened of failing, acknowledge the fear and do it anyway.

5.  Keep your goals to yourself if you think others would not respect or understand them.

6.  Visualise the outcome of your goals regularly. Feels good, doesn’t it?

7.  Take one step at a time. Break big goals into a series of smaller ones. One MyBudget client says she writes her big goals in the centre of a paper flower and the mini-goals on petals around the outside. Every time she completes a milestone, she gets to remove a petal!

8.  Stay positive. If you find yourself focusing on negative thoughts, spend 10 minutes writing down all the reasons you can achieve your goals.

9.  Do something goal-minded every day. (Bring your lunch from home, buy nothing new, walk instead of drive…)

10. Focus on the behaviours and actions (practical things) that will move you towards your goals.

11. Embrace change and learn from your mistakes.

12. Graciously accept assistance and advice from others if you think it could be helpful.

13. Graciously decline assistance and advice from others if you think it could be unhelpful.

14. Keep your goals simple. If they feel complicated, difficult or boring, redefine them.

15. Don’t let your goals become a monster. You control them; they don’t control you.

16. Balance your financial goals with other goals in life.

17. Adopt a warrior attitude. Fiercely defend your goals from the enemies of temptation and distraction.

18. Flow like a river. If an obstacle blocks your path, go around it, over it, under it.

19. Keep going. If you miss a milestone this week/month/year and stay focused, you’ll get it next time.

20. Call MyBudget and speak with our customer service team. We’re here to help!

Step-by-step guide to goal setting for money management

Money management, budgeting and goal setting to get out of debt and save moneyThe aim is that by the end of this five-step process, your goals (combined with your MyBudget budget) will represent a money map for the year ahead and beyond.

Step 1: Visualise your goals

What does your ideal life look like? Visualise where you’d like your money to take you and start jotting down some ideas. Does it include being debt-free? Perhaps there are places you’d like to visit, concerts you’d like to attend, sports or hobbies you’d like to try. You might see yourself driving a new car or a boat or renovating your home. Your dream could be to send your kids to a different school or take them on a holiday.

Think big and small. Your goals do not have to be long-term or complicated to be worthwhile. In fact, it’s important to have a mix of goals. This is your life and your financial goals are yours for the choosing!

Step 2: Get practical about your goals

      I.        Avoid goals that are unattainable

As you review your list, you’ll probably notice that some goals are going to take more effort and time than others. In goal setting language, those goals that are the hardest to achieve are called “stretch targets.” Stretch targets can be great for changing unwanted behaviours or breaking out of negative thought patterns, but having too many of them in your goal list can be demotivating. It’s better to have goals that are realistic and achievable.

    II.        Avoid goals that are too general

Goals need to be specific and actionable. For example, if your goal is to be debt-free, specify exactly which debts you’re going to reduce this year and by how much. If your goal is to have savings, specify how much you’re going to save and how often.

   III.        Avoid goals that are outside of your control

Avoid goals that rely on factors outside of your control (eg. winning the lottery). Focus only on outcomes you can directly influence by your own actions. For example, if your goal is to find a higher paying job, focus on the behaviours required to get the job you desire. You could rewrite your resume, send it to 20 top companies and follow-up with phone calls.

  IV.        Prioritise your goals in order of importance

Ask yourself: What goals can I start working towards immediately and what goals will have to wait? It would be nice to be able to achieve all of your goals simultaneously, but life isn’t like that.  The reality is that you have to attack your goals in order of priority.

    V.        Break big goals into smaller, more manageable goals

Big goals are great, but smaller goals are easier to measure and keep on track — and you get to celebrate achieving milestones more often! For example, if your goal is to save a $70,000 house deposit over the next seven years, break it into 28 three-month segments of $2,500.

Step 3: Write down your S.M.A.R.T. goals

What is a SMART goal? A SMART goal is one that is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. The idea behind a SMART goal is that it should capture the behaviours and actions that will lead to the outcome you desire.

  • S = Specific (What do I want to accomplish? Why? When? Who with?)
  • M = Measurable (What will the outcome look like when it’s complete? What are the milestones along the way?)
  • A = Attainable (Is this goal achievable/affordable?)
  • R = Relevant (Is this what I should be focusing on?)
  • T = Time-bound (How long will it take? What is the timeframe and target date?)

Examples:

General goal: To have savings in the bank.

SMART goal: I am saving $100 from each pay for my emergency fund. By the end of 2013, I will have $2,400 in my emergency sub account.

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General goal: To cut back my social spending after the New Year.

SMART goal: For January and February: I am taking my lunch to work three days a week; budgeting $80 a week for going out which I will pay myself in cash every Friday; going to after-work drinks only once a month; taking my credit card out of my wallet and using only cash.

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General goal: To save $70,000 for a home loan deposit

SMART goal: I am saving $420 per pay into my house deposit sub account so that within seven years I will have $70,000 to use as a loan deposit. This year’s milestones: $2,500 by April; $5,000 by July; $7,500 by October; $10,000 by Dec 31.

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 How many goals do you need?

The number of goals you set yourself is up to you. Some people will only write down their big goals, others will prefer to write down every little goal that comes to mind. Either approach is great.  The most important thing is to not let the goal setting process become overwhelming or so difficult that you give up.

Start with little victories and watch them add up

If you’ve been discouraged about goal setting in the past, keep it really simple this time. Pick just one small goal to start with — perhaps taking your lunch to work for a week. Remember that financial fitness is just like physical fitness – if your aim were to run a marathon, your first training sessions would be over shorter, more manageable distances.  The same principle applies to your money – little, regular steps will quickly add up. 

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 Step 4: Review your goals often

Review your goals regularly. Are you on track? Do you need to tweak your plan? Are you progressing faster than you expected? Are there obstacles you didn’t plan for?

It’s okay to make adjustments. Your plan needs to be flexible to accommodate life’s changes. You might get a pay rise that boosts your budget and shortens your timeframes. On the other hand, your car might need costly repairs that eat into your savings. The great thing about goal setting is that plans may change, but you still have a clear target to aim for.

Step 5: Recognise your achievements

As you’re setting your goals and milestones, give some thought to how you will reward yourself along the way. You deserve to feel happy, motivated and excited about your achievements. Make room in your budget for an affordable celebration every time you achieve a milestone.

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How to stay focused

Having a goals list will help you to resist distractions and overcome obstacles. It will also help you to stay focused if you think about your goals often. Keep your goals list somewhere you can read them once a day.

Need help with goal setting?

MyBudget clients are welcome to speak with MyBudget’s customer service team at any time about their financial goals.  Readers who are not MyBudget clients are welcome to attend a free budget consultation. We’re always here to help.

Lost in the money jungle? The importance of goal setting to get out of debt, save money and achieve your dreams.

Goal setting for money managementFor many people, money management feels like stumbling through a dark forest. They find themselves navigating without a map in unfamiliar territory. Part of the problem is that most people don’t have a clear destination in mind. With no specific purpose they might wander for years, covering a lot of ground but never really getting ahead. It’s a fact that only a small portion of the population live on a budget.

MyBudget clients know that budgeting cuts a clearer path through the money jungle. With a budget in place, you know where you’re heading and how you’re going to get there.

But even MyBudget clients can sometimes get distracted, especially when they find that their debts are being paid off more quickly than they expected. After years of struggling to make ends meet, they suddenly have savings and surplus funds to play with. What comes next? An investment property? A private school for the kids? Topping up super? An overseas holiday?

The solution is goal setting

Goal setting is a vital component to success in life as much as in personal finance. The statesman Henry Kissinger once said, “If you don’t know where you are going, every road will get you nowhere.”  Managing your money without specific goals is like going on a road trip without a destination. There’s a good chance that your route will be pitted with detours and back roads.

The benefits of goal setting

Goals provide focus. You move towards the things you focus on. Have you ever ridden a bicycle through an obstacle course? The surest way to collide with the witches hats is to focus on them. On the other hand, if you keep your head up and eyes focused on a point in the distance, you’ll find that you weave through the hats quite effortlessly. The same principle applies to your finances: you can let your focus wander or you can set your sights on a target.

Goals provide a map. The more specific a goal is, the more powerful it is. A goal should not only describe the endpoint, it should also detail how you will get there. Perhaps it’s your goal to buy a new car. That’s a great start, now get specific. What make and model is the car? How much does it cost? When will you buy the car? How much do you need to save from each pay packet?

That’s not to say that your plan can’t be flexible. Your old car may break down and need costly repairs or your best friend may invite you to their wedding in Fiji. That’s ok — plans can be adjusted to move with life. The plan may change, but the goal remains the same!

Goals keep you motivated. Problems, challenges and distractions are inevitable, but they’re much easier to overcome when you have a goal to focus on. Sacrifices feel less painful, temptations are less attractive, and obstacles shrink in the face of focus and determination.

Goals turn ideas into action. When you commit to a goal and decide on a course of action to achieve it, it’s like hoisting a sail into the wind. You’ll be surprised by how quickly you start achieving your goals once you get set your mind to it.

Let’s get started…

Visualisation exercise: What does your ideal life look like? Visualise where you’d like your money to take you and start jotting down some notes.

Does it include being debt-free? Perhaps there are places you’d like to visit, concerts you’d like to attend, sports or hobbies you’d like to be involved in. Maybe you see yourself owning a car, or a boat or renovating your home. You might want to send your kids to a different school or take them on a holiday.

Think big and small. Your goals do not have to be grand or complicated to be worthwhile. In fact, it’s important to have a mix of big and small goals.

This is your life and your financial destinations are yours for the choosing!

Start thinking about where you’d like your money to take you and next week we’ll get into the nitty-gritty with a step-by-step guide to goal setting.

Time of year to reflect and appreciate (video blog)

Tammy May's December 2012 vlog: Reflect on your 2012 achievementsIn my December vlog I talk about reflecting on your achievements in 2012 and setting your sights towards new goals in 2013. Even if you’ve only recently joined MyBudget, that’s a huge achievement in itself. Deciding to take control of your money is an excellent accomplishment.

Tammy May’s December 2012 video log

 

 

 

2012 is your year to kick goals… Talk to our new Review & Planning Officer!

 

Goal Setting Action Plan

What will you do with the extra funds as your debts are paid off?

Save for a house? A holiday? Pay down other loans? Top up your super? Enrol in a training course?

This important question is the reason we’ve created a new staff position at MyBudget: Review & Planning Officer. The Review & Planning Officer’s role is to monitor final payments as clients pay off their debts and help them to reassess their financial goals for the future.

Why is financial goal setting important?

Goal setting is a vital key to success in budgeting, as much as it is to life in general. You may have heard it said that the shortest path between two objects is a straight line. Yet when it comes to managing money, many people take the long way and only a few reach their preferred destination.

Part of the problem is that most people don’t have a clear destination in mind. Their financial goals are positive, but vague: To get out of debt, to save money, to cut back on expenses, to live comfortably.

Specific financial goals are more effective

When goals are specific, however, it’s much easier to create a plan. Your budget becomes a roadmap that plots exactly how you intend to get to your destination.

A specific goal outlines your purpose, details and timeframe—eg. “I will save $250 a month from January to December 2012 so that by the end of the year I will have $3,000 in savings to pay for my February 2013 holiday in Fiji.”

Goals provide long-term vision and short-term motivation. Sacrifices become bearable—even enjoyable!—when we have a goal to look forward to.

What are your financial goals for 2012?

Try setting small goals to start with. It may be as simple as saving to go to a concert. If the concert is in three months’ time and the ticket will cost $60, you’ll need to save $20 a month. Perhaps you’ll need to cut back on a few expenses, but obstacles are much easier to overcome when there’s a reward at the end.

It’s also important that your goals are realistic and that you have control over the outcome. Setting a goal to win the lottery, for example, is unfortunately not very realistic and not within your control. But saving for a holiday—or whatever else you have in mind—might be.

It’s your life, your money and your goals!

Contact the Review & Planning Officer

When you’re ready to reassess your financial goals, contact Customer Service and ask to speak with the Review & Planning Officer. We’re always here to help!

 

Reflect on your achievements & priorities

Tammy May Says 2012 is About Goal SettingAs 2011 draws to a close, I want to congratulate each and every MyBudget client for swimming against the debt current. The fallout from the world debt crisis will continue next year, but you are already taking control of your finances.

Reflect on your achievements over the past 12 months. Even if you’ve only just joined MyBudget, taking that first step is a huge accomplishment. Give yourself the praise you deserve.

As we approach 2012, think of your budget as a roadmap and ask yourself where you would like it to take you. Perhaps debt reduction is still your priority. But as you reduce your debt you may find that your financial priorities change.

This is the time to think about those priorities and to set your goals for the New Year. Where do you want your money to take you in 2012 and beyond? Whether they are big or small, take some time over the coming days to write down your financial goals.

If you would like help with goal setting, contact our new Review & Planning Officer. Review & Planning is just one extra service we were proud to introduce in 2011 and we promise to continue extending our support services throughout 2012.

From my family to yours, I wish you prosperity, happiness and riches beyond money for the coming year!