Stay motivated and keep pushing on with your 2019 financial goals.
Once the dust has settled from New Year’s eve – and our headaches recede – many of us sit down to put pen to paper and make grand plans for the year ahead. By March, too often these ambitious lists have been resigned to the dust heap of time… until the next New Year’s Day. Most likely your list included at least a few money goals – in addition to hitting the gym more or maybe finding true love. Perhaps you want to pay off debt faster or start adulting with money? Whatever wins you’re chasing, here’s how to stay positive and focused all year long. That way, when the New Year rolls around again, you’ll really have something to celebrate.
#1 Smash all obstacles
According to research by psychologists at the University of Virginia, there’s a good reason we like making New Year’s resolutions. When we think about a date in the future we indulge in a bit of magical thinking, whereby the obstacles that get in our way now cease to exist. So, while it may motivate us to set our goals on an auspicious date, we need to also put a plan in place to reduce hurdles. Say you know that impulsive payday spending is getting in the way of your savings goals – set up an automatic deduction into a separate savings account that coincides with when you get paid.
#2 Make your goals more meaningful
Many of us fall into the trap of setting goals we think we “should” achieve but which don’t really light us up inside. Without passion and purpose, it’s tough to put in the hard yards to kick goals consistently. Saving money is great but ask yourself how it aligns with your deeper values? Will it further your education so that you can launch your dream career? Or maybe your true focus is on building more security for your family? Do some inner digging to work out what goals really inspire you and then ditch those that don’t.
#3 Break it down
No doubt you already know about SMART goals; that is, goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. But what does that mean in practice? “Save a home deposit” may feel like an impossible task – especially in Australia’s very expensive capital cities – but saving $6000 a year or $500 a month or $250 each fortnight starts to make it feel real. Reward yourself for hitting mini milestones along the way to stay motivated. Hit your quarterly savings target? Treat yourself to that massage, new shoes or big night out – you deserve it.
#4 Set yourself up for success
In his best-selling book, Atomic Habits2, habits guru James Clear outlines some smart strategies for building better habits that can help you smash your goals while banishing behaviours that get in your way. Clear suggests redesigning your environment to decrease cues for bad habits and increase them for positive ones. Maybe you want to stop spending so much money on takeout. Delete Uber Eats from your phone and throw away those restaurant flyers. Spending too much on electronics? Stop reading tech reviews and unsubscribe from tempting brand emails. At the same time, begin using a budgeting app that tracks your spending by category and alerts you when you’ve hit your spending limit.
#5 Make sure you’re credit fit
Knowing you’re on top of your finances and constantly improving your situation is key to staying motivated and identifying where you could be doing better. Your credit score is usually a key part of your financial health and success, so it’s important to know where you stand. Make it a goal to give yourself a credit health check and tackle areas that will help improve your credit score. A healthy credit score helps you kick important life goals such as buying a home or investment property or securing business or personal loans.
Get Credit Score offers a range of ways to manage and improve your credit score. Find out more today.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Therefore, you should consider whether the information is appropriate to your circumstance before acting on it, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a finance professional such as an adviser.
Converse, B and Hennecke M. Next Week, Next Month, Next Year: How Perceived Temporal Boundaries Affect Initiation Expectations. December 2016. Social Psychological and Personality Science https://osf.io/wehbq/
2 Clear, J. Atomic Habits. 2018. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. Penguin Random House LLC.