It's that time of year again, when we want to start fresh and new. Before diving right in with a new spreadsheet and setting financial goals, as part of your new years resolutions, it pays to take some time to reflect and ask yourself some questions.
The success and milestones you reached in 2017 are learning experiences that can help you when you begin to set goals for 2018.
What Went Right:
- What went well with your finances last year?
- What actions did you take to succeed?
- Did you pay down debt?
- Did you increase savings?
- Did you make a major purchase or pay for an event with cash?
- Did you stick to your budget plan?
- Did you overcome any financial obstacles?
Once you list what went right, think about areas where you may have come up short, or need to improve.
Things to Consider
- What could have gone better?
- Where are the areas for improvement?
- What held you back?
- What changes can you make?
- Is your savings where you wanted it?
- Were yo too agressive or not aggressive enough with your savings goals?
- Should you try again with a more realistic amount?
Don't get down on yourself if there are areas that you did not succeed. Use them as learning experiences to improve your financial position in 2018. Consider trying something new if things didn't go to plan in 2017. Maybe start a formal budget or structure your direct deposits to help you save!
Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Once you have reflected on the previous year, it's time to set your goals! The best way to set financial goals is to use the S.M.A.R.T goals method. Write your goals down and make sure they are:
Using the S.M.A.R.T. Goals method ensures your goals are planned out, which sets you up for success!
Put it into Action:
Once you have your financial resolutions set, the question becomes "What are you going to do TODAY that will help you get to that goal?" To achieve your goals today, it may mean not getting that cup of coffee, or deciding against that online order. It may also mean that you decide to cook something for dinner, instead of going out. We can create fantastic long and short term goals. But, it is those tiny, every day decisions that will get you there. So what are you going to do today?