Setting goals

HOW TO SET GOALS FOR LIFE, INCLUDING MONEY ONES!

Regardless of what you want to achieve in life, getting there will generally require a plan to get there. The more ambitious the plan, the more planning you will require in order to fully achieve them.

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Whether in money, sports or life in general, goal setting is critical to long-term success

Following are some important steps to help you set your goals and ways to help you achieve them.

1: LIFE VISION FOR YOU

Before you set any specific goals, consider the main life categories: health, relationships, money, career, personal, recreation, environment, and contribution

In each area of your life, give thought to what you want to achieve, this will help inform your vision. It will be importable to develop or achieve goals if you don’t have a vision that will guide them and guide you towards achieving them.

2: TAKE STOCK OF YOUR LIFE NOW

Once you have listed down what your vision for life is in each category or overall, next you will need to identify where you are now.

If you are unhappy with any part of your life, write it down, be honest with yourself and what you record as this will make a big difference in how well need to plan ahead and take action if you are really serious about achieving your goals in the long run.

3: PLAN FOR SUCCESS IN EACH CATEGORY

Now that you have written down each life category, you now need to decide on one big plan that will get you to achieve your vision.

Try this – if your vision is to become financially independent of your parents, your overarching plan should be to become debt free. And in order to achieve this, you will need to plan your finances accordingly (read 6 Steps to Financial Freedom). And remember, this is not just about eliminating debt but also about building savings (and some long-term wealth).

4: ESTABLISH YOUR MONEY GOALS

Now that you have established your vision (what you want) and where you are now, your next task is to map out how you can get there.

When it comes to goal setting, there are some well-proven tools that you can use to your advantage.

Think S.M.A.R.T.

If we take a financial goal for example, this is how you should approach this SMART process:

  • Specific (in other words, make sure it’s not too vague)
  • Measurable (if it’s is to save money, how much?)
  • Achievable (do you have the financial means to save the money?)
  • Relevant (is saving money relevant to your life?)
  • Timely (within what timeframe will you save the money)

What all of this means is that you give thought to your goals in life and achievable, with your available resources within a set period of time! Also, it is good to list goals as short-term or long-term. Short-term goals are those you want to achieve with 6-months or a year. Long-term goals are those over say 5 years or 10 years.

Example of realistic financial goals:
1. Save up to pay for my world trip which begins in 12 months time.

Examples unrealistic financial goals:
1. Buy my own house with cash in 2 years time.

READ MORE BUDGETING TIPS

Regardless of what you want to achieve in life, it is important you keep in mind what your overall capacity for achieving those goals are. You will face a lot of restrictions, including money, time and so on so keep those in mind as you prepare your plans.

5: PUT YOUR GOALS IN PLACE

For any goals to be successful, you need to take action. Obvious but true. Many goals, even the best goals often fail due to a lack of action. So, plan first, be honest and use the SMART approach and then take action.

On trick to realising your goals is to use a calendar where you can write down your goal(s) and then use it to push you along to achieving them. Also, having specific time deadlines will help keep you focused along the way. So, regardless of whether you want to save €100 per month or €1200 in a year or run a 3-hour marathon, the overall process is still very much the same along the way. You need to take each day at a time (track your money or get out for some exercise). Over time, you will get a real sense of pleasure and achievement as your plan progresses and you get closer and closer to your original goal.

6: THE 4 R’S — REWARD, REFLECT, REVISE, AND REPEAT

The laid plans can sometimes unstuck. And if yours does, don’t panic. That is life so be prepared to adjust from time to time and as needed when events take an unexpected turn. After all, who knows what happens in the future? Nobody! But that should not mean that you should not plan or stop planning if events take a turn for the worse.

Tip – Use the 4 R’s to keep your plans on track.

  1. Reward – when you achieve a goal, reward yourself.
  2. Reflect on your progress. Look over your plan, learn how well it unfolded and how much of that original plan you succeeded at. Where mistakes made? Can you learn from those mistakes? If so, this is how you can prepare to improve on future plans.
  3. Revise – as mentioned earlier, plans can get knocked off track so the main thing is not to panic. Look to stay the course and ways to getting back on track. As circumstances change, so should your goals. If you get a wage increase, think about increasing your savings goal. If your wages decrease, look to change your spending or alternatively, look to change your savings goal to suit your current situation.
  4. Repeat the process – this will help you to perfect the process until it becomes second nature.

THE LAST WORD!

Plans are a fantastic tool that will help you achieve your goals. And when you achieve your goals in life, you will feel a wonderful sense of achievement.

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