How do we set goals and keep them? That’s the million dollar question. Lets start out by quoting some research by a prestigious university, just so you know that this is legit.

According to Scranton University Research, 40% of Americans make New Years Resolutions, but only a shocking 8% are deemed successful.

So why did so many fail to keep them, and what did the rest do differently to be successful?

It would be easy to say, well goals are dumb who needs them anyway! Let me tell you a quick story that illustrates the importance of setting a purposeful goal.

Imagine one day you decide to travel. You walk into an airport, walk up to the Teller, and ask for a ticket to somewhere. Puzzled the teller looks at you, and asks, Where do you want to go? You say, I dont know. Just give me a ticket to somewhere. As you can guess the teller answered you something like this.

Most of us have goals such as “I want to be wealthy, or I want to be financially independent and retire early”, but like the story goes, these goals are too ambiguous, poorly planned, and often beyond our ability for success.

The reason so many people fail quickly after setting goals, is because they do not stick to common goal setting practices. It doesn’t matter what type of goal it is, financial, or losing weight for the New Year, the principles for success are the same.

Here are 5 goal setting guidelines that you should apply to your fiscal wish list before starting.

1. PURPOSE.

What is the why behind the goal? This will give you the motivation to endure even the longest of goals. Write them down somewhere, make it visible for all to see. And just as a side note, if youre married make sure both you and your spouse are on board.

2. TIME FRAME.

Ask yourself, is this goal short term, mid term, or long term? For large goals, e.g. I want to be well-off, break them down into smaller sub goals. The more wins you get, the higher probability that youll stay committed and be successful.

3. REALISTIC.

This one can be harder than you think. Be honest, you know what you can afford, and you know what your budget can handle. Lets say your goal is to buy your next car with cash- I know its one of mine look at your budget, find the money, and set a time frame that is realistic to accomplish the goal. You’ll never be disappointed if you’re honest with your money.

4. MAINTENANCE.

Put it in writing and evaluate your progress. We all know financial environments will change, and are disrupted everyday with unexpected expenses, and emergencies. E.G. Getting a boot stuck on your car and spending $345 to get it off. True story. You need to make a routine of checks and balances as often as you see fit. It may be daily, weekly, monthly, it just depends on the goal set.

5. ACCOMPLISH

Goal setting is much more than simply saying you want something to happen. Duh, obviously! Unless you clearly define exactly what you want and understand why you want it the first place, your odds of success are considerably reduced. Just stick with it! You know why you started the goal in the first place, now why stop till its done? Your future self will thank you.

Goals Can Be Fun!

Get creative, lets say you want to go on a family vacation to Puerto Rico! Yay! Put out a shoebox, or Jar decorated with pictures of your dream destination. Decide how often youll make contributions and every time you walk by it, you’ll smile, and see the progress that you’re making.

Make bets with your spouse, or family, such as, who can ride their bike to work, who can spend the least of their lunch money, or how long can we go without eating just kidding on the last one. But you get what Im saying, find ways to cut excess to accomplish your goal faster.

By following these 5 guidelines you can set goals with confidence and enjoy the satisfaction that comes along with knowing you achieved what you set out to do.

So, what goals will you set for you financial future today?

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