Monday, December 6, 2010

How To Set Financial Goals You CAN Achieve In 2011

It’s that time again! We’re nearing that brief stretch of the year where resolutions become the topic of discussion around our workplace water coolers. At a time when many of us have been so disappointed by having the economy involuntarily defer our dreams, what better time than a brand new year to rejuvenate our greatest hopes and desires?

So, what goals are you aiming for in 2011? . . . . . When I recently asked a client this same question, she gave me answers that many of us can surely identify with:

"Improve my FICO score.
Save more.
Pay off debt."

Those dry, bland and grossly vague answers might work at the water cooler, but they didn’t work for me! Pretending that those type of generic goals actually effect change in anyone’s life is a complete waste of time. The question you must ask yourself is “Do I want to rattle off random and generic goals just to make small talk?” OR “Do I want to set goals I can actually achieve and use to change my life in 2011?” If you chose the latter, then keep reading!

1. Be specific. So you want to improve your credit, save money and pay off bills? Great! Join the club. What do you really want to achieve though? Undefined goals are nothing more than dream killers. In order to achieve financial goals you must be deliberate about your intentions by using concrete numbers to gage your success. Write down the goal and be clear about dollar amounts, percentages, dates for accomplishment, etc.

ie.  Goal #1: I will improve my credit score by 40 points with all 3 credit bureaus.
      Goal #2: I will save $1200 in my Roth IRA account by December 31, 2011.
      Goal #3: I will pay off $2120 of debt and eliminate 1 credit card and 3 medical bills.

2. Be deliberate. So you have great quantitative goals now, but how will you really reach them? It’s always easier to divide a large task into much smaller steps in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed. To achieve your goals, get in the habit of creating ‘Next Steps’ on a quarterly, monthly or even weekly basis depending upon your goal. As you begin to cross action items off of your smaller list, continue to add additional steps until your goal is reached.

ie. Goal #1: Request a copy of my annual credit report by January 10th.
     Goal #2: Identify 3 places on my budget where I can save $100 per month.
     Goal #3: Call creditors and negotiate more favorable interest rates or repayment    terms by January 20th.

Related Post: Make It Plain

3. Be accountable. So now you’ve got your big goals all worked out and even have action steps to keep you moving along, but if you don’t achieve your goals, who’s going to know anyway? Well, that’s where accountability comes in! In my life, accountability has probably been the single greatest motivator for achieving my dreams. Most people will not share their dreams with anyone for fear of failure. If no one knows you had a goal, then no one will know that you failed, right? Unfortunately, that’s the worse attitude to have. It may sound cliché, but to be successful, you will need the support and encouragement of someone in your life. Whether it be a dear friend or family member, share your dreams with someone you can trust and let them help you, help yourself.

If you’d like to encourage other readers of Seek Wisdom, Find Wealth with tips on how to achieve their goals in 2011, please take a moment and share. Your feedback is invaluable!

Until Next Time,

Seek Wisdom, Find Wealth & Be Blessed!


Alica I. said...

I love this blog, just as I love all the others. I was just starting to set goals such as those that you listed and the breakdown has put me on the right track...thanks!!!


This is good information it makes me take a much needed look at my spending and saving habits,although I have a goal set already- it became clear that I could add more to is by eliminating a few things that is not really needed. how do I receive newsletters from this blog.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a definite plan. I am working on the things you posted as we speak!

yolanda said...

I have already started my plan, I had five major things I wanted to do by 2012. One of them I have completed. I am now working on the other four.

TamikaCheree said...

I can't tell you how many times I've written a list and one of the items on my list was "get out of debt". There were no specific steps on how I was going to achieve my goal and thus the goal was never reached. This time God has given me a resource and that resource is you and the gift (knowledge of finances) that you have shared with us. I am beginning to see the "light" at the end of the tunnel! Thank you!
Tamika Cheree