January means a New Year is upon us, bringing a fresh opportunity to consider your goals. For 2018, I am taking a different approach to resolutions. Instead of giving you a laundry list of tasks to accomplish, I want to encourage you to make this the year you really own your financial life.
Imagine fast forwarding your life to December 31, 2018, and looking back on the year. What do you think you will have accomplished? How did your financial life change? What roadblocks did you remove? Answering these questions can help you identify your true goals for 2018.
If your vision for next year differs from where you are today, then you need a clear strategy for making changes—and a plan to follow along the way. It all begins with knowing how to define and reach your goals.
According to a study on the science of achieving goals, 3 key steps make you more likely to achieve what you set out to accomplish:
- Written goals
Using these findings, I have created 3 steps to help you set—and keep—your financial resolutions for 2018.
1. Written Goals: Define and record what you want.
Financial worries keep 65% of Americans up at night. From paying for health care to saving for retirement, people’s concerns span an array of life events. Fortunately, writing down goals can improve your chance of reaching them and moving past these stressors.
When defining your financial resolutions, ask yourself which priorities matter most to you and would help create the greatest comfort in your life. Your financial needs are unique to you, and they should guide the goals you set for the coming year.
2. Commitment: Outline specific action items for each day.
Once you have defined your goals for 2018, you can outline the actions you will take to help make your dreams a reality. Create and maintain your commitment to the goal by building a clear strategy for bringing it life. For example, rather than saying, “I want to pay down debt,” define the exact amount of money you will pay toward your liabilities each month. Determine which steps you need to take to achieve your goal, and then build a schedule for accomplishing the necessary tasks each day.
3. Accountability: Share your goals and progress with someone else.
When studying goal-setting, individuals who shared their objectives and actions with another person had better results than those who did not. To help increase your chances of achieving your 2018 financial resolutions, share your plan with someone else, such as a spouse, family member, or friend. Make sure you give them a detailed account of exactly what you want to achieve—and the steps you will take to do so.
Once you’ve selected someone to share your goals with, keep them in the loop on your progress. In fact, sending weekly updates to your chosen accountability partner can make you significantly more likely to achieve your goals.
As you look to 2018 and what you hope to accomplish, I encourage you to follow these steps to start out on the right path. I am always here to guide your financial goals and help you create the future you desire.
Here’s to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling New Year!