Keeping yourself motivated on this ever-changing financial journey can be a challenge at times. Life demands, family responsibilities, and so many competing priorities can quickly move this essential necessity to the last item on your to-do list. Emotions such as fear, self-doubt, and sheer confusion create an environment that can lead you to avoid fully refining your financial goals. Use these tips to end the year stronger than you started it. They will help keep you proactive while remaining optimistic.
Redefine your goals
It comes to derailments on your financial journey. Unexpected expenses arise, emotionally charged purchases occur, and we lose the initial strength we once had. Take the much-needed time to review the goals you created earlier. Do these goals still apply? Are they within reach? Do they need to be revised or broken down into small goals? While everything can be done on a smartphone, tablet, or computer, create a notebook for financial goals. In this way everything is contained and recorded over time. You have the ability to review and track your progress, and also have timestamps of when these goals were created. You can also have digital versions of these to take with you on the go.
Break bigger goals into smaller wins
In general, we experience euphoria when we set our annual financial targets. We tend to set some pretty lofty goals (which isn’t bad), but we often ignore the struggles and challenges that come with the implementation phase. Because of this, we begin to doubt our abilities and express ourselves exactly what we have been looking forward to so much. Why? The initially set goal must be broken down into digestible pieces. That doesn’t mean we can’t. The key to this is that we feel comfortable with ourselves, set a sustainable pace and break the goals down into different phases.
Let’s say you want to end the year with a certain amount of money in your savings account or investment portfolio. Create a monthly savings plan that breaks this goal down into a consistent position in your budget as opposed to a lump sum. Celebrate yourself when you hit this monthly goal by grabbing your favorite cup of coffee from a local store or a treat from your favorite bakery. This will inspire you each month to move forward and take your financial goal from brainstorming to fulfillment.
Create a vision board
Breaking down your goals into smaller wins serves as the “what” while creating a vision board ultimately serves as your “why”. This interactive exercise will help you put the time and effort into using pictures, sentences, shapes, and words to keep your financial vision center stage. This doesn’t have to be done in a single day; it can also be broken down over a few days or a week. When it’s done, make sure it’s clearly visible every day. This can be in your office, on the refrigerator, or anywhere that’s most convenient for you. Any time you feel discouraged, take a minute to look at it – this will act as an incentive to remind you what you are actively working towards.
Anticipate distractions and resolve them quickly
Distractions are inevitable on this winding financial journey, and it’s important to find ways to address them beforehand. How do you best deal with these situations? How can we position ourselves successfully and minimize risks along the way? Take unexpected expenses as an example. To keep your budget and your sanity, set up an account to pay for these unforeseen expenses. Enter a certain amount in each payment period – this will not affect your savings and emergency funds. Your goals are not compromised and your initiative protects them.
Have an accountability partner
Accountability partners are essential for giving us thoughtful and encouraging words when we cannot find inner strength on our own. To feel like you are not alone, get the support of your family or friends who can help you stay on track. If that’s not possible, find virtual finance groups online or on social media where you can openly share your experience while helping others. We often believe that we are on this remote island with ourselves and our goals – even though that is so far from the truth in reality. If you need to go a step further, consider consulting a financial advisor to help you clarify your financial goals. Most of the time we are our own worst critics. Sharing this information with someone else can not only be therapeutic, but it also provides a sounding board for you.
Make a commitment to work on your plan
As we all know, creating goals can be relatively straightforward; the challenges raise their ugly heads while executing. So that you not only get started but get finished – make a commitment to meeting your financial goals. We understand that things happen beyond our control. Life is going to throw some curveballs that we can’t always catch. We’ll miss the mark sometimes. The key is not dealing with what didn’t work or what we didn’t finish, but understanding the importance of pivoting. Redirecting yourself when things happen not only relieves pressure and anxiety, but also shows you that you are far more financially resilient than you think you are.
Not only is it important to maintain a budget, it’s also imperative to stick with it and redefine it if necessary. Having financial goals is also important, but actually working towards them is far more rewarding. Take time each week (or whichever cadence works best for you) to review your goals. Are you on the right track How can you improve? How can you create a fun experience? Regular check-ins sounds like another item on your growing to-do list, but you will feel much more confident in your skills by reviewing this information regularly.
Marsha Barnes (20 posts)
Marsha Barnes is a finance guru with over 20 years of experience committed to empowering women worldwide to be financially successful. Financial literacy and education are a passion for Marsha, providing practical information for clients that will build their overall confidence in their personal finances.