Getting Financially Fit in 2012: Setting Goals

by Beth Montgomery on December 26, 2011 · 1 comment

Having and achieving goals is often the most motivating thing, especially if you reward yourself for your achievements. With your finances, it’s no different. By setting goals and working towards them, you get a sense of accomplishment.

Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

It’s important to not only set long-term goals, but also some short-term goals.

If you have a big goal of saving up a down payment for a house or getting a nice nest egg saved up for an emergency, that’s wonderful. But, it could take years to reach your goal. With such a huge time period between when you start your goal and when you hope to reach it, you often lose sight of the end along the way and lose motivation. It helps to make a few monthly goals or short-term goals to make sure you’re on track and give yourself more opportunities for success.

The more challenging your long-term goal is, the more short-term goals you should have, to help you manage how you’re doing, in case you need to reassess or make changes to meet your goal.

Picking Your Goals

There is one rule when picking your goal – pick an achievable goal!

That doesn’t mean it can’t be challenging. In fact, easy goals can be less exciting to reach. But, setting impossible goals, only sets you up for failure.

But, how big does your goal have to be? There’s no limit! It’s about you and what you see in your future.

Your goal may be to buy the entire Twilight Saga on DVD or pay cash for a home. Either way, by setting goals, we’re going against the American way of “if you don’t have the money to buy it, get a loan or put it on credit” and starting a new way of thinking – “if you don’t have the money to buy it, don’t buy it!”.

Waiting is never easy, but by saving up for vacations, cars, and even date night, you stop adding to any debt you may have already and start working towards getting yourself in better financial shape and eventually, building a nest egg.

Reward Yourself

Make sure to reward yourself for reaching both your short-term and long-term goals. Of course, don’t let that reward get you off track for the next goal. If you’re saving for a home, buying a car when you reach a short-term goal may not be the best choice.

Of course, your rewards do have to motivate you to work towards goal and if those rewards can help you reach the next goal, even better. When my family and I sucessfully make it to our first savings goal, we treated ourselves to board games. Then, we used those board games to start a Family Game Night, which allowed us to have fun as a family without spending a fortune on a night on the town. Plus, it’s one of my family’s favorite nights now.

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