Financial goal setting is like setting any goal - - - it takes time, thought and an action plan. Sometimes getting started may be the most difficult challenge of all. Goal setting begins one positive step at a time.
Goal setting isn’t about having a crystal ball and predicting the future. It’s about setting financial guideposts to support your hopes and dreams. Goals assist you in going forward in positive productive ways.
Here are a few suggestions:
Where to start?
Begin at the beginning. Start by writing down what you want and why you want it.
That’s sounds simple but it often takes some financial “soul-searching.” Here are a few places to begin:
~ What do you value most about having money? Examples: Security, independence, freedom, providing for family, etc. Write down 5-10 of your most important money values.
~ For each money value, write two or three sentences describing why each is important to you and your financial future.
~ How will achieving each value positively effect your life now and in the future?
~ Why do you want to succeed financially? What motivates you? What powerful motivator will keep you from giving up or stopping before “payday?”
Knowing what you want and why you want it is vital to successful goal setting. Goal setting is as emotional as it is practical. If the money values you’ve written down are not strong enough to motivate you when the going gets tough, you’ll give up. Your motivation comes from the power of your most powerful “why.”
What to do?
Take action now. Writing a plan is step one and putting your plan into action is step two.
~ For example let’s say that financial freedom at age 65 is extremely important to you. Begin by asking yourself, “How many ways can I become financially free on or before age 65?” Start writing down anything that comes to mind. It doesn’t have to make sense to you right now, just keep writing. And for the next couple of weeks, every time you think of something new, keep adding to your list.
~ Now, take three or four of your most exciting ideas and begin forming a workable plan. Start today, don’t procrastinate, it’s your financial future. For each idea write a plan. What will you do today, next week, next month and into the future?
~ Have “check up” dates for reviewing your progress. Example: I plan on saving $500 on or before June 30, 2008 and here is how I will do that_____________.
On May 1, 2008 check your progress and make the adjustments necessary to stay on track. June 1, 2008 check again. Are there more adjustments to make?
Goals are meant to bend and adjust with the changes in your life. Goals aren’t etched in stone – they are simply guideposts to help plan, implement and achieve your financial hopes and dreams.
How to keep going forward?
There will be challenges. It’s in these times of challenge, your strongest “why” comes into focus.
~ Acknowledge there will be challenges and write some of them down. If you can predict some of the challenges, you’ll be better able to deal with them in proactive ways.
~ Knowing and acknowledging that there may be challenges helps you prepare emotionally. Sometimes, it’s the emotional “hits” that can quickly derail goals.
~ Ask yourself this question, “When I begin working on financial goals what, if anything, usually stops me?” This is an important question. This stumbling block may be your self-sabotaging hot button. We all have a self-sabotaging hot button, something that seems to derail us from our goals. Recognizing self-sabotage means you can conquer it.
~ It’s vital to make measurable and consistent progress. It doesn’t have to be in leaps and bounds, but it does have to be consistent. Small steps forward are better than no steps forward.
~ Look at your goals often. If your goals are true to your strongest core values, they will excitedly motivate you to succeed. If they don’t excite, you may have to make some adjustments.
A financial goal is only a dream, hope or wish until you write down what you want, why you want it and how you plan on achieving it. Be specific and dream BIG. Your financial goals should excite, empower and motivate you toward an optimistic and powerful financial future.
Please take a few minutes to visit my website www.SharonMichaels.com for more empowering suggestions, tools and tips and sign up for my free weekly ezine, Unlimited Success for Women.
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