I know it’s only November and we haven’t yet had our Thanksgiving turkey in the U.S., but I’ve already started planning what my financial goals for 2015 will be. Lots of people won’t start talking about their goals for the New Year until January, but in my opinion you should start planning now for what you want to accomplish next year. That way when January 1st rolls around, you’ll already know what you need to do to be on the road to success. Here are just a few things I did to help me decide what my financial goals will be for 2015.
Take a Look Back
If you can’t remember what your 2014 goals were or how you stack up against them, take some time to review them now. Look at what you set out wanting to accomplish and how you progressed toward these things throughout the year.
2014 isn’t over yet and there’s still time to achieve your goals, but you should be at about 75-80% of your beginning goal by now. If not, why didn’t you make progress as you were hoping or expecting? What setbacks did you experience along the way? If you are on track to have your goals met by the end of year, or if you’ve already exceeded them, what helped you be successful? This information is key to helping you prepare for the coming new year.
Now that you’ve analyzed what you sought to do and what your results have been for 2014 so far, this information can help you figure out where to go from here.
If you had setbacks this year, how can you plan ahead now to avoid them next year? Maybe you’re on track to meet, or have already met your 2014 goals, because of a one-time income boost. If this is the case, what can you expect to accomplish next year without this event happening again? On the other hand, if you’ve met or exceeded your goals and believe you can replicate this progress again next year, you need to decide how much higher to set your goal for 2015.
Setting goals is a balancing act: your goals should always be something that you have to stretch a bit to reach. You don’t want them to be too easy so that you don’t have to work hard to achieve them, and you don’t want them to be unattainable either.
Break Them Down
Once you have big idea goals in mind, break them down in bite-sized steps. For example: if your goal is to pay off debt in 2015, how much should you pay off each month (or each quarter)?
Having smaller monthly or quarterly goals will make it easier to evaluate your progress during the next year, and will be helpful for evaluating your overall progress at the end of 2015.
Writing down both your big picture goal for 2015 and your smaller bite-sized goals, and keeping them posted in a highly visible place, will help you to stay motivated when times get tough. Spending temptations arise for all of us from time to time, and having your goals close at hand will help defeat the urge the splurge.
What do you do in order to set/establish goals? What are your financial goals for 2015? What is a goal you killed it on this year?
Photo Courtesy of: Amodiovalerio Verde