Tag Archive for Goals

3 Ways to Start the New Year Off Right

new year

new yearIt?s the first Monday of the New Year and that means that for most of us, it’s time to get back to reality. Most people are headed back to work and children are headed back to school?today. It?s also a good time to make sure you are getting the New Year off to a good start.

Lots of New Year?s goals and resolutions are set to start January 1, but I personally have always thought it?s better to start them on the first Monday of the New Year instead.

This is when I really feel like the New Year has begun because the holidays are officially over. I?ve eaten all the extra food I?m going to eat for a while and I?ve sat around and played games and watched movies with my family for days. I?m all rested up and ready to start the New Year off right.

If you are in the same situation, here are three ways you can start the New Year off right starting today.

Get Up a Little Earlier

Almost every New Year?s resolution takes time to accomplish, no matter if it?s exercising more, meal planning and cooking at home, or working on a side hustle to increase your income, all of these things are going to take some time to do every day. One way to make sure this happens is by getting up a little earlier. If you are reading this then it?s too late to change this habit today (unless you got up earlier today without reading my advice), but you can start putting this into practice tomorrow.

I hate mornings and I?m really not a morning person at all, but I?m going to start slowly by getting up five minutes earlier than normal this week, 10 minutes earlier than normal next week, 15 minutes earlier than normal the week after that, and so on until I am getting up a hour earlier than I used to. This extra hour of my day will allow me to get a head start on my goals for this year before tackling my everyday activities.

Practice Daily Affirmations

My financial accountability partner encouraged me to write up a daily affirmation relating to my financial goals?so that I can be reminded of why I?m working hard each and every day.

My daily affirmation is only a few sentences long and I read it aloud to myself every morning. At first it felt weird to talk to myself but now it?s starting to feel normal. Reading daily affirmations not only remind you of your goals on a daily basis, but they also help you to build up a positive energy regarding your goals and your current situation. No matter what your goals are, financial or not, you can benefit from having a daily affirmation posted on your mirror, in your office, or some other location that you visit daily.

Start Small

It can be hard to make huge life changes cold turkey in the New Year, and I think that?s why so many peoples? New Year?s resolutions fail. Instead, I?m trying to make changes slowly so they?ll last. For example, if your goal is to save more money you could try joining a savings challenge, like the 52 Week Savings Challenge.

In this challenge you set aside $1 the first week of the year, $2 the second week and so on until the end of the year to build up your savings account. This challenge has become a popular way to build and get in the habit of saving money.

Today is the first Monday of the New Year and it?s a good time to get started on your New Year?s goals or resolutions. The holidays are over and it should be easier to focus on your goals no matter what they may be.

 

Did you set New Year’s goals or resolutions? Have you gotten started on them yet? What have you found to improve your probability of success in reaching your goals each year?

 

Photo courtesy of: nidan

What to Do When You?ve Already Failed Your New Year?s Resolution

new year's resolutions

5409231464_88d690c3ee_zNot unlike most, each year I set several New Year?s resolutions. The New Year just leaves me feeling refreshed and ready to get new things accomplished and I generally reflect those feelings in my resolutions.

This year I tried not to get too carried away with my New Year?s resolutions, my numerically focused financial goals?are a lot more realistic and attainable than the goals I set for 2014, and yet I?ve already failed miserably at one of them.

Shopping for new clothes, shoes, and accessories is one of my spending weaknesses, so I decided to set a limit for how much I could spend on this budget leak in 2015, $500 for the whole year! This was a lofty resolution considering how much I spent on this category in 2014 ($914 the last time I counted in October and there was more after that) and in year?s prior (at least 3-4 times as much as 2014).

In January I didn?t do too badly at staying on track with my resolution. But then in February I went a little crazy. I wish I could say things got better this month, but alas they didn?t. Now I haven?t tallied it up yet, but I?m almost certain I?ve overspent my yearly limit already and we?re only 25 percent through the year!

Rather than giving up completely on my resolution, here are a few things I am doing to help myself get back on track and get my spending under control.

Tally It Up

I?m going to make a detailed and itemized list of how much I?ve spent on clothes, shoes, and accessories so far this year. Many of the things I?ve purchased are not necessities, however a couple of them were. I need to make that distinction so I can avoid giving in to these impulse purchases in the future.

Re-Set My Limit

After I figure out exactly how much I?ve spent this year so far, I need to decide where I want to set my limit for the rest of the year. I don?t want to make it too easy, but I don?t want to re-set my goal too low and end up having to repeat this entire process next month.

Avoid Temptations

This year is different from last year. Last year no one in my real-life circle of friends and family knew about my debt or that I was working to get out of it. This year my parents and my best friend are aware and thus they are not the ones tempting me to spend anymore.

Shopping used to be one of the things my best friend and I always did when we visited each other, but now we focus on other things instead. Now my biggest temptation to spend money on clothes, shoes, and accessories comes from a new young (my age), fashionable co-worker. We often get to talking about clothes and trends while we are on breaks at work. This can be a real temptation for me, so I?m going to try and steer clear of these conversations whenever possible.

Remember Why I Set the Resolution

The last thing I?m going to do to keep my shopping under control is remember why I set the resolution in the first place. There are actually several reasons why I set my limit, including:

  • I don?t need any more clothes. I get rid of some that are in perfect condition each year during my closet clean out.
  • I want to allocate more money to pay off debt. This is my main focus, but I also want to increase my savings.
  • If I do meet my goal of quitting my full-time job in the near future, I won?t need a lot of business casual clothes anyhow and I?m sure I won?t want to change out of my yoga pants and t-shirts to sit at home on my computer.

If I can successfully do all of these things, I believe I can still keep my spending on clothes, shoes, and accessories to a somewhat-acceptable level for the year.

 

How are you doing on your goals/resolutions for the year? How many goals do you typically set for the year? How do you get back on track when you’ve not met a particular goal?

 

 

Photo courtesy of: Lindsay Sz?ch?nyi

Setting Financial Goals for the New Year

financial goals

financial goalsI 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.

Project Forward

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.

Keep Track

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