9 Surefire Ways to Finally Reach Your Financial Goals

9 Surefire Ways to Finally Reach Your Financial Goals

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Think back to this time last year.

How have things gone? Are you still in the same tight spot you were a year ago? How about 5-years ago?

I hope you’ve seen progress in your life. If you’re moving forward, let’s keep that momentum going forward. If your stagnant, right now is the best time to get your engines cranking.

New Year’s is a great time to reflect and start setting goals we’d like to accomplish. But it doesn’t have to be New Year’s Day (or even a Monday) to start setting and working on your goals.

It’s time to stop procrastinating and start working on your goals today.

Here are nine things you can do to kick start your financial goals.

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Make this the year that you reach your financial goals. Here are 9 great tips that will help you break through to financial freedom and pay off debt.

Get into the right mindset

This is one of the most important steps that often gets overlooked.

The beliefs you hold onto will ultimately determine the outcome of your goals.

Click to Tweet “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”

There’s someone I know (we’ll call him Dave) who, for as long as I can remember, has lived in a horrible financial situation. He works hard, but he can never get ahead, and he doesn’t know why.

In my evaluation of his situation, Dave doesn’t have the right mindset.

He has everything else going for him. He’s a hard worker, has a supportive family, talent and loads of potential. He just doesn’t see it. He remains focused on everything he doesn’t have and why he can’t get it. He sees everyone else as “lucky”.

So long as he keeps his mindset, he’ll keep his crappy situation too.

When you believe you can achieve your goals, your brain does an amazing thing. It starts plotting a success map for you that leads to actions. The actions you take march you further down your path to success.

If you don’t believe in yourself, you won’t ever take action. If you never take action, you’ll stay exactly where you are right now.

Recommended Reading

There are money myths that we've been programmed to believe that can hold us back from our true potential.

This is a great book with action steps to realign your money beliefs to work in your favor instead of against you. 

It's a "shortcut blueprint for rewiring your beliefs about money and stopping internal sabotage forever ..."


Know Your “Why”

Knowing why you are working toward a goal will motivate you to keep going.

Do a little soul searching to unearth the true reason why you’re working on your goals.

If you say, “Because it’d be so cool to travel the world.” you haven’t dug deep enough.

Here are some common reasons people are striving to become financially free:

  • Because I want to spend more time with my family and not have to worry about money.
  • Because I want to get out of a career that exhausts me and do what I love.
  • Because I want to be free from debt so that I can save more for retirement.
  • Because I have ailing parents and would love to be there for them and help take care of them.
  • Because I want to stay home and take care of my kids and not have to put them in daycare.

There are dozens more reasons. Make your reason deeply personal. Keep it at the front of your mind as you’re working on your goals and use it as a driving force to keep you moving forward.

Write Down Your Goals

There’s something about writing it down that makes it a little more permanent and real.

If your goal is just something you think about from time to time, it’s likely going to remain a fantasy. Write it down.

If your goal is just something you think about from time to time, it’s likely going to remain a fantasy. Write it down.

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When you write your goals, use statements like “I will …” or “I’m going to …” Write it as a statement of fact. It’s another mind trick you can play on yourself. Your brain will start coming up with solutions as to how you are going to accomplish your goals.

Set Milestones

If you were going to drive across the country and your final destination was 2,000 miles away, you’d probably plan stops along the way, right?

Even if you wanted to plow straight through and get there as quickly as possible you’d at least need to stop for gas, food and restroom breaks.

Your goals are the same way. When you set your goal, break it up into bite-sized, manageable pieces.

Let’s say your goal was to save $10,000 in one year. It might be a lofty goal for you and you might not believe you can do it. By breaking the goal apart, you’ll be able to come up with a plan for you to reach it. Here is an example of steps you might take:

  • How much do I need to save each month?
  • How much can I save from each paycheck?
  • How much can I reduce from my expenses?
  • Can I find a way to make extra money?
  • Can I earn money passively?
  • Do I know of any investments that will allow me to grow my money?
  • Do I have any extra money coming from a tax return or bonus that I can save?
  • Do I need more than 1 year to save this amount of money?

The more you think about it, the more ideas will come to you to help you come up with a plan and mini-milestones that will help you get closer to your ultimate goal.

Set Deadlines

If you’re set your goal for “someday,” it’ll never happen.

Humans are competitive by nature so you’ll be competing with your deadline. What can you get done before a specific date hits on the calendar? Set a deadline for your major goal, then work backward and set deadlines for each of your milestones or mini-goals you set in the step above.

Don’t forget to be realistic. There are things you will be able to accomplish over an extended period of time, as long as you allow yourself the time to do it.

Notice in the example above I noted that you may need more than 1 year to reach your goal. That’s okay.

Don’t Zigzag

The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.

It’s a mathematically fact.

When you’re working on financial goals, only work on one major goal at a time. If you have multiple goals, it may steal your focus and take you longer to accomplish. Worse yet, it may lead you to give up and quit.

If you’re working on a couple of goals at once, you’ll divide your attention and resources and go back and forth between them … aka zigzagging.

Let’s say you have two major goals; pay off debt and save $10,000. Work on one first and then the other. While these are both great financial goals, you may not realize that they conflict with one another. You will need to divert a good portion of your money into debt to pay it off quickly and won’t be able to save your $10,000 like you want to.

Working on multiple financial goals at a time will just lead to frustration and abandonment.

Having said that, feel free to work on a financial goal and goals in different categories. Go ahead and pay off debt and simultaneously eat healthier or train for the marathon you want to run. 

Get Focused

You’ve likely heard of SMART goals, which is a great way to get organized. SMART goals stand for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely (or something similar depending on who you ask.)

Today I want to introduce you to an acronym of my own: Goals with FOCUS.

F is for Fast.

Obviously, some goals are not fast. What I mean by this is to create a mini-goal within your bigger goal that you can do fast. This will get you off to a good start and create momentum for you to keep going.

If you’re trying to pay off debt, could you pay off one credit card fast?

If you’re trying to save up money, could you save $100 this week?

What mini goal can you do right now that’ll get you started and get momentum to keep working on your goals?

O is for Outline.

This is similar to the M in SMART goals. Create an outline of the steps you will take to work on your goals and the order you will do them in. This will be a road map and give you direction what to do step-by-step.

C is for Commitment.

Commit yourself to working on your goals. What will help you stick to your goals? It might help to find an accountability partner (as I'll discuss below).

U is for Unshaken. 

Let’s face it, things don’t always work out as planned. Even the best laid plans can have hiccups and setbacks. If you really want to achieve your goal, you need to be unshaken.

Recognize that there will be surprises along the way that you didn’t anticipate. Think of a backup plan for if (and when) things don’t go as planned to keep you on course.

Follow Dory's advice and "just keep swimming."


S is for Sacrifice.

There’s no doubt about it. When it comes to goals of a financial nature there’ll absolutely need to be sacrifices made.

If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting. Nothing will change.

If you keep doing what you’ve been doing, you’ll keep getting what you’ve been getting.

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Think about what sacrifices you might have to make to hit your financial goals.

Making sacrifices can be difficult. To keep positive, try to ask yourself “What do I want more?” Remember your WHY to stay motivated.

Be Accountable

I’m the kind of person where I mean what I say. If I say I’m going to do something, you better believe I’ll follow through and do it.

If staying committed to yourself isn’t easy, find an accountability partner.

This might be your spouse, a friend, your parent or someone you know will support you.

State your goals out loud to someone and ask them to follow up with you.

Keep a record or journal of what you’re working on to reflect your progress.

Be Flexible

Go easy on yourself.

Be flexible enough to adjust and rework your plan if you need to. Know that not everything will go as planned, then when you hit a bump in the road you’ll be able to adjust and keep moving.

If you expect perfection you may quit as soon as there are any obstacles.

Good luck with all your goals! Feel free to share your best tips for reaching goals in the comments below. Or let us know what makes reaching your goals difficult.

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Cameron
 

Cameron is a Financial Coach who works with couples and individuals to achieve financial freedom and peace of mind. She believes being in control of money = less stress + more fun! Join her on the journey to think about money less and enjoy life more.

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