Goal Setting: What? Why? How?

Published on May 3, 2016 3:41 pm, by

The start of the new year its the perfect time to set new goals. It’s like we get to close the book on last year and start anew. Alternatively, you might want to revisit existing goals. Stopping and aligning your progress with your current circumstances is a great way to get remotivated and reinvigorated.

Whatever you’re trying to achieve, there are things you can do to help you along your way. Articulating your goal and the steps you will take increase your chances of reaching it significantly. Add in sharing your goal with others who will support you and hold you to account and you’ve increased your chances of achieving it even higher.

Making your money work for you is no different to other goals consistent with a happy and healthy lifestyle. Getting the best out of your diet, exercise and money are all necessary to achieving a fit, happy and healthy life.

Anyone qualified to help you along any of these journeys will ask about your goal. What do you want to achieve? What does success look like for you?

Why bother?

If you can’t articulate what you are going for, how do you measure your progress? How do you know when you get there? How do you know how far you have to go? And how do you know when you need to change something to make sure you succeed?

Setting a goal is empowering, motivating and keeps you focused towards a dream that you really want.

Effective goal setting

#1 Don’t have too many.

One of the keys to achieving your goal/s is to know them inside out. Have them firmly in your memory. Have visuals in your living space, on your phone, anywhere that will remind you to adapt your behaviours to stay on track. Too many goals and you will find it hard to focus.

#2 Use a proven method like SMART goal setting

  • Specific – say exactly what you want to achieve. Rather than say you want to go on a holiday, state the exact amount of money that you want to save and where your holiday will be. For example, I am going to NZ for a holiday for 10 days and that will cost me $3,000.
  • Measurable – be able to measure your result, and set mini goals along the way. For example, check at the end of each month that you have saved $500 that month.
  • Actionable – understand the action you need to take to achieve your goal. For example, give up Friday night drinks and bring my lunch to work Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Set up an automatic payment tomorrow to move money into my savings account every Thursday.
  • Realistic – you need to be able to achieve your goal. A challenge is good, but it must be doable. It would be crazy to say you are going to save $500 per month if you earn less than $500 per month!
  • Timely – you don’t want to be working towards this goal forever (or maybe you do). Think long and hard about your deadline, what you’re willing to negotiate or sacrifice, and make sure you record what you’re committing to.

#3 Write it down

The simple act of writing your goal down can help you stay accountable. It is something to come back to if you need more motivation. The future you might need this to stay on track.

Record all of the things you considered and accepted as part of your SMART goal setting process.

#4 Check in

Set aside a regular time to review your goals and record your progress. Did you do something different that helped you on your way? Is there something holding you back? Recommit at every check-in, celebrate your success and make contingency plans for any slip-ups.

#5 Phone a friend

Sharing your goal and commitment to changing behaviour with somebody close to you may help keep you accountable. If there are no more Friday meals out, or Sunday shopping trips, who better to keep you accountable then the person you generally do it with? Be sure to share your motivation and the importance of reaching this goal as well – you don’t want your confidante to sabotage your journey through a lack of understanding. Who knows, they might want to join you!

Related articles –
Taking control of your post-Christmas spending hangover
Hello 2017! New year new budget
The top 10 ways we saved money in 2016

Share now

Jen is an experienced banking professional who loves wine, coffee, finding a bargain and of course her three beautiful children. Since Jen's first budget led her to buy a home at 20, Jen has passionately helped others to make better decisions with their money.

Still searching?