Last week, we talked about the possible reasons you overspend. This week, let’s talk about the very first thing you need to do to get out of the paycheck to paycheck cycle: Goal Setting.
Creating goals will play an instrumental role in your success because these goals will act as your guide. They will give you a sense of direction towards becoming financially stress-free.
When creating your goals, remember the things you have learned from your past mistakes. Did you set your goals too high? Were your goals not realistic? Understanding what went wrong will help you find a way to make it right this time.
Now, when you create your goals, remember to think SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.
Your goals need to be well-defined. They need to state what you want to achieve exactly and why. Remember the 4Ws to make your goals more specific:
- What do I want to achieve?
- When should I achieve this?
- Where should this be done?
- With whom will I be working on this goal?
Next, your goal needs to have numbers you can measure. This could be the amount of debt you need to pay off or how much you want to save in total. This way, you can divide the amount every month, making it more achievable. Think of 3H’s for this:
- How much?
- How many?
- How will I know when it is accomplished?
Speaking of achievable, your goal also needs to be attainable. You need to make sure that you have access to the right tools that will help you achieve your goal. For instance, if your goal is to save money in the bank, well, you’ll need to have a bank account first as well as an easy access to your bank account. Here are some of the questions you should ask:
- How will I achieve this goal?
- How should I prepare to achieve this goal?
- What tools will I need to achieve this goal?
- What are the steps I need to take to achieve this goal?
It also needs to be realistic. Some people fail in their goals because they want to pay thousands of debt in just a few weeks, but they’re not earning as much. To avoid being stressed out in your progress, set realistic goals. Baby steps will still take you to the end.
Finally, it needs to be time-bound. Your goal must have a beginning and an end. This will help you know when you should achieve your goal. This way, you can also track your progress each month. Here are some of the questions you might want to consider:
- When will I start?
- When should I accomplish this goal?
Let’s put these together and check out some examples of SMART goals:
- By 11 December 2019, I will be free of debt, paying $500 every month, starting 11 July 2019.
- By 11 November 2019, I will have $3000 saved for my holiday, by saving $500 every month, starting 11 June 2019.
By making your goals specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely, you will already become one step closer to being financially stress-free. Break the paycheck to paycheck cycle and start setting your goals today.
We’ve previously posted an article on the art of goal setting, so be sure to check it out for other ways you can set your goals.