Starting out the year right is important for a few reasons, it sets a standard for the rest of your year, it clarifies what you hope to achieve for the new year as well as what you’ll be setting aside from the past year and it gives you the opportunity to have a clean slate. Doesn’t everybody love a clean slate??? So wipe the slate clean for the start of 2019 and set yourself some financial goals for the year.
According to the Bureau of Statistics, the gap between Australian wages and the cost of living is looking pretty grim. Wage growth has stagnated at 1.9% compared to the previous six months whereas the cost of living is rising at 2.1% meaning that what we spend is overtaking what we’re earning.
With the new year though, you have the chance to inform yourself and work on setting your wrongs from 2018 right. And since our relationship with money is inseparable from the rest of our lives, take a step back and think about all aspects of your life, especially your health and wellbeing.
Now remember, we all have those instances where a to-do list hasn’t been ticked off or your resolutions (read about resolutions here) haven’t been carried out but to be honest, it’s not really about fulfilling every want or need.
So get started by taking small steps in the right direction to make yourself organised and accountable which turns into productivity in the long run. Goals provide focus and structure and they break down a scenario to make things seem less daunting and more attainable.
Step 1. Review where you’ve been and where you’re at.
The first step to creating a constructive future is to look back on your past. What were your proudest moments? What things put you into a negative mindset? What successes have you achieved and what mistakes did you make? If anything, answering these questions will help you get to the bottom of the lessons you learnt and why they were useful, ensuring that in the future you focus on processes that benefit you as an individual.
You can do this a few ways:
- Review your goals for the past year – evaluate your progress with these and note what goals you carried out and which you didn’t and why? Were they too hard, unclear, did they not apply anymore? Think critically about how you set the goals if you didn’t end up achieving them. This will make sure that the new goals you’re looking to set for the new year don’t fall into the same unproductive patterns and you give them the best chance of being followed.
- Read your journal entries or your calendar – from the past year to have a look at where you spent your time and what took up your mental and emotional, energy as well as where you spent your money. This gives you a much clearer picture of what you’ve been up to rather than remembering off by heart. By reviewing the lessons you learnt
Some thoughts to have while doing so:
- What should be my priority this year that I may have overlooked in the past?
- What do I normally overlook that I could pay more attention to this year to better that part of my life?
- What routines or processes have been the most effective in this past year? Why are they the most successful?
- Are my priorities and past goals in line with my values?
Step 2: Make your goals S.M.A.R.T.
Take our advice and utilise the principal advantage of SMART objectives. They’re easier for you to understand and you’ll know when they have been completed.
What exactly do you want to achieve? The more specific your description, the bigger the chance you’ll stay on track. S.M.A.R.T. goal setting clarifies the difference between ‘I want to be a millionaire’ and ‘I want to save 50% of my earnings a month in the next 6 months by cooking at home more than eating out’.
Questions you may ask yourself when setting your goals and objectives are:
- What exactly do I want to achieve?
- With whom?
- What are the conditions and limitations?
- Why exactly do I want to reach this goal? What are possible alternative ways of achieving the same?
It’s important to have measurable goals, so that you can track your progress and stay motivated. Assessing progress helps you to stay focused, meet your deadlines, and feel the excitement of getting closer to achieving your goal.
A measurable goal should address questions such as:
- How much?
- How many?
- How will I know when it is accomplished?
Is your goal attainable? That means investigating whether the goal is a viable option for you. You weigh the effort, time and other costs your goal will take against the profits and the other obligations and priorities you have in life.
If you don’t have the time, money or talent to reach a certain goal there’s a higher chance you’ll fail which can diminish motivation. That doesn’t mean that you can’t take something that seems impossible and make it happen by planning smartly and going for it!
There’s nothing wrong with shooting for the stars; if you aim to clear your debt and save up for a car in the next 6 months is it really that bad if you don’t reach your goal but still end up paying off your debt and affording yourself some room to breath?
This step is about ensuring that your goal matters to you, and that it also aligns with other relevant goals. We all need support and assistance in achieving our goals, but it’s important to retain control over them. So, make sure that your plans drive everyone forward, but that you’re still responsible for achieving your own goal.
A relevant goal can answer “yes” to these questions:
- Does this seem worthwhile?
- Is this the right time?
- Does this match our other efforts/needs?
- Am I the right person to reach this goal?
- Is it applicable in the current socio-economic environment?
Time is money! Make a tentative plan of everything you do. Everybody knows that deadlines are what makes most people switch to action. So install deadlines, for yourself and your team, and go after them. Keep the timeline realistic and flexible, that way you can keep morale high. Being too stringent on the timely aspect of your goal setting can have the perverse effect of making the learning path of achieving your goals and objectives into a hellish race against time – which is most likely not how you want to achieve anything.
A time-bound goal will usually answer these questions:
- What can I do six months from now?
- What can I do six weeks from now?
- What can I do today?
Step 3: Put your goals up where you can see them.
This might seem mundane to you but believe us, visualising your goals effects their outcome tenfold!
This will be different for everyone but it could mean creatively displaying them on your bathroom wall so you can read them every morning while brushing your teeth! It could also mean having little one word prompts in your car that you can be reminded of everytime you drive to work in the morning. It could be pinning them on your fridge so you can see them when waiting for your lasagne to cook in the oven. Even just post it notes on the computer at work will reinforce your goals and raise your willingness to follow through. Don’t rely on your memory, stick em up for all to see!
Step 4: Stick to them!
Sometimes the difference between a successful and unsuccessful mission is the accountability you put on yourself to complete it and this can mean something as little as telling someone close to you about it. Often times if you tell a loved one something that you’re working on, they will bring it up regularly, checking on how you’re going. Adding more people to the goal gives it more power and a higher chance of it being strived towards.
Remember, goal setting is an ongoing activity not just a means to an end. Build in reminders to keep yourself on track, and set aside time regularly to review your goals and your progress.
And when it comes to financial goals – we’ve got you covered with Frollo! If you haven’t tried the features, this week is a great time to get started. Open Frollo and go to the Goals tab or start a Challenge to help build some quick savings habits for the new year. (Did you know that Frollo users saved over $2m with Challenges in 2018?)
Happy goal setting Frollo-ers!