Its that time of year again!
The new year can make us acutely aware of how things went for us the year before. It can be a time of positive or negative contemplation. Goal setting has become a favourite task of mine in December/January, and I love having an excuse to buy a new notebook to get started. I think goal setting is important because it gives your life more structure.
“Often we can float through life, hoping stuff will happen, but not planning on how we’ll actually achieve it”
So this week I thought I share with you how I set goals of the year ahead, and hopefully give you the motivation and inspiration to set yours. Even if you don’t run a business or a blog, you will have specific things that you will want to achieve in the year ahead, and especially in the area of money. We all have big events to pay for, be it Christmas, Birthdays or Weddings. And if you don’t have weddings to pay for, then you really should consider having an emergency fund. Why not make 2018 the year that you give your credit card a break and actually have cash saved up for once?
So when it comes to deciding how to do this, I think the most important thing to bear in mind is that goal setting should be relevant and achievable. There are various ways this can be done, but SMART goals are a well known example of how goal setting could be done.
There are numerous examples, but I like the one from envisionexperience.com that stands for:
Image from envisionexperience.com
I find taking a fresh sheet of paper in my notebook to be good for this exercise.
Where to start
When I’m thinking about what goals I want to achieve, I think of my “wheel of life”. These are my choices, but you can choose anything you like and add more in if you have more ideas. I think its good to focus on just a few major areas though to avoid taking on too much and not achieving anything of significance. We want a fine balance between achievement and overwhelm!
With a “wheel of life”, in order to assess where you think you are, you need to shade the pie-slice. Ideally, the wheel should be fully shaded, but in reality it never is. So for me for example, my relationship with Tom is excellent, so I would shade it in fully. My focus on health has been quite neglected, so I would only shade it 30%.
It then looks like this:
So now I can see where I feel that I’ve neglected things, and where I need to focus more effort. It can feel overwhelming at first, but I don’t want you to feel like this. We’re taking baby steps, and only have to get better 1% every day.
The next step is to work out what you could do in each area.
Take another sheet of paper in your notebook and make the following table with the smart acronym across the top and the segments of your life down the left side column:
|Life Segment||Specific – what do I want achieve?||Meaningful – why do I want this?||Action orientated – what steps/resources do I need?||Realistic – how will I know when I’ve achieved it?||Timely – when do I want to achieve this by?|
This is the framework you will be using throughout the year to give yourself structure so you’re not just “drifting”. I would use the 6 month point to check in with the goals and see if you’re on track. The key word in all this is “specific”. For example, for all my money goals I have a cash amount that I want in place by the end of the year. Don’t be airy fairy otherwise you won’t achieve them!
If you want to go another step further, use a best self-journal.
This diary breaks down 3 top goals you have into 3-month chunks to make them easier to work on. Those goals are split into the individual steps you have to take to reach the main goal. There are lots of features that I find really helpful like self-assessment of each week, daily gratitude recording, and daily inspirational quotes. Its pricier than a normal diary, but then it is more involved than a normal diary. I find it really helps me to stay focused and I don’t feel so overwhelmed. If you can’t stretch to a self-diary, go on their website and download a pdf example of a page. Then find a cheap “day to page” diary and document the same information that you would in a self-diary for a similar effect.
This is something that I don’t always do, but I should more often. Celebrate the small stuff. Celebrate a new subscriber, a nice comment or that today you managed at least one thing on your “to-do” list when you really didn’t want to do anything at all. We need to be less harsh on ourselves.
Celebrate on our Facebook group – when you pay off a debt, save an emergency fund or cut up your credit cards. Show us pictures, ask for support and encouragement, and help others.
“2018 is our year – Our aim is to become wealthy in more ways than just cash (but more cash drastically helps achieve MOST goals!)”
My word for the year is “balance”.
What about yours?
Until next time,