Monday, 8 May 2017

Are Your Financial Goals Achievable?

By Miriam Caldwell
Updated January 02, 2017
Have you ever set a great goal that you really want to accomplish, and then look at yourself a year later and wonder why you didn’t reach it? As you set your goals this year and work on making changes, it is important to consider whether or not you are setting yourself up for failure. There are a number of reasons, you may not be able to reach the goal. You need to ask yourself these five questions as you set your goals this year so that you can make real, lasting changes in your future.

Is It in Your Control?
This may seem obvious to some people, but in reality people often set goals that may be partly or entirely out of their control. You may be able influence things to make that goal happen, but you may still struggle to reach those specific goals. For example, one goal may be that you want a promotion at your job. You may list all of the steps that you need to take to qualify for the promotion, but the decision is out of your hands. Your boss is the person who decides who gets the promotion. Another goal may be relationship wise to start a relationship. While you can do things to help you meet new people, the entire goal is not within your ability to achieve since it is partly dependent on another person. Make sure that your goals are completely in your control of achieving.

Is It Realistic?
This one is easier to understand. You need to look at your current circumstances and determine if the timeline and the goal itself is realistic to achieve.

For example, if you have $100,000 in student loan debt and currently make around $40,000 a year, you are not going to be able to pay that all off in the next year, even if you took on extra work. You need to set goals that you can honestly achieve, so that you do not become frustrated and end up not reaching the goal at all.

Paying down a large amount of debt over a year is better than giving up because you realize you cannot pay it all of at once.  

Are You Taking on Too Much?
When you are looking at this question, you need to consider everything you are trying to accomplish in all areas of your life. Usually people will set New Year’s resolutions in several different areas. You need to make sure you have the time and focus to reach all of your goals. It may be that your work goals conflict with your goals to lose weight because you do not have enough time to do both. Take the time to make sure you can fit everything into your daily and weekly schedule. It may mean slowing down some goals, or putting them on hold. It may mean prioritizing things a bit differently, but if you can be successful with one goal, you may be able to set a new one later in the year. It helps to be really focused on achieving a specific goal. You should also consider how your goals affect your financial situation so you can adjust your budget and goals accordingly.

Do You Really Want It?
The next question you need to ask yourself is if you really want to reach that goal. It’s not enough to make a goal to exercise just because you know you should.

This is not going to be enough to motivate you to make the changes that you need to in your schedule. You need to want to reach your goals, and it helps to have something attached to the goal at the end. For example, if you want to start exercising regularly set a goal to run a 5k or to be able to lift a certain amount of weight by a specific amount of time. Think about your financial goals. It is not enough to simple stick to a budget, you need to have a goal that you are working toward with that budget rather it’s getting out of debt or saving for a specific expense. This will help you reach your goal. It helps to have a support system in place to give you the motivation that you need to reach your goals.

Is Your Goal Actionable?
Can you look at your goal and create a plan to help you to achieve it?

Are there specific actions you need to take to reach your goal? For example, if you want to get out of debt, you can create a plan where you put a certain amount extra toward your debt each month, and you stick to your budget so you do not add on additional debt.  If you are setting career goals, can you outline the steps you need to take to reach them? This question can be answered by creating a step-by-step plan to reach your goal.