Many people start new financial goals with the turn of the year, but hold on to a new goal (financial or otherwise) can be challenging. If you have already missed some of your financial goals, trust that you are not alone. It's not uncommon for it to take several tries to finally master a new habit. So if you want to get back to your financial goals, here are some suggestions.
Take a minute to assess where you are
First, take a minute to see where you are. Where did you start and where are you going Emotionally, you may feel that you have completely missed your financial goals. However, if you sit down to evaluate, you may not find that you are not doing quite as badly as you feared.
The best time to evaluate things is when you can sit down and dispassionately think about the situation and really give an unbiased opinion about where you are with your financial goals. In the heat of the moment (good or bad) you are unlikely to give yourself an accurate account. Instead, take some time to determine when you are calmer.
Pay attention to where your money is going
If you are unsure of what you are spending your money on, this may be the first problem to solve. Remember that a budget is just a tool that can help you stop spending money on things that are not important to you so that you still have money on the things that are important to you. A tool like Mint can help you keep track of where your money is going.
If you are sharing bills with a partner or roommate, make sure of it You and your partner agree on who pays for what. Good communication is key here to make sure all bills are paid and everyone feels that the agreement is fair.
Adjust your budget and set new goals
After you have a good idea of where your money is going, it's time to evaluate your existing goals. If you feel like you have missed a little on the financial goals you set yourself before, there is no better time than today to adjust things and move to a more realistic place. Don't feel "failed" if you are not exactly where you want to be. Instead, use the time to transfer yourself to a better place.
By now you've likely found some things that you thought were good that didn't work out exactly as you hoped. But you've probably identified some things that work great as well. Use the Stop, Start, Continue pattern to find out what to do:
Stop what you're doing now
Start with what you don't
Keep going because they're fine
By identifying these areas, you can repair the ship and get back to your financial goals.
Another important step in getting back on track is establishing some accountability. Accountability can work in different ways depending on your personal situation. If you're in a healthy relationship, this is a good idea Talk to your spouse or partner about your money. For those on the same page financially, the two of you can help support each other. If money is something that is difficult to talk about in your relationship, there is always something there Ways to Overcome Financial Disagreements.
If you are single or not in a place where you share the finances with your partner, one option may be to find a partner in charge. Try to find a trusted friend or family member who is also looking for accountability. This can be a great way to help both of you. If not, the most important thing is to write down your financial or other goals. Goals are much harder to achieve when you try to keep them in mind.
Don't fall off the cart if you make a mistake
The final tip to help you regain control of your financial goals is to know that it's okay to slip up and make mistakes. Too many people make a mistake and then blow the whole plan. If you have been struggling with money all your life, it is not realistic to expect your habits to change overnight or even over the course of weeks or months. If you go over budget in any given month, see the bigger picture and celebrate your achievements. That could give you the energy and excitement to achieve even greater success.
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Dan Miller (49 posts)
Dan Miller is a freelance writer and founder of PointsWithACrew.com, a website that helps families travel for free / cheap. His home base is Cincinnati, but he tries to travel the world as much as possible with his wife and 6 children.