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6 Ways to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Financial Journey (featured column)
by Karen Kuebler

Did you accomplish your goals this year? If so, keep doing what you’ve been doing. If not, maybe it is time to approach your goal setting process differently.

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The following are techniques that have proven to be effective and will help guide you. I specifically discuss the achievement of financial goals, but the principles can be applied to all areas of your life.

Set Realistic, Specific, and Relevant Goals

Make sure your goals are relevant and meaningful to you. In order to accomplish any task, we have to "own" it. The goal will come alive for you if you are passionate about achieving it. Whatever you choose to attain must be realistic.

Let’s say you are making an annual income of $30,000 currently and your goal is to increase your annual income to $80,000. It wouldn’t be realistic to expect that to happen in one year. However, the goal can be broken into smaller pieces. Any large or complex goal should be set-up in measurable and achievable phases. Make the outcomes specific and measurable by giving them a timeline and stating specifically what you want to achieve.

It’s also preferable to make the goals a bit of a stretch. Could you accomplish this goal in five years? It might be a stretch, but with enough commitment and action it is doable. You can set the goal to increase your income by $10,000 per year for the next five years. There are many successful people who have set outcomes that required a greater stretch than this and have made their dreams come true.

What tasks would you need to accomplish during the coming year to carry out your long-term goal? Do you need to further your education? Register for courses in college to complete a degree program. Set an appointment with your manager to discuss what specific skills you would need to master to be eligible for a promotion. Consider other skills, talents and hobbies you enjoy and research ways you could turn these into profitable ventures. Find a mentor at work who would be willing to work with you to further develop and hone your skills. The possibilities are endless.

Write down your long-term goal with specific dates and numbers. Write down the steps you will take this year to work toward the desired outcome. Schedule steps for each month of the year and schedule specific calls and appointments into your daily planner.

Practice Positive Affirmations Throughout the Day, Every Day 

When stating an affirmation, say it with conviction and as if it has already been accomplished. Let’s say your goal is to save $10,000 by the end of the year toward a down payment on a home. Write affirmations that you can repeat throughout the day. For example: "I am financially astute, and I am practicing saving techniques on a daily basis that will enable me to save $10,000 by the end of this year."

Don’t doubt and question whether you are capable. Your mind is a powerful tool. It will focus and direct you toward the outcomes you believe to be true. If you commit yourself to this process throughout the day, every day, your actions will follow the positive direction of your mind’s belief. You must follow-up with action. Stating affirmations alone, without action, will not accomplish the goal.

Take necessary steps to become financially astute. Set a specific task of reading articles one hour a week to learn about money matters. All the information you need is available.

Have Fun with Your Goals and Progress

Attitude is everything in the winning game. If you approach something you are doing as a form of punishment or deprivation, that is how you will feel. This attitude does not set you up for success. If you view the process as empowering and magical, you will not only create the outcomes you want, but you will have fun on your journey.

For example, your family wants pizza and you’re feeling deprived because you can’t spend the money if you are going to make the $10,000 goal. Everybody sits around moaning and complaining and making do with something out of the pantry or freezer. How do you feel right now? Instead, the family comes together to make pizza. Homemade dough doesn’t take long, and you can make all the pizza you want and even make half and half pizzas.

Create a colored thermometer on poster board, place it on the wall, and let family members take turns coloring in the savings line as it grows further up the chart. You probably easily saved $40 by making the pizza. You rent a great video for $3.50 and everybody enjoys the pizza while watching the movie. Now, how do you feel? A little more empowered, and not a bit deprived.

You can make a game out of just about anything if you work at it. Have the family create menus for the month and give a prize to the one who comes up with the most cost effective menus. Try the same with your recreation plans. Have everyone fill out a certain number of ideas on slips of paper and drop them into a jar. Set a limit with the cost of each activity. On the weekends, pull a couple of ideas from the jar for your family recreation.


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Copyright © 2001 by Karen Kuebler. All rights reserved.

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