Set goals to improve personal finances

This was originally published on Monday, November 29 ,2016 in the Pacific Daily News.  Click here to subscribe to the PDN.

In just a month, we will be toasting in the New Year and wishing each other the best throughout the year. We think about resolutions that will help us improve our way of life.

One such resolution should be setting goals to better your personal finance health. The hardest part isn’t deciding what the goal is; it’s sticking to the goal. With a few tips you can create obtainable goals that will help you.

Successful people in all fields of life set goals. Goals help you with long-term vision and short-term motivation. It helps focus your time, effort and resources. Clear and defined goals will help you steer your life in the direction that you want. When setting goals, think SMART.

  • S: Specific. Vague goals are unsupportive because they don’t give you an adequate course. Goals are to help you find your way. Make it easy on yourself by setting clear and distinct goals that will get you exactly where you want to be.
  • M: Measurable. Without measuring your progress, you cannot celebrate your success. Measurable goals should have exact dates, amounts and time. How do you want to achieve your goal? When do you want to achieve it?
  • A: Attainable. Don’t set goals that aren’t possible. Impossible goals will only frustrate you, causing you to lose interest and eventually give up on your goals. On the other hand, goals that are too easy to achieve don’t give you a sense of accomplishment. A realistic and challenging goal is the perfect balance needed for success.
  • R: Relevant. Keep your goals in line with what you want from your life. Goals that are scattered and irrelevant are a waste of time, effort and resources. Cultivate the focus and drive your need to obtain your goals.
  • T: Time. When you think of a year, you might think that 365 days is a long time. But if you break the year down into quarters, the year becomes much more manageable. Set your goals with specific dates. If your goals are a year or longer, make milestones that mark your progress.

Some other tips

Keep your goals positive. Use motivating words such as “will” and “do.” Stay away from words that conjure uncertainty like “might” or “if.”

Make a list and write your goals down. Keep them in an area that you visit daily. Let others around you know of the goals you set. Your friends and family will hold you accountable and provide a great support system.

Know your individual steps. These steps provide a map to where you want to go.  Write your steps down and cross them off as you accomplish them.

Goal-setting is fluid and moves in the direction you need them to go. Being rigid with your goals sets you up for disappointment and eventually failure.

Stick with it. Goal-setting is much more than just saying what you want to happen — it’s encouraging yourself that you are worthy of the success and understanding that work is needed to get there.

Michael Camacho is president and chief executive officer of Personal Finance Center. He has more than 20 years of experience in retail banking and at financial institutions in Guam and Hawaii. If there is a topic you’d like Michael to cover, please email him at moneymattersguam@yahoo.com and read past columns at the Money Matters blog at www.moneymattersguam.wordpress.com

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