Making new year resolutions that actually work Goal Setting

Posted on Thursday, November 7 2013

Making new year resolutions that actually work Goal Setting

After having some time off over xmas many of us start thinking about what we want to achieve over the coming year. However as the year moves on our new years resolutions often disappear into the ether, never to be seen again…or until next new years! So how do you increase your success rate?

Goal Setting Tip #1: Have an emotional connection to your goals
It’s our heart and feelings that really motivate us. However we often use only our heads and logic to achieve our goals. If you can find an emotional connection to what you want to achieve you will often dramatically improve your chances of success. I had a client recently whose goal was to save for a house deposit. She earned a good income but her financial discipline left a lot to be desired. She set up a savings account in a separate bank from her main banking, so she wouldn’t be tempted to use the funds when she saw them. That still didn’t work so I had her change the name of her account to House Deposit Savings and since then she has continuingly saved. She just needed a more emotional link to help her make the changes she needed to get money into the account.

Goal Setting Tip #2: Ensure that your goals are realistic
Often we get really enthusiastic and make our goals too ambitious. Let say your goal was to pay off your debts. I’ve seen many clients who have tens of thousands of dollars in debts and they just don’t know where to start. Be brave and make a list of all your debts, the interest rate, minimum payments and term, etc. This may seem simple but often people avoid this because it puts the amount they owe right in front of them. Having it all laid out in black and white can be scary, however it’s the first step in being debt free. Look at your budget and find as much spare cash as you can and start making regular extra payments to reduce your debt. Update your balances every month so you can see how your debt balances are reducing. Even a small amount will make a difference. Of course the more you can pay off the better. Imagine how you will feel when you have paid them off. And as an added bonus once they are paid you can now put that money into savings.

Goal Setting Tip #3: Break it down
One of my favourite sayings is ‘How do you eat an elephant? Bite by bite.” Often we get really overwhelmed by what needs to happen for us to achieve a goal. Break your goals into a number of small tasks. Then just focus on achieving one at time. I’m a fan of writing your tasks down and then crossing them off once you achieved them. It’s really satisfying seeing your list with lots of crossed at lines on it. Using a big black pen can be even more satisfying. If you take this approach you will be often be surprised how quickly all those little tasks add up and you will have achieved your goals before you know it.

By Lisa Dudson

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Expert's Bio

Lisa Dudson

Lisa has been providing financial guidance in the areas of property, business and financial planning for over 12 years. She is the bestselling author of numerous books, previous Vice President of the Auckland and NZ Property Investors Associations and is one of the most experienced financial educators in NZ. Find Lisa On Google+

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