Are you still financially focussed?

05 Mar 2013

By Campbell Sorell

We're now into March and 2013 is in full swing. Are you one of those people who set financial goals at the start of the year, but then forget to refocus during the year?

If financial fitness was on your shopping list, how are you staying accountable?

If you really want to change your financial behaviour this year, it's time to take stock and review where you're at.

According to recent research, about a quarter of you didn't make it past the first week, and less than half of you will keep your goals beyond six months.

If you're struggling with your financial goals and want to create positive change this year, here are five tips to help you achieve success.

  1. Pick one goal, not many – It can be self-defeating to attempt a complete change of your financial life all at once. Keep it simple and choose to focus on one goal that will either have the greatest impact on your finances, is easy to accomplish, or simply is the one with the best chance of success. This goal may be as simple as 'save 10% of my household expenditure' or 'review my personal insurances'. By breaking it down to one key goal, this will increase the probability of success.
  2. Manage your emotions – As goals can be emotionally driven, this can make an already challenging financial goal that much more difficult. You need to keep the emotional impact to a minimum to ensure it does not corrode your goal-seeking framework. Learning to control your emotions is not always easy and can take time. If they are getting in the way of achieving your goal, notice the triggers to help you manage them.
  3. Track your progress – This is critical. I have created my own 'diary of development and direction' and I write down how my financial goal has progressed each day. It works wonders and helps reinforce the positive behavioural changes I'm making. Also, this can be achieved in conjunction with affirmations relating to the goal at hand (and dream maps – a visual reminder) for even greater power.
  4. Celebrate a milestone – It is important to sit back, celebrate and then refocus when you have made tangible progress towards reaching your goal (and of course when you achieve it). Create incentives and rewards to reinforce these positive habits. For instance, if your goal is to save money, it is important to set aside a small amount to spend when you achieve certain targets. You are then more likely to work harder to achieve your overall goal.
  5. Share your goals with others – By entrusting others for support, you will improve your chances for success. This will help keep you accountable and increase the likelihood of maintaining a goal. You don't have to work on your goals on your own. In fact, enlisting help from friends and getting them to follow similar financial goals at the same time can be very effective.

These may be simple tips, but they work and will help you stay financially focused this year.

Quick, time is running out – good luck!

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