As the end of the year approaches, it can be very tempting to give up on your financial goals. With the holiday season here, it is so easy to get wrapped up in the festivities and forget your financial focus. But if the ball has not yet dropped and the New Year cheers have not been sung, you still have time. Here are a few tips to ensure you hit your financial goals before the end of 2020:
Step 1: Adjust Your Goals
Even the most well-intentioned financial plans can fall short. We set wildly exciting goals at the beginning of the year but as the year progresses and life ‘happens’ our financial goals can become lost or even abandoned. And that’s okay. But if you want to end the year with a few money goals checked off the list, it is important to adjust those goals and create a new plan. Check in on the goals that you set at the beginning of the year and place each goal into one of the following categories:
1. Action – What goals MUST be achieved before the end of the year.
2. Move – What goals can be moved to next year.
3. Delete – What goals are no longer necessary and can be removed.
Step 2: Prioritize Your Goals
It would be great to achieve all of our goals, but sometimes when we chase after too many things at once we are thrown into many different directions and end up going nowhere. The best approach to achieve any goal in life is to be laser focused on that goal. Take your list of ‘Action Goals’ from Step 1 and order them from most to least important.
Take your #1 goal – which is now your Priority Goal – and brainstorm a few ideas to determine how you can achieve this goal. Remember, the time horizon will be short, therefore you must think of the fastest method to your goal’s destination. This will also create the necessary momentum that will be needed to work on the remaining goals once this goal has been achieved.
Step 3: Make a Plan
A goal without a plan is only a wish, and you are not here to only wish for financial success! Take your list of brainstormed ideas in Step 2 and create an action plan. It might be easier to first write down all the things that will be required, batch similar tasks together, then create due dates and milestones. If you need to schedule meetings or tasks into your calendar go ahead and do that now. Do whatever is necessary to make it easy to execute the plan.
Step 4: Set Check-In Points
The timer is running, and you do not have time to waste. If you wait until the end of the year to check in on your progress, it will be a little too late. Set up weekly or even daily check-ins to see how you are progressing against the plan. This is also a great time to reflect on anything that is currently getting in your way. Remove any physical or mental obstacles so that you have a clear path to achieve your goal. If you find yourself off track, simply adjust the plan and timelines but do not give up on the goal. You are almost there.
Step 5: Automate
The ‘Set It & Forget It’ approach is perfect to follow when you are working towards a major financial goal. You already have enough on your plate, and with the holidays you will only get busier. Do not leave achieving your financial goal up to chance; automate as much of your plan as possible. For example, if your plan is to save $500 before the end of the year, set up an automatic savings plan to have the money transferred into your savings account every week. If your goal is to pay off $1,000 in debt, set up weekly automatic debt payments so that the money is paid to your debts and not sitting in your chequing account at the risk of being spent. Automating will reduce any unnecessary feelings of being overwhelmed and stressed. It also makes it easier to follow through on your plan.
Achieving your financial goals is possible, no matter how much time is left on the clock. Get intentional with your goals, focus on what you want to achieve and then action the plan to get you there. Financial success is within your reach, always.
Vanessa Bowen is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) and Master Neuro-Linguistic Programming Practitioner (NLP) and the Founder of Mint Worthy, a personal finance coaching platform that helps women shift their relationship with money and take control of their finances.
Vanessa Bowen is a paid spokesperson of Sonnet Insurance.