5-Week Financial Fitness Challenge: Week Two
Did you know that it takes an average of 66 days to form a new habit? That’s 66 days of consistent, thoughtful work. Motivation to change habits can wane without a specific and measurable goal to work toward. “It is our nature to want to do better,” says Jennifer Rideout, Wealth Advisor, Assante Capital Management Ltd. But, without a goal in place, it is difficult to be accountable for our results. “When we write things down and have a plan to review them,” Rideout explains, “they normally happen.”
When you are setting your goal, there are a few key things to keep in mind.
Ask yourself: what do I want to accomplish? Why is it important to me? For example, if your goal is to save more, Rideout says, “start with looking at your spending vs. income each month.” Once you have an idea of how much you can save, make sure your goal reflects that amount. Setting out to put $100 per month into savings is a much more effective goal than simply ‘saving more.’
Measurable and Achievable
Rideout explains: “It needs to be measurable so you can see the impact.” Ask yourself: how will I know when the goal is accomplished? What are the milestones along the way to success? You need to be able to measure your progress toward your goal so you can stay focused, meet your deadline, and feel motivated and excited as you get closer to your goal.
Your goal also needs to be attainable – it should challenge you, but success should be entirely possible. Your first goal may seem small, but “the key,” says Rideout, “is to start today with what you can do.” Small successes add up over time.
Relevant and Time-bound
To make sure your goal is relevant, ask yourself: does this seem worthwhile? Is this the right time? “Book time in your calendar for your financial health review regularly,” says Rideout. “I would suggest at least annually or when there is a major change coming up.” Doing these regular reviews allows you to set goals that are relevant to your present socioeconomic needs.
Finally, give yourself a realistic deadline to accomplish your goal. You will work more diligently when the goal is time-sensitive.
Most important, says Rideout: “Reward yourself when you reach a goal.” You’ve done the hard work, take a moment to enjoy your accomplishment and then start working toward your next goal. You’ll be even more motivated to continue your success.
Check out the Week 3 Blog on Dealing with Debt.