The new year is a great time to evaluate progress toward financial goals and make new ones. After all, “more money” is usually not your root goal as you start a new year! Instead, financial abundance can be viewed as a tool to help you achieve your goals, whatever they may be. Getting clarity on what you value and what you want to achieve in 2023 can help to provide a roadmap for your financial decisions throughout the year and remind you of what you truly value.
Reflect On Your Values
Our values are what guide us through life, so our goals should be in sync with them – especially when it comes to your finances. When you tie your goals to your unique set of values, a few things tend to happen:
- You’re more likely to work toward your goals. It can be tricky to set goals around the new year, or to create resolutions, and follow through for the next 12 months. Whether you want to get in shape or save for a family vacation, it takes discipline in your daily decisions to get from Point A to Point B.
- You feel more fulfilled once you accomplish your goals. If you are working toward accomplishing things that are in alignment with your values, you’re more likely to get joy and fulfillment out of life. For many, setting goals around health and career or financial growth is something they do each January. However, without tying them to a clear “why” accomplishing those goals may feel meaningless.
The Recipe for a Successful Goal
Only 9% of people keep their New Year’s resolutions. That’s a dismal statistic! One reason that people often fall off the bandwagon when it comes to their resolutions is because they’re setting goals that aren’t specific enough and aren’t easy to achieve. For example,
- I want to get in shape.
- In 2023, I’ll travel more.
- I want to save more for retirement this year.
These are all fantastic goals, but they lack specificity – which makes them tough to stick with. There’s no real way to define success, which can leave you feeling defeated as you work toward the end game.
Have you ever heard of SMART goals? SMART goals are more than just a savvy way to set goals that are easy to stick to – they’re a framework for clearly defining the goals you want to work toward and putting a timeframe around them to measure progress.
“SMART” is actually an acronym that stands for:
- S - Specific
- M - Measurable
- A - Achievable
- R - Realistic
- T - Timely
Let’s look at an example of how SMART goals could play out in your finances.
- S - I will save $5,000 for a family vacation that takes place in November of 2023.
- M - I will check my progress monthly using a budgeting app.
- A - I’ll automate savings contributions from each of my paychecks to make this more achievable.
- R - Although I would love to take my family on an international trip this year, a domestic trip to a national park will fit better within our $5,000 budget in 2023. I’ll research which national park has the best family activities for the kids.
- T - I’ll need to book lodging and flights no later than September, with the rest of the trip expenses happening when we travel in November. I’ll make sure I have enough automatically saved to achieve both of these time-based milestones.
The goal of “travel more” is made much more tangible (and therefore easy to stick with!) using the SMART goals technique.
Prioritize Your Goals
One thing that's important to keep in mind when making goals is that they might change over time. There’s no real way to predict in January what will happen over the next 12 months. Life can shift and change overnight, and your goals should be flexible as you move through the year.
To counteract the fluid nature of life, start a habit to revisit your goals quarterly to make sure they still match up with what makes the most sense for you and your family in the moment. For example, saving for a family trip (as outlined above) may make sense at the beginning of the year. But, if halfway through the year you find that you’re presented with an unexpected expense, it’s okay to pivot to a less expensive option or to reprioritize your goals.
Make it Happen!
Now that you have your goals established, it’s time to work hard to make them happen. Teaming up with a fee-only financial planner can help you to create a roadmap for achieving your goals. Want to learn more? Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation! I’d love to learn more about your 2023 goals and help highlight how a holistic financial plan can get you to where you want to be.
This information does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any securities or investment strategy and is intended for informational purposes only. Investments are subject to market risk, including the loss of principal, and the investment strategies described may not be suitable for all investors. Equities are subject to market risk meaning that stock prices, in general, may decline over short or extended periods. The information contained does not take into account any investor's specific individual investment objectives, particular needs, or financial situation. Nothing in this material constitutes investment, legal, accounting, or tax advice, or a representation that any investment or strategy is suitable or appropriate.