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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Setting Goals

When was the last time you put your goals down on a piece of paper? I put mine down fairly regularly. I don’t always achieve my goals, but they are usually the ones that aren’t in line with the rest of my goals. When I find goals that don’t fit, I take them off or adjust them.

I have been working diligently on my financial goals for the past year. My first goal is to save a certain amount of money by October. My husband and I are right on track to do this. Our next financial goal is to pay off all credit cards and other small bills by next year. We are working on paying off everything except the mortgage and my student loan. Then my ultimate goal is to begin saving/investing half of our income every year within the next two-three years. This will be feasible when most of our bills are paid off.

Nowhere on my list do I ever mention attempting to make more money to reach my goals. Would I like more money? Sure, but I don’t want the hassle that goes along with making more money either. Therefore, I plan my goals around what I make currently. If I make more money, than I will start using the surplus to pay more bills. I don’t want to count on it though.
The point here is that writing my goals down has helped me achieve them. I look at them regularly and we even have the first goal posted on a visualization board (for another post) in our bedroom. My husband and I discuss our goals on a regular basis to make sure we are still on the same page. We also discuss any purchases that we make that are over a certain amount and do not help us reach our goal. On our own, we consider whether smaller purchases are really worth it. So far, this is working out well and has even brought us closer together. It has taught us to communicate more often and money is no longer a topic that brings anxiety. The topic actually brings us joy and excitement now.

Get out a pen and paper or your computer. Sit down with your significant other and discuss each of your goals financial or otherwise. My husband and I found that most of our goals were the same, but some were different. That’s okay. My goals were mostly creative goals like learning to paint and learn to do pottery (I have since been learning to paint with acrylics and I am enrolled in a pottery class). If you are married, you should have quite a few common goals to reach together. You will need to compromise if they are not exactly the same. Set reasonable and attainable goals especially for now. If it is a money goal, start with cutting back on something or saving a certain amount per month. It doesn’t have to be lofty. You could also try reading a financial book like “Total Money Makeover” by Dave Ramsey. We did and that is what made us get gazelle intense about all of this. Check it out.

Just get your goals where you can see them and think about them often. The more they are on your mind, the more likely you are to start doing things that are in line with reaching these goals. Good luck!

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