The “One-two punch” is one of the first moves taught to a boxer in training because it tends to be easy and effective. It consists of quick jab with one hand followed by a cross punch (a much more potent punch than a jab) from the other hand. Secondly, this is a fundamental technique to build upon more complex techniques in the boxing world. As a former athlete this analogy resonates with me, because I have understood from experience the importance of the developing the fundamentals first.
Goal-setting in financial success is just that – the fundamental piece that sets you up to take on every financial situation. Successful goal setting is a multi-step process. People often say their goals are tasks like retiring with $1 million, visiting Paris, swimming with dolphins, saving for a new car, or starting an emergency fund. I would like to suggest that these are dreams not goals, and with a little bit of work they can become realizable goals. Just like the one-two punch doesn’t end with the first jab because the first jab doesn’t accomplish the job but rather sets up you for the second blow in the same way dreaming of what you want sets you up for the opportunity to create incredible goals. At the Center for Financial success we strongly encourage forming specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and timely goals. Specific goals have a much better chance at being achieved then a vague goal. For example, if you want to go on a spring break trip and leave your goal at saying, “I want to go somewhere for spring break” you will be much less likely to actually achieve that goal then if you state, “For spring break 2019, I would like to go to Destin, Florida for 5 days and stay at a beach-side condo that costs $100 a night.”
Measuring a goal is the point where you set forth concrete criteria to see if you are staying on track to attain your goal. When you have established such criteria and then you use the measure to evaluate if you are on pace to achieve a goal it can create a sense of accomplishment that encourages you to keep pressing on towards your goal. Let’s assume you have ten months to save $1,000 for the trip to Destin. This would mean you need to save $100 a month therefore you can measure the goal by looking at your savings at the end of each month and see if you have save another $100 dollars.
The final three steps are attainable, realistic, and timely. This part involves examining your time frame for achieving your goal and determining if the time frame is realistic and attainable. For example, if spring break is 10 months away and costs $1,000, but you are in a position where you are only able to put $50 a month towards this goal then it is not attainable. At this point you should not ditch the goal, but rather determine how to proceed. Should you adjust your time frame? Maybe waiting until the fall would make more sense or you might determine that you have enough time to pick up an extra side job to stay on the same time frame.
When making realistic goals, your goals need to be personal to you. It is easy to build goals based off what everyone else is doing, but those same goals may not truly align with what you define as success and a full life. Do not be tempted to live someone else’s dream. Figure out your dreams, make them goals and write down a plan to accomplish them.
There is little you won’t be able to accomplish when you have written goals that you actively work towards and track your progress. Finally, it is tempting in the goal-setting process to make goals that are easily achieved and that never challenge you to reach them. I caution this because I am not convinced that you will be able to achieve the dreams that you will really want achieve. Do not let the fear of failure keep you from achieving tough goals!
At the WKU Center for Financial Success we are in the business of helping you make your goals a reality. Consider scheduling a free appointment with one of our Peer Financial Counselors. It is easy, just visit our website and fill out a form that takes 30 seconds and you could be on your journey to achieving your dreams!
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