t’s the New Year. Time for resolutions, most of which get broken? Maybe not. But, how about something different this year? How about committing to getting serious about your finances? Think about being at the end of this year and being able to look back and say, “Yes, I did it. I am a different person when it comes to my finances. I am proud of the progress I am making!” If this is you, read on. Here are five things you need to know right now to get off on the right track with your 2018 finances.
Get Honest About Where You Are At Right Now
Everybody starts in a different place, but if you want to make changes, you do have to start. And the best place to start is figuring out where you are at right now. It might not be pretty, but you need to get real about some things. How much money you have, how much debt you owe, how much money you are making and how money much you’re spending. You can’t get a plan together until you know how you sit right now.
Commit To Being More Disciplined
Did you do something substantive last year? Maybe lost twenty pounds or reached another big goal? As you may have found, real change requires discipline. It’s the same with your finances. If you want to make positive changes to your financial picture, you’ll need some discipline. I know sometimes that’s easier said than done. But, remember, big journeys start with the first step. And, the first step can be committing to staying with it this time. The benefits certainly outweigh the burden.
Find An Accountability Partner
If you’re married, you should have your spouse work with you on your finances. It’s a team effort. But, if not, you need to have another person to whom you can answer about your money habits. It’s a lot easier to stay committed to something if you have a partner at your side. Word of caution, though. Pick a partner who is willing to hold you accountable. You don’t need a person who isn’t on board with what you are doing. It can only make things more difficult. Find a person who is a cheerleader, but who can also call a spade a spade. Someone who’ll call you out when you are not doing what you said you were going to do.
Set Some Long-Term Goals…
Ultimately, it’s important to have some long-term financial goals at which you are aiming. Do you want to travel and see the world? Do you want to get free from your job and set your own agenda? Do you want to write that great American novel that you have always thought you had in you? Do you just want to spend more time with your family? These goals all have one thing in common. They aim at getting you to the goal of having time. Time to do whatever it is that you feel is important. And, money can help you find time.
Goals are the “why” behind your actions. And you want them to have substance. You determine that substance, but have a reason why you do what you do. It helps to give your life more purpose.
But Have A Day-to-Day Plan
Long-term goals are great. But if you don’t take the day-to-day steps to get you where you want to be, then the goals aren’t goals. They’re dreams. Your goals need legs to get results. So, you need to spend time creating a plan to get you to your desired result. Remember, though. It’s not important to have all the steps figured out. Shoot for not spending more than one-third of your time planning. You need to be taking action. Action is what gets results. For example, if you have a goal of eating in more this year, take steps daily to make that happen. It’s the daily steps taken that get you to the result you want.
Now is a great time to get started on creating the best 2018 that you can. You want to be able to look back that last week of December this year and say, “2018 was more than I thought it could be. Setting and reaching my goals for this year has been worth it!” So, get to work. Plan (no more than one-third of your time) and then take action. You’ll be so glad you did!!