One excellent New Year’s resolution is setting goals. By goal setting, I don’t mean telling yourself something like, “I’m going to the gym three times a week this year.” I’m referring to the real practice of goal setting – thinking about what is important to you personally, professionally, and physically, and then writing some goals down that you want to accomplish in the coming year. Why write them down? They are way too easy to forget and ignore if you don’t. Also, there is something about writing them down that seems to make them real.
Focus – The biggest and most important thing that comes out of goal setting is focus. Focus is related to just about every other benefit of goal setting. Naming your goals helps you to focus throughout the specific time period.
Purpose – Why are you focusing on a specific goal? If you start with your values, and what is important to you, then you have purpose driving the tasks that you are doing.
Better decision making – Making decisions becomes easier if you have a goal that you want to accomplish. What impact will the decision have on reaching your goal?
Prioritizing – Having written goals can help you to prioritize what tasks need to be done on a daily and weekly basis. Some tasks may need to be put on the backburner, some tasks may need to be eliminated, and others may need to be done first.
Accountability – Once you write your goals down, you should share them with somebody and encourage that person to ask you about your goals at least monthly. Writing your goals down makes them seem more real, but sharing them with someone makes you accountable. What is your response going to be when you have gone a month without paying any attention to your goals?
Efficiency – Have you ever felt like you waste a lot of time? Most of us can easily waste an hour or two a day, doing nothing (social media anyone??). Free time is a great thing to enjoy, however, wasting time and having free time are two completely different things. Setting goals and reminding yourself of those goals is a great way to help you be more efficient with your time.
I would recommend grabbing a notepad and pen and writing some values and goals down for the next month and year; then start by taking small steps each week that will help you achieve those goals! Also, have you set any financial goals or goals with your financial advisor, and if not, WHY NOT?
Brad Bobb, CFP® is the owner of Bobb Financial Inc, and an expert in retirement planning for federal employees.