Set Personal Goals Using These 4 Guidelines

When was the last time you thought about your 2019 New Year’s Resolution? If it’s recently, good for you! But if you’re like most Americans, the last time you probably thought about it was February. And now we’re already coming in on the final months of the year.

The way we set goals determines how successful we’ll be. Use these guidelines to tackle goals in a way that research has proven more effective.

1. A goal should be attainable.

One of the biggest rookie mistakes in goal setting is to bite off more than we can chew. A reasonable goal will be smaller than the traditional goal setting. Swap out an enormous goal, like “pay off my house” with a smaller step that will get you there, like “Save money by eating at home more often.” Then follow the next steps to make it stick.

2. A goal should be actionable.

If you’re making $50,000 a year, it’s not reasonable to say you want to save $100,000 in one year. Set yourself up for success by creating goals that are realistic to your environment and abilities. Once your goal becomes a habit, you can change what may be considered “actionable” for you.

3. A goal should be measurable.

Goals like “Get out of debt” or “get healthy” are too ambiguous to be tracked; and that’s part of the reason they’re popular. Minimal or maximum effort could still both fall under the umbrella of “healthier” or “less in debt” than when you started. But it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve accomplished what you set out to do. Be specific in numbers—like save $1,000 or eat veggies 3 times a day.

4. A goal should be timed.

The trend of New Year’s resolutions sets a precedent that a life should be entirely different and better in one year. Instead, create a reasonable timeline. Tracking progress over an entire year is bound to give anyone burnout! Opt for smaller goals on shorter timelines, like a set amount of money in savings by a specific date. Once you hit that date, it’s time to set a new goal.

Between everything to be accomplished and the short deadlines, the holiday season is a great time to practice goal setting so you can gear up for a successful new year of accomplishing anything you set out to do.


Kat’s Money Corner is posted in the Kansas City Star every week. Kat Hnatyshyn, when not blogging or caring for her little ones, is a manager with CommunityAmerica Credit Union. For more financial chatter, follow us on Twitter @CommunityAmerCU.

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