There’s something about starting a New Year that brings with it a renewed sense of motivation when it comes to money.
That fresh start where energy levels are high and excitement’s at its peak. You can do anything.
But we get to about February and the motivation starts to taper off. Sadly, by March most goals have been abandoned or forgotten.
Research shows that, in the end, only about 8 per cent of people stick with their good intentions.
So what do these 8 per cent of people do differently?
Experts say it has a lot to do with how they set themselves up for success. Specifically, they invest the time and effort into effective goal planning.
Here’s a list of the best results-driven tactics to ensure you’re one of the 8-per centers!
Get super clear
Vague or generalised goals such as ‘eat better’ or ‘save more’ won’t serve you.
They need to be specific and well defined, so that they can be measured. What? When? and How? As Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project explains, specific goals such as ‘lose 5 kilos in 12 weeks’ or ‘pay off credit cards by March’ are easier to measure, making the action steps towards achieving them less difficult to map out.
But there’s also the Why? Connecting emotion with your goals will help you remember why there were important to you in the first place and will reignite your passion for reaching them when things get difficult.
Write it down
Study after study has shown that those who write down their goals accomplish significantly more (42% more to be exact) than those who don’t.
Why? Because putting pen to paper forces you to clarify what you want, it motivates you to take action and it makes it easier for you to see your progress and celebrate your success. Need I say more?
Set up rewards
Adam Jelic, founder of the stationary brand Mi Goals, suggests celebrating your success by rewarding yourself once you have achieved your targets. Book a Bali getaway for smashing your fitness goals.
Maybe a winery weekend for clearing you credit debt (paid with cash, of course). Whatever it may be, rewards will help maintain your motivation and make reaching your goals even more satisfying.
Make yourself accountable
Us Gen Y’s like to use social media for this one, especially when it comes to our fitness goals. Our Facebook and Instagram feeds are full of people sharing their weight loss journeys and documenting their various stages.
So whether it’s a very public declaration or a more private announcement to your family, making your intentions known to somebody makes it harder to pull out, as your integrity is on the line. It encourages you to stay on track and helps fuel your desire to succeed.
Chances are, you’ll also have another person (or hundreds) cheering you on.
Tackle one new idea per week
In the well known book Work Smarter not Harder, author Jack Collis explains that attempting to make abrupt changes in your behaviour is not the way to go. Going after everything at once will deplete your willpower.
The best and most effective way to implement change is gradually, smoothly and systematically. This might sound slow, but taking on one new challenge per week equates to over 50 new techniques applied over the year! Compared to a failed attempt at all of them.
From boxing superstar Muhammad Ali to the highly successful actor and comedian Jim Carrey, these legends, among others, credit a large part of their success to picturing themselves achieving their goals.
Ali would habitually visualise himself being victorious and Carrey would imagine himself as the most well known and respected actor in Hollywood.
This extremely effective process can be applied to any area you want to improve. And the more vividly you can picture achieving your goal, the better it will work for you.
Think about all the little details. What will it look like? How will it make you feel when you reach it? Sit with that vision daily and watch the effect it has on your success.
Don’t expect perfection
Remember you are human and your journey won’t be a straight line to success.
Setbacks are part of the way, so don’t adhere to the ‘all or nothing attitude’. If you fall off the wagon, don’t wait until Monday to restart, jump back on today.
Some days just won’t work and that’s ok. Just resolve to keep on going, keep improving. Three steps forward and one step back is still moving forward.
We’ve all heard about the importance of being around the right people, especially when chasing our goals.
As life coach, author and motivational speaker Gabrielle Bernstein explains, when you’re in pursuit of a dream, there are many elements that can resist your path and block your forward motion.
Surrounding yourself with people that are genuinely cheering for you will help you disengage from this resistance and keep you moving forward.
These simple yet effective strategies will help you get the most out of everything, but only if you take action.