Financial Goals: Strategies for Staying Accountable
You’ve set your goal. You’ve planned out the route to get there and plotted benchmarks along the way so you can track your progress. Now what?
When it comes to saving money and reaching your financial goals, accountability plays a key role. Without a strategy in place to hold yourself accountable, it’s too easy to backslide. Forgot to transfer cash into savings? Oops, no big deal. Splurged on a new TV? Meh, I’ll make it up later.
Numerous research studies have shown the importance of accountability in reaching goals — regardless of whether those goals are personal, professional or monetary. And the first person that you need to be accountable to is yourself.
Keep these strategies in mind:
Set mini-goals: It’s easier to reach a major financial milestone if you break it down into smaller challenges. Keep a to-do list of daily and weekly tasks and focus on that, rather than how intimidating your big goal is.
Write it down: One of the easiest ways to stay accountable is to keep a written record of your financial progress. Start a finances journal and track everything you do (or don’t do) on your daily lists.
Be your own boss: If your employee was missing deadlines or skipping work, you’d sure have something to say about it! Don’t let yourself slide if you skip a planned money transfer or dip into savings for a non-essential item. Take time to figure out why you made the mistake, write down steps to ensure it won’t happen again, and then move forward.
Give yourself incentives: When you focus on sacrifices (for example, “I’ll stop going out to eat”), it’s harder to remain motivated. Consider adding a few incentives along your path of progress. By allowing yourself a small splurge at major milestones, you can focus on the rewards rather than the restrictions.
The Power of Sharing
There’s no harm in asking for help achieving your financial goals. In fact, there’s actually a benefit to sharing your progress with others. A study by The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD) found that participants had a 65% chance of reaching their goal if they made a commitment to someone else.1 If you set up regular appointments to check in with your goal partner or team, that percentage goes up even more!
Setting a monetary goal for yourself is the easy part. Staying on track and actually achieving the desired result is more challenging. By incorporating our strategies for accountability, you’ll have the necessary tools to stay the course. If you veer off-track and make money mistakes, don’t worry — just relax, forgive yourself, and use the strategies to help you get back on the road to your big goal!