As 2014 has rolled over into 2015 people have invariably affirmed some New Year’s resolutions, but did you know that around one out of four people abandon their resolutions after one week! Seven days is all it takes to swerve off course.

This isn’t because they have changed their minds about what they want, it’s because they haven’t properly envisioned how they will achieve their goals. There was a study done, showing that writing down your goals makes you 42% more likely to achieve them.

  • Create a detailed plan

Ask yourself exactly how you are going to get from where you are to where you want to go. In what timeframe do you see yourself achieving your goal? How much do you have to save each month? Be clear when answering these questions, but make sure they are realistic.

  • Add flexibility

Your goals need to be able to adapt to real life stresses and not fall apart when one step of the journey veers from plan. If you decide to be debt free in five years, can you actually come up with 1/60th of the amount this month? If your goal doesn’t work in the short term then it won’t work in the long term.

  • Set milestones

Focussing on shorter timeframes can be a powerful tool when goal planning. Let’s say you are planning on saving R50 000 in a year, that’s around R4200 a month, R1050 a week. It becomes a whole lot easier to plan a day-to-day saving routine that adds up to R1050 in a week than the broad task of saving R50 000 over a year.

  • Automate it

Once you have broken your plan down into small milestones, the next step is to automate your plan. Setting up an automatic savings transfer that can put away R1050 a week into a savings account will put you in a position where you focus on living after making room for your goal rather than whether you should make room for your goal.

  • Fight temptation

After accumulating a fair sum into your account it can be very tempting to access those savings on a whim. Impulsive decisions will undermine your goals, so keeping your money in a remote financial institution without ATM access is favourable for your investments.

Writing down goals forces you to clarify the outcome that you desire. After clarifying your aims you can break down your goal into smaller milestones that can be crossed off as you make progress. Reading the goals back will then help you to focus on what you want to achieve, rather than getting caught up with the barriers that might be preventing you from fulfilling your objective.

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