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Millionaire Money Habits

December 18th, 2007 at 12:45 pm

Financial Goals for the New Year

This time of year I pull out my goals for the year and assess how I did, and start to think about my goals for next year. While I pretty much know what my goals are and work hard at them throughout the year, I was pleasantly surprised at what I have accomplished this year. Six of my twelve goals have been reached, and these were the important ones. Buying a new house, increase income by $x, saving up to travel to Ireland, and so on.

The remaining, unaccomplished goals were merely an interest I had at the time I wrote out my goals, or they lost a level of urgency. For example, one of my goals was to take a class and earn a real estate appraisal license. At the time I was thinking this would be a great skill to develop in order to better analyze and assess real estate investment opportunities. While I still think that may be a good idea, that’s on the back burner for now.

Another goal, which I now find amusing, was to write a fiction novel. I’m not sure what kind of mood I was in at that time, but I think I’ve lost interest there. Writing a novel or a book of any kind is a great accomplishment and can require a considerable commitment, but that’s not a priority for me right now. Learning Spanish was another one that didn’t go too far.

The fun part is planning for the year ahead. How can I push myself to achieve more? Where can I grow outside my comfort zone to develop new skills? What new experiences can I plan to see the world through a different perspective? How high can I set the financial bar?

While it’s common for people to set a New Year’s resolution, I think several goals should be set. While it is important to have a focus on one or two major accomplishments, such as losing weight, why limit yourself to just one thing? This year, consider breaking your goals down into categories. For example:

  • Financial Goals: Reduce debt by 50 percent. Pay off car loan. Increase income by 10 percent. Regularly invest 15 percent of income in a 401k. Set a budget.
  • Career Goals: Become a top performer. Negotiate salary. Be promoted to x position. Find a new job in x field or company. Start a part-time, home-based business.
  • Personal Goals: Lose 20 lbs. Quit smoking. Learn a new language. Finish x project. Enroll in an MBA program. Clean out the attic.
  • Spiritual Goals: Give back by spending 5 hours a month volunteering. Become more involved in a religious organization.

The important thing is to set goals that are measurable. Goals that you can hold yourself accountable for. If, for example, you say, “I’m going to reduce my debt.” It would be easy to look back and say that you accomplished that goal, regardless of how much you reduced your debt. But, if you say, “I’m going to reduce my debt by X amount,” or, “I’m going to pay off my Visa in its entirety,” these are measurable goals that are either accomplished or they are not. There is no room for interpretation.

Secondly, it is important to reward yourself for achieving your goals. While there will be some personal gratification for achieving a goal and crossing it off the list, it is also nice to reward yourself with something you enjoy. At the end of your goals, dangle a carrot. For example, last year I really wanted a new pair of nice sunglasses, a new bike, and a GPS navigation system. I resisted purchasing these items until I reached my goal, which made me want to accomplish those things that much more. I believe I have a great appreciation for those little gifts to myself too, since I worked so hard to earn them.

Millionaire Money Habit: Writing down measurable, achievable goals that you can hold yourself accountable to can help you accomplish the things you desire most in life. Goals will push you to achieve more than you knew you possibly could. If an ultimate goal is to become a millionaire, set goals that will help you get one step closer this year.

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