I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions, they simply just don’t work.  But I do believe in setting goals.  In fact, research has shown that the most successful people in life set goals; whether they are top-level athletes, successful business-people or other high achievers across all spheres of life.  They identify what it is they want and then take regular action to move towards their goals.

And it’s not just success for success’ sake that make goals important.  Psychologists tell us that people who make consistent progress towards meaningful goals live happier and more satisfied lives than those who don’t.

Every year I set no more than 7 – 10 goals across the most important areas of my life, including my personal finances.  I then take regular action to achieve these goals.  Do I achieve all of them?  Not always, but I have found that I achieve exponentially more than I otherwise would have if I had not set any goals at all.

If you want to get ahead in your personal finances this year, start with setting some personal finance goals.  I would advise setting no more than 1 – 3 personal finance goals (as you don’t want to end up neglecting the other areas of your life) and making them SMART i.e.

  1. Specific (clear),
  2. Measurable (have a £ value attached to it),
  3. Achievable (realistic),
  4. Relevant (to your situation) and
  5. Time-oriented (have a deadline).

Maybe a goal could be something like “Pay off £1,200 in credit card debt by the 31st December 2017” or to “Save an extra £100 a month for the next 12 months”.

Once you have your goals, don’t just stop there, (1) take the time to regularly review and work on your goals.  Plan this into your diary.  (2) draw up a budget to help you succeed in achieving your goals.  And, (3) if need be, enlist some help along the way.  Do whatever needs to be done so you can achieve your goals and get ahead in your personal finances in 2017.  As Michael Hyatt says, “You will only achieve what you intentionally set out to do.”

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