A Guide to Sticking to Your Goals in the New Year
Define Your Goals: Start by identifying what you truly want to achieve. Whether it's improving your physical fitness, advancing in your career, or paying off debt, specificity is key. The more specific you are the better; vague goals are difficult to pursue.
Break It Down: Your goals are a marathon, not a race. So, divide larger goals into smaller, more manageable tasks. By doing so, this will make the journey less daunting and allow for a sense of accomplishment along the way.
Make It Measurable: Like defining your goals, be sure to quantify your objectives. Instead of saying, "I want to save money," try "I want to save $5,000 by the end of the year." This makes it easier to track your progress.
Set Realistic Expectations: While it's essential to aim high, setting unattainable goals can lead to frustration. Ensure your goals are challenging but doable.
Set Deadlines: Assign deadlines to your goals. Having a sense of urgency can keep you on track and prevent procrastination. Starting off the new year with a fresh planner may keep you motivated as you track your deadlines!
Use Technology: If writing in a planner isn’t your jam, leverage apps and online tools to track your progress. There are now many apps designed to help you manage your goals, tasks, and finances efficiently!
Accountability Partners: Share your goals with a trusted friend or family member who can offer support, encouragement, and occasional gentle nudges to keep you accountable.
Create a Vision Board: Visual aids can be powerful motivators. Get as creative as you want by collecting images, quotes, and symbols that represent your goals and creating a vision board. Display it in a prominent place where you'll see it daily. If a physical visual board isn’t something you’re interested in, setting your phone background to an image or quote that inspires you to stick with your goals may work, as well!
Reward Yourself: Celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. Rewards can serve as positive reinforcement and keep you motivated.
Learn from Setbacks: Expect setbacks along the way. Instead of viewing them as failures, see them as opportunities to learn and improve. Adapt your strategies as needed and keep moving forward.
Financial Stability: Setting financial goals helps you establish a sense of stability and security. Whether it's an emergency fund, debt reduction, or retirement savings, these goals provide a safety net and allow you a sense of comfort.
Achieving Your Dreams: Many of your life goals, such as buying a home, traveling the world, or starting a family, often require financial support. Setting financial goals helps align your finances with your dreams.
Reducing Stress: Financial worries can be a significant source of stress for many. By setting and achieving financial goals, you can reduce anxiety and improve your mental well-being.
Empowerment: Taking control of your finances through goal-setting can empower you to make better financial decisions, invest wisely, and build wealth over time.
Tips for Staying Committed to Financial Goals
Create a Budget: Develop a detailed budget that aligns with your financial goals. Track your income, expenses, and savings diligently. Tools like budgeting apps can make this process easier. Money Management, a Neighborhood CU free service, allows you to connect and view your internal and external accounts, investments, car loans, mortgages, and more. View and categorize your transactions, visualize how and where you spend your money, and create budget bubbles to stay on track easily!
Automate Savings: Set up automatic transfers to your savings or investment accounts. Automating your savings ensures that you consistently contribute to your financial goals without relying on willpower alone. Building your savings will be a breeze by setting up recurring transfers in Online Banking. If you need help setting up recurring transfers, read our guide or watch a short how-to video!
Prioritize Debt Repayment: If you have outstanding debts, prioritize paying them down. Focus on high-interest debts first, such as credit card balances. The sooner you eliminate debt, the more you can allocate to savings and investments. Suppose you are overwhelmed with too many different payments and high-interest rates and want a manageable way to tackle your debt. In that case, a Neighborhood Credit Union Debt Consolidation personal loan may be an option for you.
With a Debt Consolidation loan, you can condense all your debts into one manageable monthly payment at a rate and have a moment to catch up with up to 90 days before your first payment is due.
Educate Yourself: Continuously educate yourself about personal finance. Understanding financial concepts, investments, and strategies can empower you to make informed decisions.
A great way to keep yourself well-versed in finance is by attending the free virtual webinars we frequently post about throughout the year. Get a head start and register for the upcoming January webinar: Reaching Your Financial Goals in 2024.
Track Your Progress: Regularly review your financial goals and assess your progress. Adjust as necessary to ensure you're on track to meet your objectives. As an example, if one of your goals is to improve your credit score, our free Credit Score service will help you understand your current score, update any credit score changes, provide access to your full credit report, monitor activity, and provide personalized tips on ways to improve your score overall.
Seek Professional Advice: Don't hesitate to consult a financial advisor, planner, or counselor if you have complex financial goals. They can provide expert guidance and help you make informed decisions. We are proud to partner with GreenPath Financial Wellness, a nonprofit that assists you in reaching your financial goals.
Since 1961, GreenPath Financial Wellness has offered valuable consulting services in various aspects of personal finance. Their expertise spans personal and family budgeting, helping individuals better understand credit reports, exploring student loan options, effective money management techniques, debt repayment strategies, and crucial guidance on avoiding bankruptcy, foreclosure, and repossession.
Who We Are
As an active part of the community for 93 years, Neighborhood Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial organization serving the state of Texas with branch locations in Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, and Tarrant counties. With assets topping $1 billion, Neighborhood Credit Union has a continuously growing membership of over 60,000. For more information, call (214) 748-9393 or visit our homepage.