Think back to the start of the new year. Did you set some financial resolutions you wanted to achieve by the end of the year?
If, like many of us, you set goals in January, only to forget or lose sight of them after a few months, now is a great time to revisit them. By the midpoint of the year, you've hopefully made some progress, but if not, don't worry! There's still time to get back on track.
Evaluate your financial goals
Step one to get back on track is to evaluate your financial goals and why you made them.
There's a good chance things have changed since you originally set them. Maybe the goal itself has changed, or maybe your circumstances have changed. A change like a new job, car, home, baby, health issues, or just a new financial goal, can change your perspective.
That's why it's good to press pause and revisit and evaluate them.
Do you need to set new goals?
Some of us are guilty of being a bit over ambitious with New Year's money resolutions. Aiming high is great, but in order to achieve those goals, they need to be attainable.
When revisiting your goals, don't be afraid to tweak them. You can keep them the same overall, but evaluate the possible reasons why you found yourself going off track and make any necessary adjustments.
Don't forget: You can set both long-term financial goals and short-term financial goals. Short-term financial goals may include saving up for a mini-vacation or a new piece of tech. Long-term financial goals may include saving for a down payment on a house or taking more control over your finances.
If most of your goals are long-term goals and feel overwhelming, try breaking them down into smaller, short-term goals to help them feel more manageable.
Were your financial goals too vague?
Another common mistake we sometimes make is to set goals that are too vague. Examples of vague goals may be:
- I want to save more money this year
- I want to invest in the stock market
These are both great goals, but they are missing specific information. Instead, try using the S.M.A.R.T. method when setting or re-evaluating your goals by making them:
Whenever you set goals, try to make them as specific and measurable as possible. Turn your "I want to save more money" goal into "I want to save $100 a month" or "I want to save $1,000 by the end of the year." That way, you know what you're aiming for, and you know if you're on track to achieve it or not.
How to get your financial goals back on track
After you have revisited your goals, if you discover you've veered off track a bit, here are some simple steps to take.
1. Revisit your spending
One of the first steps in getting your finances in order is to look closely at your spending. Take a look at all your transactions from the past month or two. What areas could you cut back on? Where are you overspending? Sometimes the first step is being conscious of your spending and more intentional going forward.
2. Set a new budget
Once you have a better idea of what you want to cut back on, now's a good time to set up a new budget. There are countless methods out there to help you take more control of your money.
Some are focused on helping you save, and others are focused on splitting your income more appropriately across the categories that matter.
3. Find a way to get accountability
One way to stay on track is to find a way to stay accountable. This could include enlisting the help of a friend or family member with similar goals, participating in an online community, or downloading a finance app that sends you push notifications and reminders.
Ready to reset your financial goals?
If you've been feeling guilty about ignoring your New Year's resolutions, it's never too late to get back on track and revisit your financial goals. In fact, revisiting your goals is an important part of achieving them, especially when it comes to managing your money.