Having financial goals make so much difference in your life that you cannot even begin to imagine. As a young (ahem) kid, my life goals are ever evolving. In other words, my life map is a messy doodle-filled with incurable daydreaming and fantasy (I want a castle). Nevertheless, I lived two years with my first “financial aim” – save without question and came out with $12,000 savings. I am ever grateful for that. I know what you are thinking, she only knows how to save without question and that’s brutally true. Instead, I got you an amazing working mother who writes – Patty Morre to talk about it. She knows so much more about setting financial goals and she kindly authored this post. Find her at WorkingMotherLife or @WorkMomLife on Twitter! Enjoy!
The Importance of Writing Down Your Financial Goals
There’s something you’re not doing that is going to help exponentially with your finances. That thing is writing down your financial goals. For some people, even keeping up with a daily to-do list can seem daunting, but making the effort to settle down and write down actionable financial goals is something worth making time for. The thing about writing down your financial goals is that it becomes your roadmap to get from where you are to where you want to be. No one just gets in a car and starts driving, and you should treat your life that way, either. “According to a study done by Gail Matthews at Dominican University, people who took the time to write down their goals achieved significantly more than their original goal than people who didn’t write down their goals,” as reported by Forbes. Let’s look at some of the benefits of taking the time to write down all of your financial goals:
4 Reasons Why You Should Write Down Your Financial Goals
You’re more likely to achieve them.
The main reason why you should write down your financial goals or any of your other goals is that you’re more likely to achieve them. The reason for this is actually a chemical one and not just a mental thing. When you’re just thinking about your goals, you’re using the right side of your brain, which is the idealistic creative side and not the side for getting things done. When you make the jump from just thinking about goals to actually writing them down, you switch to the left side of your brain, which is the logical side. It switches from an “I’d like this” feeling to a “this is how I’m going to achieve this” plan. With the left side of your brain now involved, you are more conscious of opportunities that you wouldn’t see when you’re tied up with just daydreaming about your goals.
You can set short and long-term goals.
This is especially important with financial goals. Many individuals are working to pay off student loans. However, with different loan companies and different minimum payments, that goal can seem almost unachievable. Writing down an actionable plan for paying off student loans will give you steps to make it happen, though. For example, you can set a short-term goal of paying off the loan with the highest interest first and then tackling the other loan afterward as your long-term goal. Making short and long-term goals can allow you to feel like you actually accomplished something in a short amount of time, which is important for continued success. If you’re always working towards things that will take five years or longer to accomplish, you don’t feel like you’re making progress.
You can break big projects into smaller pieces and set deadlines.
Once you’ve written down your goals, it’s easier to break them down into smaller pieces. The reason this is helpful is that you are able to take clearly defined steps to tackling the project. For example, if your big goal is to start a business, you know that some of the smaller pieces are going to build a website, create a logo, write a business plan. And even those can be broken down into smaller bits if needed. Not only that, but you can set deadlines for each project. They can seem scary, but deadlines are important to light the fire of productivity. It’s okay to be one of those people that gets anxious about deadlines, but sometimes pressure is necessary to get results.
You can celebrate the small victories.
The most important part goal-setting is to be able to achieve them and celebrate! There’s almost no reason to set goals if you can’t celebrate when you achieve them. When you write your goals down and are able to check them off, it’s like an instant confidence boost and default encouragement to keep going. Not only that, but there can also be chocolate and ice cream! When you write down your goals, write down rewards for yourself, and try to make sure they reflect the work you’ve put into them. Of course, when you’re working on your financial goals, it’s important not to let your rewards get too expensive.
A lot of people can get nervous about actually sitting down and writing down their financial goals because it may mean facing financial realities. If money makes you anxious, that’s okay, but think about this: you’ll be way less anxious if you know where you stand. The fear of not knowing how you’re going to pay off your debts is so much worse than the effort of setting clear goals with deadlines and rewards.
And yes, about my life map? I didn’t even remember what I wrote until I recently pin it to my Mirror On The Wall. If you are convienced that writing down your financial goals makes a difference, grab a paper and pen now, and paste it on the wall, on the bed headboard, and on the ceiling until they come naturally to you.