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How Did Your Year Go?

Are you considering setting yourself some achievable goals for next year?

It is not uncommon when nearing the end of a year for people to consider how the year went, and what they would like to do differently in the upcoming year.

Setting goals can help us stay focused and motivated. They can help us measure our progress and keep us on track when we start to waiver.

What are your goals for 2024?

Set Realistic Goals

While it might seem great to set yourself the goal of making a million bucks or buying a Ferrari this coming year, that may not be something you can realistically achieve, for a variety of reasons.

But that does not mean that you cannot move closer to reaching such goals in the future. You can definitely progress towards achieving those goals.

Just as it would be impossible to jump straight from the start line to the end of a marathon, so too reaching really big goals may require you to find smaller stepping stones along the way.

So, can you start with some realistic goals that move you closer to your long term goals?

Improve Your Health

Many people are still carrying around a few extra Kilos since the covid years. They may find that they are still struggling to get back into a more active lifestyle.

Lockdown was not the healthiest time for everyone. Many fell into poor dietary and exercise habits, which they are still dealing with.

Maybe you are thinking of changing how you eat and exercise. If so, then consider how you can (without breaking the bank) change your routine to set aside some time for exercise.

You can also look at the types of food (or maybe just how much you are eating). While different eating fads come and go, it is often a case of eating a little less than we burn that helps shed unwanted weight in the long run.

By improving our physical health it can provide a mental health boost too.

Save Something

It is easy to fall into the habit of spending every last cent we have access to each month.

But this habit leaves us exposed to stress when an emergency comes along. If we have nothing at all saved to help us get through unplanned expenses, it could derail our long term plan to get out of debt.

So, during this coming year, could you start saving something each month?

For those in debt review, having such savings can be the difference between staying in the process when disaster hits, or dropping out and losing years of progress towards settling their debts.

Get Out Of Debt

Having debt is like selling your future.

You have to do work in the future just to pay for something you already bought. The borrower becomes locked into the demands of the lender. Your time, effort, and all your energy belongs to them, until you settle those debts.

Making a decision to get out of debt means changing the way you do things.

If you have struggled with this in the past, then why not get someone, a professional, to help you work out how to do it.

Did you know your local Debt Counsellor will probably help you rework your monthly and yearly budget to help get out of debt for free?

Though it is a common goal few people make progress on actually getting out of debt because making use of credit is just so easy. Often, we postpone doing anything because we think that something is going to come and miraculously save us from our situation. Sadly, that seldom happens.

Can you switch to making use of debit cards rather than credit cards?

Can you focus down smaller accounts which have higher interest rates?

Once you have done that, can you focus on another one, and then another one? Snowballing debt repayments does work.

If your debt situation is “out of control” then think about professional debt counselling. It has helped hundreds of thousands of consumers over the years.

The Anti-Goal

Maybe you are not a big fan of the “new year, new me” mentality.

Setting goals and then adding new items to your already full plate can leave you exhausted, before you even begin.

Well, here is one for you:

Have you heard of the “Anti-Goal”?

Anti Goals are not about what you want to accomplish they are all about what you want to avoid in 2024.

Avoid Getting Burn Out

Maybe you have reached December 2023 feeling exhausted. Would you like to avoid that in 2024?

If so, then an Anti-Goal would be to avoid over-working resulting in feeling tired all the time.

Once you have what you want to avoid in mind, you can identify the things that make you feel that way, and then plan to eliminate them in 2024.

So, for 2024 you could set a cut-off time for work: No work after 5pm or no work on the weekends, for example.

You identify what you want to avoid, figure out what it is that currently makes you feel that way, and then consider how much better things would be if you could avoid such things, then working out how to avoid that thing in 2024.

Avoid Running Out of Money At Month End

Well, if you identify bad shopping habits at the start of the month as the cause, then you can take a moment to think about how much better it would be to be able to get whatever your family realistically needs, at any time of the month.

Now, how do you achieve that?

Can you make better shopping lists and stick to them?

Can you do bigger shopping trips after planning out your meals for the week or month?

Can you shop at better priced places instead of impulse buying at over-priced convenience stores?

Can you do a meal prep evening (maybe Sunday) to ensure you have snacks and things to take to work/school, so you avoid unnecessary spending?

You give the problems some thought, and find ways to avoid the problem in the future. This is the power of the Anti-Goal.

Progress is...Progress

You may have once set yourself the goal of getting out of debt.

This is a vital first step if you want to build future wealth, but it is not an easy one.

It normally means cutting down the spending at home, and focusing more on settling your debts as a priority.

If you have entered debt review, then you have already made excellent progress towards this goal.

But there is a danger. You see, paying off debt can take time and like many long term goals, we can easily lose motivation during the process. It can take a year, 2 years or even 5 years.

This is why it is good to track your progress. It helps you stay focused.

‘it is good to track your progress.’

But even if you have been tracking your progress, it might start feel like it is going very slowly. This is where the right mindset is vital.

You must realise that you are making progress.

Firstly, if you had not set that goal, if you had not started to do something about it, then your debt would be even bigger right now.

Think back to how fast your debt was growing in the past. Maybe it was growing by 10% or 20% a year, or more.

Instead, because you are doing something about it, your debt has not just stayed the same size, it has actually shrunk.

It may have shrunk by 20% (if you are planning to pay it off over 5 years).

Think back to how quickly your debt was growing or how you were only ever paying off the interest, and were basically stuck in debt.

Now, you are making progress, your debt is shrinking, well done!

And this principle can apply to all our goals.

If you decided to go for a jog every day, you will not turn into a star athlete over night but… if you were gaining 5Kgs every year for the last few years…you may have stopped that from happening this year – Progress

Maybe we even start to lose a few centimetres – Progress.

Tracking your progress can help you stay motivated, and keep your goals top of mind.

2024 Here We Come

So, whatever goals you set, if they are realistic, if you can figure out how to use short term goals to help you reach long term ones, and if you track and acknowledge your progress, you will be one step closer to where you want to be.

Perhaps 2024 will be your year after all.