Goals. Goals, goals, goals. If you follow this blog at all, you know I spend a lot of time talking about goals. Whether it is developing a budget, tracking spending, adjusting income, monitoring a credit report, or just about anything else, I can tie goals into it. And I do.
I think, for some people, they perceive that much focus on goals as a little…… hokey. In some of our classes, we even get deep enough into goals to talk about setting S.M.A.R.T. goals. Unfortunately, some have experienced some bad corporate training that just kind of turned them off.
That is NOT the fault of good goal-setting strategies. It’s just that the whole main point of goal strategies was missed. What is the main point? The main point is “why”.
In general, Americans tend to have a pretty decent work ethic. We like to get things done. Back in the day when I was framing houses, it was a good feeling to look back at the end of the day and see the structure we built. It felt good to say “I did that”.
Even then, with something to concrete, it was easy to lose the why of the moment. Ultimately, I was there to earn a paycheck that I used to support my family. Because I put in my time on that new house, we had what we needed and even some of what we wanted. And we were building someone else’s new home. Easily overlooked, that’s actually a pretty big thing.
You can go back through our other blogs and find out all about how and when to set your goals. For now, I want to talk about the ‘why’.
Goals really do matter and I usually lay it out in three different directions.
Reason #1 – Motivation – As much as I preach it, I’ll be the first to tell you that the day-to-day management of your finances isn’t really very exciting for most of us. It isn’t really and excuse we would use to tell someone else, “I’m sorry I can’t make it to the lake this weekend. I have to get my budget tracking up to date.” Yeah, no. Ain’t happening.
But I do take care of my finances. By taking care of my money today, I’m better able to accomplish those bigger goals that I really want to have in my life. I’m going to watch my spending this week so I can afford to enjoy the trip to the lake this weekend. (OK, maybe not this weekend. The temperature is not supposed to get out of the single digits this weekend. But you get the point.)
The budget is just the plan on how I am going to say “yes” to those goals.
Reason #2 – Communication – Even when in a serious, committed relationship, it is all too easy to have divergent goals in life. Just ask my wife. I have a boat that DEFINITELY was not on her list of goals. (To be fair, it WAS a good deal.) Being intentional with our goals provides the opportunity for families to discuss and come to an agreement on what their goals are so they can continue to journey through life in roughly the same direction.
This doesn’t have to be just between spouses either. Have kids in your house? Get them involved. Maybe they want to go out to eat tonight, despite the fact that you were already planning on going to a movie as a family on Saturday. So let them make the choice. Your budget allows for one of the two. Do they want to go out to eat tonight or the movie on Saturday? Aside from reducing whining, it also will teach them valuable skills for when they hit adulthood.
Reason #3 – Baby Steps – There are certainly very large goals that most of us have. The enormity of those goals can easily become overwhelming for us. But, if we are looking at those goals far enough in advance, we will recognize smaller steps we can take along the way to reduce the size and scariness of that big goal.
Want to buy your first home someday? How about increasing your savings starting now? This would also be a great time to check your credit reports to make sure there isn’t anything standing in your way of getting approved. Did you know your other debt will reduce the amount of a mortgage you qualify for? How about being really intentional about getting that debt paid down now?
Yeah, goals really do matter. Being intentional about your goals will help you be that much more successful in your endeavors. Take some time…. No, wait. INVEST some time in your future and get your goals put together.
If you would like some help setting goals or figuring out a way to accomplish those goals that involve your finances, the counselors at the Center for Financial Resources would be happy to help. Let’s work together to figure out where you want to be and what path you can take to get there. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at 605-330-2700 or by visiting our website.
written by Breck Miller, Community Relations Coordinator
images courtesy freedigitalphotos.net
LSS Center for Financial Resources
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705 East 41st Street, Suite 100 |Sioux Falls SD 57105-6047
605-330-2700 or 888-258-2227
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