It’s that time of year again when we start to get hyper-focused on goal setting. Goal setting is a must-do practice for those journeying to financial freedom. But all too often, I see people feverishly setting goals on January 1st, only to become distracted and frustrated by February 1st (or January 2nd even…)
So, let’s chat about 7 common reasons why we set goals and then come up short. I was inspired to write about this after I posted a poll in my IG stories and I asked people the question of whether or not they accomplish their financial goals for 2019. About 60 people responded and these are the results: Hopefully, by being aware of these common pitfalls, you’ll be more equipped for successful goal-setting in the coming year. Let’s dive into these seven reasons.
1. Goals lack specificity.
The first reason why people are not successful with their goals is because their goals lack specificity. For example, you may say to yourself, I want to save $5,000 in my emergency fund this coming year. That’s certainly a nice loosey-goosey goal, but it lacks specificity. The $5,000 goal could be totally arbitrary if you don’t have the budget and cash flow to support actually saving that money throughout the year. To make the goal more specific, and thus more achievable, flesh it out on paper, and create mini action steps throughout the year (see #6 below).
Perhaps you go through the motions of setting lofty goals, but deep down you’re harboring a secret. You might even buy fancy planners and notebooks to get you in the right frame of mind to set those goals. But deep down you actually doubt your ability to get it done. Let me give you an example. You may want to start a business, but deep down, you feel like an imposter and fear that no one will actually spend their money on your product or service. Or maybe you want to start a brand new side hustle where you’re required to interact with the public, talk to people, and mingle and network, but deep down inside, you wonder if you really have the required skill set to be successful.
4. Life Overwhelm
It would be amazing if life always went according to plan. But of course, it doesn’t. As we just discussed, setbacks are inevitable and unexpected things will happen. And, in the midst of all those setbacks, you’ll also be dealing with everyday life. Every morning you have to rush to get to work and get your kids to school on time. And in the evenings, you have to figure out what to cook for dinner and argue with your spouse about who’s turn it is to do the dishes. Then after the kids are in bed, you zone out in front of Netflix as a means of distraction (ok, maybe this is just MY life). Either way, we all face unique life challenges that can leave us low on time, energy, and patience. And somewhere along the way, we have to scrounge up a few moments of peace and quiet, oh yeah, and sleep too. You’re simply overwhelmed and exhausted. So, the optimistic goals set at the top of the year soon become a distant memory.
7. Lack of a support system.
talking to your friends and family members about budgeting and about getting out of debt, but all you get in return are blank stares. Sometimes folks just don’t get it. And that can be discouraging and demoralizing. It can be the reason why you give up and say, ‘Oh, well, I’m just going to do what everybody else is doing’.
To avoid throwing in the towel, be sure that you have a support system in place. If it’s not people in real life, then it’s mentors in your head, debt-free bloggers, people from books, people online via Instagram or Youtube. Establish your own success circle to remain inspired and motivated at each leg of the journey. Hopefully, those closest to you will eventually get on board as they see you living by example. They’ll want to know what you’re doing differently and why you’re so at ease with your finances.