With just 50 days to the end of 2017, end-of-year remorse is rife. The year has flown past and perhaps there is nothing much, in terms of financial growth, to show for it.
You knew what you wanted, why you wanted it and had it down on paper, so why haven’t you gotten it? Here are some possible reasons:
1. You were not willing to leave your comfort zone. Getting to your goal means doing things differently. Are your habits and budget allocations moving you forward? Change may mean cutting out some of the comforts and conveniences that you are used to in the short term for the sake of mid- to long-term gain.
This will cause discomfort, but it will eventually become the new normal and you will begin to reap the fruits of your choices.
2. You failed to do the work. If you wait for the day you will have enough inspiration, will-power or self-control, you may never make progress. Figure out what needs to be done, then come up with a financial plan to help you do it.
3. Your goal was not well-defined. What exactly do you want or need? If you want to go on holiday at the end of the year, where do you want to go, down to the hotel you want to stay in, the activities you want to do, and other associated costs? Having a well-defined goal with a price tag makes it easier to track progress.
4. You were too busy trying to catch up with the Joneses. Are you pursuing what you really want or what you think other people would want you to achieve? When you get lost in the rat race of chasing validation from other people, you lose sight of the goals that truly matter to you, and you won’t channel your money and efforts to what you really want to achieve.
5.You didn’t keep track of your progress. Have a regular money minute to review where you stand. Have stipulated milestones to help you gauge how far you have come and whether you are on track. If you are, pat yourself on the back and keep going. If you are not, find out why and get back on track. Record your progress and thoughts in your financial journal.
6. You didn’t have an accountability system. Walk the journey with another person who can help you stay on course and give you honest feedback and tough love when you need it. You can also rope in other people who are trying to achieve the same goal as you. You can do this through a blog, social media or a money buddy. Say what you want to achieve and give constant updates on your progress, including the slip-ups.
7. You bit more than you could chew. You want to achieve many things and make many changes, but if you focus on all of them at once, you might not achieve any. What is your most important money goal for the year? Be realistic about what can be done in a year, or else you will be setting yourself up for disappointment.
8. You didn’t take baby steps. When you try to do something huge, it takes forever to see any movement, and this can be discouraging. That is why baby steps are important. For example, if you want to start saving and you feel as if the recommended minimum 10 per cent is too much, start with one per cent and work your way up. Start small and watch yourself grow.
9. You allowed excuses to reign. Address your “I can’t, because …” Instead of saying that you don’t have the means to reach your goals, how about asking yourself what you can do to make them a reality?
10. You gave up. You fell off the wagon and instead of getting up, dusting yourself and getting back on, you stayed down. The path to your goal may be fraught with challenges, but don’t let the obstacles stand in your way.
Felista runs the money management group 52-Week Savings Challenge Kenya on Facebook. You can email her on [email protected]