“You can’t manage what you don’t measure and you can’t improve what you don’t manage. Start with goal setting.” – Jeff Boss, Forbes
We all talk about the importance of setting goals. But how often do you turn goal setting and achievement into an active process?
Or, put it this way: When you get home from work, how much of your time is spent catching up on emails, watching TV, and making dinner absentmindedly – and how much is spent actively planning your intentions and ticking off each step along the way?
Similarly, in the office, how much of your day is defined by playing “catch-up” on emails and phone calls, compared to actually being proactive and working for the future you want for your business?
In those two situations, which is the more satisfying and productive route to follow – to plan ahead and set goals, or to simply watch things unfold?
Goal setting has proven benefits, in all aspects of daily life – personal, professional, and, above all, financial.
Numerous studies have indicated that goal setting is associated with greater self-confidence, motivation, and personal autonomy. From a young age, children who are taught to emphasize setting and achieving goals display greater resourcefulness, and more willingness to be proactive by planning, prioritizing, and strategizing. As author Rick McDaniel once noted for HuffPo:
“Goal setters see future possibilities and the big picture… Goal setters look for opportunities, may seem unrealistic and like to head in new directions… Goal setters are comfortable with risk, prefer innovation and are energized by change.”
From a financial standpoint, setting achievable goals may be one of the most effective things you can do to set yourself up for future success and stability. Ultimately, wealth and money are tools that you can use to achieve your hopes and dreams. Reaching your biggest lifestyle and legacy goals down the line starts with setting realistic, comprehensive financial goals in the here and now.
Goal setting is one of the most important steps in any comprehensive financial planning or wealth management strategy. Why set concrete financial goals? For investors, having a defined list of goals can:
- Help you focus and create a practical plan of action
As writer Jeff Boss notes for Forbes, having “a clear, compelling goal mobilizes your focus toward actionable behavior.” Once you’ve set down your goals, it will be much easier to devise a practical, realistic plan to reach them, as well as create a timeline that accounts for your unique individual circumstances.
- Allow you to monitor your progress over time
Having a set goal also means establishing benchmarks for achieving that goal in due time. When you have a realistic destination in mind, it’s much easier to keep track of all the goalposts you may or may not be passing along the way. Seeing your successes can create momentum and drive you to keep moving forward. Noticing where you may have missed the mark can allow you to make changes, reprioritize, or devise a more effective strategy.
- Force you to make adjustments and remain accountable
Having a goal allows you to remain focused and actively creates accountability. It’s easier to prioritize and make adjustments to your actions when you’re working for a set goal, without letting other distractions get in your way. Similarly, if you notice that you’ve reached your goal, you can then seamlessly start to plan for the next big thing. If you notice that you’re falling short, it’s easier to hone in on the reasons why, and create a new course of action to follow.
- Give you reason to celebrate down the line
Last but certainly not least, goals are a great motivator because they offer the satisfaction of reaching the finish line. When you have a concrete end goal – broken down into manageable subtasks – you have cause to celebrate when you reach a set milestone. These victories, both large and small, can be significant. You get the warm glow and satisfaction of a job well done – and that relief may just be the incentive it takes to keep reaching for the next rung of the ladder.
So, with this in mind, it’s worth asking: What goes into effective financial goal setting?
Everyone’s personal path will be different. Indeed, there are many paths can be taken to accomplish the things we want to accomplish, and so the specific way turns out to be unique to each individual. But with that being said, there are some concrete steps that can make it easier and more effective to set financial goals – and stick to them over time.
- Evaluate your wants and needs
Determining your unique individual wants and needs is one of the most important parts of the goal setting process. Once you’ve spent some time working to discover and articulate your financial wishes, goals, and desires, it will often be easier to determine what steps you can take to help make them a reality.
- Plan for short-term, mid-term, long-term
As the old saying goes: “Rome wasn’t built in a day.” As you look to the future, it’s important to remember that your goals will be more manageable and attainable if you break them up into more actionable, concrete steps. Often, this will mean planning short-term goals, mid-term goals, and long-term goals. A long-term goal might include something major, like planning for retirement. A more mid-term goal might mean saving for a home, or getting out of debt. A short-term goal may be something as simple as looking for new investment opportunities, or establishing a new budget.
- Create a record
The more you write down and record your goals – be they short-term, mid-term, or long-term – the better. Writing down your goals makes them easier to visualize, and creates more accountability. There’s also a scientific backing to this concept. Studies have shown that people who write down their goals are significantly more successful in achieving them, compared to those who just think about their goals.
- Get guidance where you can
One of the most important things to realize about achieving your goals is that you don’t always have to go it alone. If you ever have any questions, you’re uncertain on how to proceed, or you need insights or a second opinion, reaching out for assistance and guidance can be one of the most effective things you can do to formulate a strategy and achieve the end result you want to accomplish.
Are you looking to devise more effective financial goals – and do what it takes to truly reach them? It may be time to experience the FourStar Wealth Advisors difference.
At FourStar, we believe success in achieving important financial goals starts with a comprehensive wealth strategy. We can help you define what is most important to you and then formulate the strategies that are best suited for your needs, whether you are accumulating wealth or investing for income, solidifying your retirement plan, or devising a distribution approach that meets your lifestyle and legacy goals. We believe in addressing the full life cycle of every investor, using our unique “Build. Live. Share” approach to living a more full and complete life.
FourStar Wealth Advisors is an independent Registered Investment Advisor firm headquartered in Chicago, founded on providing the most impactful and tailored wealth management solutions to all clients. To do this, FourStar Wealth Advisors utilizes the latest technology and a broad range of investment solutions to ensure that each client has the proper tools and resources to put them in the best position possible to achieve their personal financial dreams.
Have any questions? Want to get in touch? Don’t hesitate to give us a call at 312-667-1750, or use our online portal to drop us a line.
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