Now that January is over many of our New Year’s Resolutions may already be distant memories. But if this has happened to you, don’t despair! Maybe January 1st isn’t the best time for goal setting. And perhaps you need a bit of help to come up with goals that you’ll actually stick to!
One of my favourite aspects of training to be a financial planner are the soft skills sessions we have with our communications director, Bill. In these sessions we’ve discussed things like how to listen to our clients so that we can understand what they really want from life. We’ve talked about how we can vary our approach to suit our clients’ personalities. And we’ve looked at how cashflow modelling can help to answer our clients’ questions about the future.
The focus of our most recent session was goal setting, in our professional lives, our personal lives and with our finances. Helping our clients to set their own goals is a central part of financial planning. We aim to help people to work out what they really want from life and them we come up with a plan to help them to get there.
What does a good goal setting look like?
So why do those New Year’s Resolutions so often fail? It’s often because of the kind of Resolutions that people make. People might decide they want to get fit. Or they might want to spend more time with friends or family. But these resolutions aren’t specific so it makes it difficult to know whether we are making progress towards them. They can also be overambitious which makes us much more likely to quit.
A good goal needs to be SMART:
Specific – You need to know exactly what your goal is.
Measurable – Get some numbers in there so you can track your progress.
Achievable – There’s no point shooting for the stars.
Realistic – Set a target that will stretch you but that is not impossible.
Time Framed – Make sure you know when your goal should be achieved.
So what are a couple of my goals for 2018? Professionally, I want to pass the last four CII exams to qualify to give financial advice before the end of August 2018. And one of my personal goals is to train for and complete the Sheffield Half Marathon.
If your New Years Resolutions have crashed and burned already, maybe now is the time to set yourself some new, SMART goals. I wish you every success!