Finances tie into just about every aspect of your life. Your finances can impact where you live, the kind of car you drive, the quality of healthcare you receive, the type of food you eat, and the overall lifestyle you lead. Not to mention, finances can cause physical and emotional stress and even ruin relationships (marital or familial). For these reasons, people try to improve their financial circumstances.
Setting financial goals and accomplishing them, however, are two separate things. You may very well want to improve your credit score, lower your debt to income ratio, make a certain amount of money annually, save for retirement, or invest in stocks to diversify your assets, but making it happen depends on your ability to take action and get stuff done.
If you’ve set financial goals but have been having a hard time accomplishing them, perhaps there is an underlying factor that’s causing you trouble. Below, is a look at some of the top reasons people fall short of meeting their financial goals.
Lack of Motivation
It’s easy to remain motivated for something positive. For example, taking your lunch to work every day for the next 3 months to save money for a vacation is something that you can probably stick to without much issue. On the contrary, trying to find the motivation to keep making sizable monthly payments on an old collection account so that you can improve your credit is a bit more challenging.
If you’re going to reach your financial goals, you need to find a way to stay motivated. Beyond having your vision board or goals somewhere you can visibly see them regularly, you can also find motivation by rewarding yourself every step of the way. Let’s say for every month you make a payment on your collection account, you’ll treat yourself to something cheap but meaningful (lunch, a t-shirt, at-home spa day, etc).
Too Much At Once (Unrealistic Goals)
Obviously, the quicker you’re able to reach your financial goals, the better things will be for you, but trying to take on too much at once is a surefire way to give up on your goals altogether. Imagine trying to save 3 month’s worth of income for emergencies, pay down more than $24,000 in debt, and launch a business all at the same time. No wonder you feel overwhelmed.
It is often better to break your financial goals down into small steps. So, it would be ideal to break that debt down into years so the number is not so large. Perhaps you’ll pay off $24,000 in debt over the next 2 years (which would be about $1,000 a month). As you master each financial goal and start to find room in your budget to accomplish more, then you can add on to your to-do list. For example, you might find room to start setting aside $50 a week towards emergency savings while you’re also paying down debt.
Willpower will certainly be necessary if you’re going to reach your financial goals as there are a lot of distractions that could get in the way. Distractions can be anything from a killer sale at your favorite retail shop to a friend or family member needing to borrow money. While it’s alright to treat yourself on occasion and more than ok to help those in need, you cannot allow it to throw you off track.
Having your goals somewhere you can see them, creating a budget, and even having an accountability partner can help you to avoid distractions and make good on your financial goals.
Money isn’t everything, but it does impact a lot in life. As such, setting goals to improve your finances and build stability is ideal. If you find that sticking to those goals is too much of a chore, perhaps one of the above-mentioned underlying causes is giving you an issue. Simply work at resolving the problem and then begin taking strides towards financial freedom.