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When you set goals for yourself, you are looking to improve something, right?  Chances are this is the case for most goals.  This can apply to personal goals, financial goals, or any type.  So why is it that so many goals fail?  Surely we have good intentions.  I believe that it's because we don't back those goals with actions.  If you spend time aligning actions and goals, I'm convinced you'll be more successful at reaching said goals.

The Importance Of Goals

I think that having goals is the key to a productive life.  Goals are important in many key areas of your life.

  • Work
  • Home
  • Relationships
  • Family
  • Money

Without goals, you are not setting direction.  Don't you want to have guidance for what to do and when?

Goals help with prioritization.  Have you ever had a situation where you did a whole bunch of work, but still didn't feel like you accomplished the right thing?  This can often come about because you worked on the wrong goal.

A Weekend Of Goals And Actions

This past weekend, I wrote out a small list of things that I wanted to get done. These were the actions that I wanted to accomplish.  I decided to think about a goal that each action aligned with.  Let's take a quick look at the list.  For each, I'm noting the goal, the action it tied to, and whether or not I accomplished the action item.

Go To The Gym Twice

Goal(s): Running 3 times per week, Walking 2 times per week, Weight target
Accomplished: YES

Finish A Book

Goal: Read 65 Books in 2019
Accomplished: YES

Sell Items On Facebook

Goal: Reduce Household Clutter By 100+ Items This Year
Accomplished: NO (ran out of time)

These were all pretty easy things to come up with because they tied to goals I'd already set.  I satisfied two out of the three, which is OK.  Would I have liked to have accomplished more?  Sure.  But, I'm glad I got done what I did.  Chances are if I didn't have goals, I might not have made it to the gym or opened my Kindle at all.

But, by aligning my actions with my goals, it helped me move forward. I made progress.  Without progress, you'll never have success!

goals checklist action items

Keep track of your goals and categorize them.

Action Items For Personal Finance Goals

So, how does this apply to personal finance goals?  Does it even apply? It sure does! Most personal finance websites agree.

Money goals are important, and it's important that we all set them.  Some of the goals you might have could include:

  • Establish a $1,000 Emergency Fund
  • Setup a household budget
  • Save for this year's Christmas Gift Fund

So how do you go about that? Well, first you have to set the goals.  The three I gave above are great examples to start with, but they may not apply to you.  Regardless, having a clear goal in mind is important.

Then, start looking at actions that you can take to reach these goals.  Target these action items to accomplish.  It's important that you set manageable action items.  Look at something that you can accomplish in a short amount of time, and that's fully measurable.  In other words, your action should be something you can accomplish in a short period of time, and that you can cross off a list when you're done.

Each action item alone won't complete a goal, but it will take you one step closer.

Personal Finance Action Items

Here are a few action items that you could use thinking of the examples above.

Set Aside $20 Before Handing Out Weekly Spending Money

Goal: Establish a $1,000 Emergency Fund

How This Fits: If you take $20 from the top of your everyday spending, you won't even have it once you go out and get started on your spending.  Put it in an envelope, and within a few weeks you'll have $100.  That's the start of your brand new emergency fund!  Good work, now keep saving!

Write Down Your Spending

For one week, write down every purchase you make.  Keep track of what you spent and how you paid for it.

Goal: Establish A Household Budget

How This Fits: The first step toward any successful budget is to establish a baseline.  This means that you have to know where you're spending money today.  If you do this for a week, and then a month, and so on and so forth, you'll start tracking your spending.  From there, you can take it to the next level and plan out your spending.   Eventually, you'll have your own customized household budget.

Deposit Your Tax Refund

Goal: Save for Christmas Gift Budget

How This Fits: Many people struggle with holiday bills.  If you're one of them, then kick start your savings fund by allocating part of your tax refund for next year's spending.  Stash it away, earmark it, and next January, the bills will be easier.  Plus, along the way, you can continue saving, and maybe the bills can be avoided altogether!  I will tell you from personal experience how great of a feeling that is!

Action And Goals Matter

In the end, it's important to have goals, and it's important to have action items to get you there.  Recognizing how to align these two things will help you in many ways.

  • Productivity.  You'll be able to accomplish more of what's important to you.
  • Focus.  You can spend your time on the things that matter the most.
  • Motivation. Reaching important goals will help you strive to reach other goals.
  • Accountability.  Making sure that you follow up will build your sense of personal responsibility.
  • Inspiration.  If you reach your goals, you'll often inspire others to reach theirs as well.  The cool thing about this is that you often don't even know this is happening.  And if you have kids, this is almost a guarantee!

Readers, what do you do to keep your goals and action items aligned?  Have you been able to manage your goals in a way that improves your life?  Or do you find yourself looking for help in reaching your goals?  Please let me know in the comments below.  Thanks so much for reading!