Goal-setting has long been one of my favorite topics to teach and to practice. I am grateful for the influence of several people early in my spiritual and professional life who taught me this skill in a way that was useful and inspirational.
It is important to make your goals measurable by amount and by time. The reason that it is so key to be able to measure your progress in these two ways is that, unless you can track your progress, you may never get started on accomplishing your goal and you certainly will never know if you have finished, either.
Financial goals almost always involve sacrifice and a change of habits. If my goal is to become debt free, I will need to sacrifice by spending less than I am making (rather than relying on consumer debt to allow me to spend more than I earn). Additionally, that sacrifice will likely involve a significant change in my habits…eating out less often, buying fewer or less expensive clothes or household “extras,” and perhaps scaling back my family’s activities or lifestyle.
I’ve been working on losing a few pounds by spending time with a trainer and altering the way that I eat. Weight loss is very analogous to working on saving more money. My zeal and passion for my project come and go, but my sacrifices and habits must remain consistent in order for me to make real progress.
After you have set your goals, be very realistic about the habits that you will need to change and the sacrifices that you will need to make in order to accomplish the goal. Only if you are realistic will you be prepared when temptation comes!
Finally, as an encouragement to you, ponder the following two Scriptures. If you are His child, God is both with you and in you as you seek to move in the direction of dreams and goals that He has given to you.
Proverbs 16:32 (NIV) “Better a patient man than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.”
Galatians 5:22 – 24 (NIV), “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”
May God’s peace encourage you as you pursue financial wisdom and depend on His Truth.