As 2019 rapidly approaches, it’s time to start thinking about your financial future.  What would you like to achieve financially in the upcoming year? At first, that seems like a silly question–most people just want to make more and save more.  However, you might find broad goals like “make more money” to not be very effective when it comes to actually accomplishing them. If you take the time now to sit down and write out really specific financial goals, it might help you focus on what actually needs to be done instead of just hoping it will happen.  Here are some specific goals that tend to be popular when thinking about the new year.

Save for Retirement

Instead of just having your goal be “save more to my retirement,” think about how much you would like to save.  If you currently only save 2% of your paycheck to retirement, then make it your goal to save 5% in 2019. If you would rather do your goal in terms of amount, make it a specific dollar amount you want to save like $2000 or $5000.  Whatever you do, just make sure that your goal is an improvement upon the past year. It doesn’t even have to be a huge goal, just something better than this year that you feel you could accomplish in the new year.

Add More to Savings

Much like saving more to your retirement fund, a goal of simply saving more probably won’t motivate you to actually save more in 2019.  You need to make a specific goal of how much exactly you would like to save next year. Again, make it your goal to have the amount be bigger than you did the previous year.  If you saved $2000 this year, make next year’s goal to save $3000. It doesn’t have to be a large amount, just as long as you actually have a specific goal to work towards. Having a real number to work towards will be more motivating and help you reach your goal quicker.

Stick to Your Budget

Maybe some of you don’t even have a budget–if that’s the case, that should be your number one goal of the year.  But instead of just saying, “I want to start a budget,” make it your goal to start and stick to your budget each month.  Yes, some months may get away from you, but if you have it your goal to stick to it each month vs. just having a budget in general, you will be more likely to utilize that budget more efficiently.

Tackle Debt

Many people list tackling debt as their number one financial goal in the new year.  That’s great! However, instead of just saying you are going to “tackle debt” make very specific ways you are going to do so.  For instance, your goal can be, “I am going to reduce my debt by $____ amount.” Or, your goal can be paying off a specific credit card, reducing your student loans by a certain amount, or even just sticking to the debt snowball method.  With debt repayment, the more specific the goal, the more likely you are to succeed.

Whatever your financial goals are in the new year, it’s important to make sure that you have a detailed plan for achieving these goals.  The more detailed the action plan, the better. Without a plan, you will find that you won’t have much success with your goals–even if you are extremely motivated to complete them.  So make your plans before the new year begins and you will be well on your way to having a successful 2019!

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