December Mini Challenge – Evaluate And Set Goals

 December Mini Challenge - Evaluate and Set Goals

The end of the year is a time for celebration, joy and spending time with your loved ones. However, it should also be a time of reflection and is the perfect opportunity to plan forward for what the next year has in store.

As such, our December challenge will be broken down into two parts:

  • Evaluate your achievements (against your goals) in 2015
  • Set your goals for 2016

These seem pretty straight-forward instructions, but I would like to delve a little deeper into both. They are both incredibly important steps in progressing towards our ultimate life objectives and so it’s worth spending a little more time exploring them.



Evaluate your achievements (against your goals) in 2015

If you were part of the Moneystepper Savings Challenge in 2015, you would have set at least three key goals:

  • a net worth improvement goal;
  • an average savings rate target; and
  • your ultimate financial dream.

Look back into the past year and try to determine exactly what your original goals were for these things and how they were revised throughout the year.

If you didn’t use these goals, or even if you didn’t have any financial goals, I would recommend that you do the same thing.

On a piece of paper (or Word document), write down your original goal for the year, together with any revisions for that goal.

Now, you need to work out why that goal changed over the year. What were the reasons? Was it due to external factors, or factors under your control?

Then, you need to measure your actual performance for the year against those goals. For each one, try to identify three key reasons which meant that you reached, surpassed or failed against your original goals.

This process is vital in making sure that you learn all the lessons (both positive and negative) from the past so that you can change your behavoir when required in the future.

Equally, it will ensure that you are setting the most accurate goals possible.



Set your goals for 2016

Now, based on what you have learned from your evaluation of last year’s goals, it’s time to set your new goals for 2016.

In the Moneystepper Savings Challenge, we suggest that you set the same three key goals:

  • a net worth improvement goal;
  • an average savings rate target; and
  • your ultimate financial dream.

In the Tracking Template, which you can download for free here, you will find the space to record each of these goals and measure your progress against them throughout the year.

In the “results” tab, you’ll also find a button which opens an “Extra Goals” tab, in which you can enter any other financial or non-financial goals, with any time frame you wish. This will allow you to add things which you specifically want to focus on.

I would recommend adding one or two of these to keep you on track with your main goals. It may be a specific debt that you want to pay off in the coming months, you may want to start investing by contributing to your pensions or ISAs, or maybe start saving towards a house deposit with a Help-to-Buy ISA.

Whatever your goals are, now is the time to set them.

As part of good goal setting, I highly recommend making your goals SMARTER: Specific, Measurable, Ambitious, Realistic, Timely, Evaluated, Reviewed.

In the “reviewed” part, I suggest that people review their goals over time, but that they also have their goals reviewed by someone else before they set them to see what that person’s opinion is. It may be (and should be) your partner, or maybe a good friend, or an expert in that field.

If you would like me to look at your goals, just leave a comment or send me an email and I”ll be more than happy to discuss them with you.



The Moneystepper Savings Challenge

Remember, these goals, and the mini-challenges in general, form part of the larger Moneystepper Savings Challenge, and you can find much more information at the linked page.

There is a standard entry fee of £99 to join the challenge, but you can download the Tracking Template for free and until the end of 2015 (midnight on New Years’ Eve), you can join for the reduced fee of £39:

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