How to Set 2012 Money Goals That Work
Despite the fact that studies repeatedly show that most
So how can you surmount the odds and achieve your financial goals? One key, according to goal achievement experts, is to break your goals into baby steps. That's because when people choose big, overwhelming goals, they usually fail, says
BJ Fogg, director of
For example, if you want to save more money, Fogg says you should first think about what that means in terms of a behavioral change. Do you need to start bringing your lunch to work? Avoid budget-busting restaurants? Set up an automatic payroll deduction that goes into a savings account? He recently launched a program, tinyhabits.com, to help people make small changes every day, which can then grow into a larger shift.
Goal achievement expert
Salls also says focusing on motivation -- why you want to achieve your goal -- can also help. "It's not usually about the money itself. What will the money be used for? Do you want to be able to take more vacations or retire?" she asks.
If you're still brainstorming for your own 2012 money goal ideas, here are five suggestions, all of which can be broken into smaller steps and customized:
1. Boost your credit score
Especially if you're planning a big purchase that requires a loan, such as a home or car, in the near future. To do that, FICO, a company that calculates credit scores, suggests that you avoid opening new lines of credit, since that can hurt your credit score, and avoid charging close to the total available credit on your cards. That's because maxing out cards can also have a lasting negative impact on your credit score.
2. Fill out your emergency fund.
Three or six months' worth of expenses is no longer enough, especially in a sluggish economy in which a lay-off could turn into an extended unemployment stint, urges
3. Give yourself a career audit.
Career coach Ford Myers urges anyone looking for a job in 2012 to first look closely at what they really want. He suggests writing down a description of your "ideal employer" and perfect job description. He also urges a closer look at your external appearance, attitude, and professional strengths, to see if a few tune-ups could increase the chances of impressing at interviews.
4. Adopt healthier habits.
According to eHealthInsurance.com's resident expert
5. Ignore any holiday windfalls.
If you receive a bonus, raise, tax refund, or generous holiday gift in cash, SavvyMoney.com editor Jean Chatzy suggests pretending it doesn't exist. "Funnel a bonus or tax refund directly into savings, without giving yourself a chance to spend it," she says, and if you have credit card debt, use the money to pay it off. Otherwise, she says, that money could easily disappear on less meaningful expenditures.
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Personal Finance - How to Set 2012 Money Goals That Work
(c) 2012 U.S. News & World Report