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Tips and how-tos

New year new you? How to set goals you can stick to.

Kim Every, Guest contributor, Financial Counselling Network

07 Dec 2021 • 3 mins
person watching sunset

Our partners at the Financial Counselling Network have put together some tips on how to create your goals for 2022.

We all know the ritual; the clock strikes midnight on 31 December, and we promise ourselves this is going to be the year we stick to our resolutions. It often becomes more difficult than we anticipated to stay on track with our resolutions, or we can run out of motivation after a couple of weeks. Maybe it’s time to rethink your New Year’s resolutions and create a plan on how to set goals that you can stick to. 

What is a resolution?

It’s important to remember that a New Year’s resolution is a goal. You’re creating an ambition that will take time and effort to achieve. Start thinking of them as your ‘goals for the year’ so they’re not just a small talk conversation with your colleagues that are long forgotten by February.

Do your goals align with your values?

How do you know the resolution you choose is the right resolution for you?

Before you pick the usual New Year’s resolutions, have a think about your long-term goals. What do you want to achieve by this time next year, or in the next three to five years? What actions or changes do you need to make this year to bring you closer to this goal?

Implementing these smaller actions and changes will lead you to your long-term goal. Make these smaller sub-goals your resolutions for the year. It will make it more achievable, and you’ll create a clear pathway on how to reach your long-term vision.

For example, if you want to save $4,000 this year, you need to save $334 a month. Are you paid fortnightly? If so, that means you should be putting $167 every payday into this savings account. Your goal for the year should be to save $167 every payday.

Failure – let’s look at it.

When you have one day where you break your resolution, do you stop trying immediately? Or perhaps you choose the same resolution every year without giving it much thought? Don’t worry – you’re not alone! Research tells us that 80% of people fall into this category. 

You may be failing to reach your goals because you’re failing to plan for your goal. If you have a big goal you need to outline the small steps that will lead you to that long term vision. 

Another reason for not reaching your goals is that you are not choosing the right goal for you. Being honest with yourself will help you set more realistic goals. The trick is to make sure your goals are working towards your future targets. You can do this by asking yourself three simple questions:

  1. Does this goal align with my vision?
  2. Is it actually the right goal for me? Or is it what someone else thinks I should do?
  3. Is it the right time for me to focus on this goal?

Let's look at an example

You want to save $4,000 this year for a deposit for a home. 

Does this goal align with your vision? Yes, this will lead me to home ownership.

Is it the right goal for me? Yes, I feel as though I have spent money over the past couple of years on impulse buying clothes and going on nights out. I’m now ready to commit to getting into my own home and making some sacrifices to achieve this.

Is it the right time for me to focus on this goal? Yes, I’ve looked at my budget and income and expenditure statement. I know I can save $4,000 this year once I put my mind to it. I’m ready to take the next step and start my home ownership journey.

It's also a good idea to prepare to fail. Everybody has off days or slips up in their progress. Allow yourself to fail some days, but then pick yourself up and dust yourself off and start again the following day.

Remember, take every day as it comes. Some days you will be smashing your goals, and others it will be a little more difficult – slow and steady wins the race! 

You’ve got this!


Keystart recommends that you seek your own independent financial advice prior to making any decisions about your financial needs. Any examples given in this post are provided for illustrative purposes only.

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