R – Review your goals
If you don’t already have your current goals written down or captured electronically, make a list of all the things that you wanted to accomplish this year. Break down each item into smaller steps so that you can see what would have been required to complete the overall objective.
Let’s say that one of your imperatives for 2015 was to make a budget. To create this spending plan, you should have itemised all your expenses over a 12-month period, worked out your average monthly costs and totalled these figures to know how much you need to earn to live this lifestyle.
For each step, you also need to detail all the smaller activities that need to be done. For example, to work out the cost of your expenses, you may need to look for past medical bills, add up grocery receipts, make a note whenever you spend cash or ask your spouse to help you with the figures.
E – Evaluate your progress
It’s important to spend some time writing down all the small tasks that comprise your bigger goal, as this will help you to assess how far you have reached with your objective. It will also help you to understand what else you need to do to ramp up your efforts to accomplish your targets.
So, if your main objective for this year was to increase your income by looking for freelance jobs online, then your smaller list may have included: research freelance sites; write a compelling profile of your skills; register with the best freelance option; and send out weekly promos on social media.
If the freelance site you originally chose was not forthcoming with offers, you may have become discouraged and given up on the search. Or maybe you started receiving some jobs but you were disappointed with the low remuneration so you stopped looking for more lucrative opportunities.
S – Set realistic objectives
If you list all the steps to attain your goal, review how far you have reached and honestly assess why you may have been derailed, then it’s easier for you to revise your strategies or restart the work. If the goal is still important, then you need to ‘wheel and come again’, as we say in Jamaica.
Let’s say that you had resolved to forgo buying lunch every day and put this money towards your house goal. You were on target until your car broke down and you had to use all your savings for the repairs. Afterwards, you became disheartened and gave up on your house plan.
If you assess why you faltered, you will see that you didn’t have an emergency fund, which should be your first saving objective. Going forward, you could put aside half of your lunch money to build a rainy day account, or try to generate some extra income to boost your house goal savings.
T – Tighten your targets
Look back at all your unattained objectives and select one or two tasks that would give you the biggest encouragement if you were able to complete them by year- end. If you redoubled your efforts over the next few days, which activities do you think you could realistically accomplish?
For example, if rising costs impeded your plan to be debt-free by December 31, can you clear your outstanding arrears or pay off one of your smaller loan balances? If these options are still not possible, can you make an appointment with the loan officer to restructure your loan?
The idea is to work on a small, achievable target that will give you a psychological boost to close off 2015. Although there may be many things left to do to accomplish the larger goal, at least you were successful in one of the steps, thereby furthering your progress towards the finish line.