Tips for setting and achieving your goals

Goal setting is powerful as it defines our dreams and gives us something to stretch and aim for.

This year I want to buy a (tiny) house… I hope. I love a good new year’s resolution, maybe it’s the inner list writer in me, but there’s something seductive about writing a list of all the self improvement I’m going to do for the next 12 months.

Top of my list in 2018 is: master yoga handstands, get out cycling on my bike and save for a house deposit.

How to keep these lofty ambitions

Goal setting is powerful as it defines our dreams and gives us something to stretch and aim for. It’s also easy to lose motivation quickly when a goal seems too big, too small, too hard, too inconvenient….

I thought I’d turn to some of my Stockspot colleagues for their top tip on the process they go through to help them achieve their goals:

Stirling Mortlock – Head of Partnerships

Having spent a career kicking goals for Australian Rugby Stirling is familiar with goal setting. One of his tips is to start by simply writing your goals down.

“You can have an idea of what your goals are in your head, but when you put them down on paper those goals are now in the real world. Write your goals down, put them somewhere you see everyday or give them to someone will help keep you accountable.”

Larry Lee – Chief Marketing Officer

“I plan a road map. I break down goals into bite size chunks, when I reach one goal it keeps me motivated to keep going. I try not to overthink as it’s easy to get bogged down in the detail.”

Sarah King – Head of Client Care

“I question the intentionality behind the goals I’m setting. If there’s a genuine ‘intention’ there, I’m likely to achieve it, if not – I most likely won’t. It takes the pressure off and I won’t set that goal for myself.”

Chris Brycki – CEO & Founder

Chris reckons obstacles are your friend. “Obstacles are your most valuable asset when it comes to reaching your goals. They highlight the reality of what is required to accomplish them. And if you really wish to accomplish your goals, understanding and dealing with the reality of what is required is critical to make it happen.”

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Applying goal setting tips to real life…

I’m sure you’d love to hear how I’m going to be a better handstander but as this is a finance blog let’s look at how I’ll save for my (tiny) house.

What’s the intention behind wanting a house?

Ultimately it’s about long-term financial and psychological security. I don’t mind renting while I’m young but the insecurity of renting when I’m retired is not something I want to deal with.

I always want to be free to travel, enjoy life and not worry about affording essentials. So the more I save up over the next few years will experience the benefits of compound growth to help me reach my goal.

What are my obstacles to success?

The most obvious is my current spending habits, which means I need to make some sacrifices:

  • Buying new ‘stuff’ for 12 months? Yes, I can give up buying clothes, interiors, candles etc.

  • Pricey yoga classes? Not completely, but I can cut down and do yoga at home and in the park

  • Wine? 100 days alcohol free challenge anyone?

The insane prices of homes in Australia is also a big obstacle. I can’t do anything about this but I can invest my savings to get a better return on my money. Instead of a 1% return on a savings account, I’ve put money into a balanced investment portfolio (Stockspot’s Turquoise portfolio) which has returned 6.61% after fees in the last financial year.

The less obvious obstacle is ignoring market noise. It’s easy to get scared off from investing if markets are down and everyone is predicting the bottom of the market.

So I need to commit to the bigger picture (future financial security) and dollar cost average over the long-term. It means investing smaller sums of money more frequently. Instead of investing one lump sum at one price, if I invest regularly over a period of 12 months I’ll pay an average price.

What’s my goals road map?

I need to save and invest roughly a quarter of my salary every month to achieve the savings goal I want to reach. It might not be realistic to save this much every month so I’m going to break it down into quarterly savings goals to keep on track.

How will I be accountable?

Well I’ve written down my goals here already so I’m accountable to anyone who reads this…

Finally, I’m a fan of vision boards, it might sound a bit woo woo but they’re a great visualisation tool. I use pictures from magazines or online of what represents my goal. I cut and paste them onto a big sheet of poster board and stick it somewhere I see it everyday.

What are your goals for 2018? Hopefully these tips will help you achieve them and you can celebrate your success at the end of the year.

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Communications & PR

Lauren is Stockspot's head of PR and communications. She helps us minimise the jargon and maximise the info that matters most to clients. She believes investing and creating financial security shouldn't be scary, difficult or only for those with a finance degree.

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