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Setting achievable goals for 2014
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With January almost over, you may have taken the time to set goals and resolutions for the new year.

However, we all know that it is very easy to lose sight of our plans: the targets we set for ourselves may become less and less realistic, we could lose the interest and drive to continue and eventually, we can find that we have abandoned them completely.

To help set your goals better, you could adopt the “S.M.A.R.T.E.R” system when setting them. Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound and at different stages, you should Evaluate and Revaluate your goals.

The reason most of our goals and resolutions do not survive the year is because we do not set achievable goals. Contrary to general opinions, a goal is not a statement like "I will save N500,000 in 2014".

The statement is essentially the beginning of setting a goal. After the statement, you should plan the “how” to achieve the goal. It is also important to set realistic goals - you cannot expect to save N500, 000 if your total monthly income is N40,000 unless your plan includes getting another job or a different stream of income.

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The first thing to bear in mind when planning for the year is to set smaller goals for different times of the year as opposed to one for the whole year.

If, for instance, your goal is to lose weight, it is more realistic to set out to lose X kg every 2 months in 2014 as opposed to saying you will ‘lose weight’ in a year. This allows you to plan your actions and a timetable to track progress. Because the timeframe for each goal is shorter, you can measure progress and review your goals to stay motivated.

Tell people about your resolution- The reason for this is that you are now accountable to someone else so you probably will take it more seriously. Also, the support of family and friends when trying something new cannot be over-emphasised. Identify people you trust, respect and value their opinion. These may be your parents, siblings, spouse, friends and even children.

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Bring your goals into reality by writing it down. This could be on your diary or desktop background and there are lots of free apps to aid your goal setting and tracking. Whatever you chose, do not let it just be in your head. When you write it down, you can map a plan for achieving. This will ensure that what you plan is not far from your memory. It will also be a useful weapon against one of the biggest hindrances – procrastination.

Know your weak points and look for ways to work around them. If you plan to start building an investment portfolio this year and you have the tendency to spend a lot, consider setting up a direct subscription to mutual funds http://bit.ly/1cUuOW3.

Finally, bear in mind that every good plan requires determination to be a success so self-discipline is very important. And always remember to celebrate your progress and small victories.

Good luck!

Do you have any more useful tips? Share with a comment below or reach out to us with any feedback on Twitter: @StanbicIBTC or Facebook: fb.com/StanbicIBTC