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Goal setting

Tips to help you set and achieve your goals

The end of one year and the start of another always feels like a good chance to start afresh. It’s time to wipe the slate clean and set new goals.

Before you do this, take a moment to look back over the past year. Grab a pen and paper and write down three things you achieved and three things that you could have been done better. This will help you focus your intentions and start your planning for what you want out of the new year.

While it’s true that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail, with these tips you can beat those odds. Remember that reaching the top of the stairs starts with taking the first step.

What’s the biggest goal you want to achieve this coming year? And how do you plan to reach it? Use these three tips to help you get there.


  • Set very small changes in the way you do things every day. Don’t jump in too far too quickly. Start small and build from there.
  • Give yourself a daily reminder. By keeping your goals front of mind, you train your brain to focus on what you want to accomplish.
  • Keep yourself accountable by sharing your goals and intentions with others.

All too often we set a big goal, but we don’t break it down into smaller more achievable aims. This is a must if you want to create the behavioral changes necessary to reach your goal. Say your goal was to save $1,000 in six months. If you don’t set up a plan of action, it’s highly unlikely that you will have saved that amount by the end of the stipulated time period. However, if you commit to putting aside $40 each week, there’s a greater chance you’ll reach your ultimate goal.

Making tiny changes to attain remarkable results is the premise of James Clear’s book about changing habits: Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones. Treat yourself to a copy and see if it inspires you to make the breakthrough you’re seeking.

Keeping your goal forefront and centre is also necessary if you want to reach it. Write it down. Place it where you’ll see it every day. The back of the wardrobe door, the bathroom mirror, as a screensaver on your computer, or schedule a series of calendar alerts. Be inventive and keep your goal front of mind throughout the year.

Dean Karlan, a Professor of Behavioral Economics at Yale University, was the driving force behind stickK. It’s an online platform helping people achieve their goals by using a Commitment Contract.  Academic research shows people are more successful if they sign a contract about achieving their goals. At stickK, you sign a binding agreement with yourself. It drives behavioural change by using the psychological power of loss aversion and accountability. Tracking your progress weekly helps keep you motivated and having a referee monitor your progress keeps you committed.

So, bearing these three tips in mind, take that big goal, break it down, share it, keep it visible and commit to it daily. Little changes make big differences!

Need advice?

If you’d like advice about setting financial goals, get in touch with us for an obligation-free chat. Call us on 0800-230-235 or send an email admin@nzadvicegroup.co.nz to set up a time.