You always want to start by prayerfully writing down the big picture of where you want to end up. With the vision written down, you can then come back to the starting point and begin to work your way there. This calls for some financial goal setting.
Makes sure that you have your goals written down! – This makes it easy to review your goals from time to time and as you read them, you will get more and more energized to bring them to fruition. Financial goals should be divided into two categories:
1) Short-term goals – These are goals that you are looking to achieve in the next 3 years.
2) Long-term goals – These are the goals that you are hoping to achieve in the next 4 to 10 years.
It is important that you prioritize your goals based on your individual needs – personalize them. You also want to make sure that you give a date for the accomplishment of each goal.
If the goal is a very big one, it is a good idea to have milestone dates in between. Tick off each milestone as you accomplish it. Each milestone lets you know that you are indeed closer to accomplishing your goal. These interim achievements will help you stay motivated.
Remember that a goal without a date is nothing but a wish!
When people think of setting financial goals they get intimidated. Well, you don’t have to work on everything at once. You can even set just one goal and work on that, then as you gain confidence, you can start adding more goals. You need to make sure of the following though:
1) That your goals represent your own vision
2) That your goals are realistic and that you can pursue them with all your might.
3) That they are God inspired
Remember you need to put together SMART goals – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time Based. Here is how you would draft a goal:
“By the grace of God, I will ______ by _______”
Example: By the grace of God, I will save Ksh 100,000 by July 31st, 2018.
‘I will’ is emphatic and more energizing than ‘I hope to.’ Additionally, what you confess you possess. Remember to pray over your goals, confess their achievement and work through them. Once you have drafted your short term and long term goals, it is time to create a plan for how to achieve that goal.
A goal without a plan is just a wish. Anybody serious about their financial future will put plans in place to achieve the goals they have prayerfully set out for themselves. Proverbs 16:9 says, ‘In their hearts humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps.’ God will not plan for you. He has given you the freedom to make your plans prayerfully and then he establishes them in his might.
The best place to start is with your short-term goals. If one of your goals is to get out of debt, then sit down and write out a plan of how you will work that out. If your goal is to save 100,000/- in a year, write out a plan of how you will make it happen. If you have been dreaming of starting a business, put down that business plan. Without a plan, you will not see any progress. Alternatively, you may start off really pumped and then your morale will fizzle out along the way.
Accountability is very important when it comes to goal attainment. Is there someone who can hold you accountable? If you are a couple it may be a good idea to hold each other accountable financially. Sit down every month and review your plan and also check how much progress you are making. Whenever I see progress made I get very excited and get that much needed boost to keep going.
Some months will be great, and others you may fall short, but keep going. Persistence and consistency will get you there. Remember that the basis of all financial success is cash flow management. Keep track of what you are making and what you are spending. Work with a system of percentages allocated to giving, saving and spending.
If your income is small do not be discouraged. If all you can save is 500/- a month, do that. Remember that if you are faithful with the little you have, more will be added to you. But if you are not a good steward of it, then even the little you have will be taken from you.