We all know that crash diets usually end up in a huge binge—and spending works in the same way. So, this year it’s time to get serious about your spending goals and embark on a #lifestyle change, not just a financial diet. We chatted to Chelsea Murphy, founder of Cash., a financial planning firm dedicated to positive money management. They’re all about people having a great (and lasting!) relationship with their money. They’ve put together a few tips that’ll help you to tighten your belt for good.

Know what you want

Just like fitness goals, financial goal setting is all about getting specific. You make a resolution to start running but when do you know you have reached your target? Is it running 500m? 5kms? 50kms? Is it running at a certain speed for a certain period? You’ve got to get detailed and document exactly what you desire so you know what you are working for and also know once you have reached it.

Save for a holiday or overseas retreat? Save for a house deposit? Pay off your credit card? Build a financial buffer to easily manage unexpected expenses or changes in income? Earn more? Give more? Start building wealth for your future? Build your financial knowledge or confidence? Bottom line – Know what’s important to you, know how much it will cost you in dollars, know the date you want to achieve it by and write that down.

Ask why

Fitness goals take work, day in and day out. Financial goals are the same – it’s the little things that add up to make the big difference. The best way to keep focused is to know why your goals are important to you. Knowing your why is what will keep you on track when easier or more instantly gratifying options come up in your busy, day to day life. It’s all about keeping your eye on the prize. When you know why you want something it will make every ‘yes’ and ‘no’ you need to say, in order to achieve your vision, so much clearer. It’s either going to lead you to your goal, or it’s not.

Make your goal relevant to today

Training for something new, like running a half marathon, is usually broken up into much smaller targets. Perhaps starting at 5kms and building up in increments. It’s about choosing something achievable and then when you have the right momentum, stretching yourself until you reach your destination. Financial goals are exactly the same. You’ve chosen your ‘big thing’ so just break that down into something achievable today. Something positive each day, and each week, that will lead you to where you want to go. Maybe it’s skipping mindless retail therapy in your lunch break. It could be paying extra off your credit card. Or, setting up a savings account and downloading a good money app. The small wins will give you encouragement to keep on going until you reach what you set out for.

Remember where you have come from

You know what’s inspiring? Before and After pics! Seeing your position at the start of the journey and then comparing it to where you are once you have made progress is a beautiful thing. Document your ‘before’: take a screenshot of your account or document your net worth. Get visual so you can see your journey as you progress. A chart on your wall that you fill in regularly to see progress is incredibly powerful to stay committed to what you want.

Find your #SavingsSister or #WealthWife

When I want a really good workout I have a friend that I text to meet me at the gym. I know that when I workout with her I work harder. She gives it her all and that inspires me to put in everything I have too. So, find someone to join your wealth workout. Someone to inspire you, help keep you accountable and be there when you just don’t feel like doing what you said you would do. Choose someone who you think is savvy with their money and share your goals with them. You will be an amazing support for each other, it’s about being their strength when they don’t feel focused and vice versa. Choose the person who inspires you to your goals, the accountability factor can be incredibly motivating.

Didn’t have time to read all of the above? We get it. Here’s the recap:

Elevating your financial fitness is something that can enhance many aspects of your life so go ahead and dream big, ask yourself:

  • What do I want to achieve this year/this month?
  • Why do I want to achieve this?
  • What can I do today, and this week, that will lead me to those goals?
  • Where am I right now compared to what goals I have set?
  • Who can I recruit to share and enhance this journey with me?

Here’s to a year of exciting financial goals and success.