Can you believe it is already the end of June 2017? Where did the first half of the year go?

Summertime is now in the air. Sun, fun and the sand between your toes have you dreaming of strawberry daiquiris and boating (or maybe that’s just me). However, before you get comfortable in that lounge chair and jump straight into the second half of the year let’s stop and take a minute to reflect.

Halfway through the year is a great time to think about what you have and have not accomplished towards your financial goals. Then, re-plan for the next six months to come. Below I have questions to help you get your financials back in tune.

Think back to when we started 2017

    • What were your financial goals in January?
    • Are you on track? Have you made progress?
    • Did you stick to your savings or a debt-payoff goal?
    • Do you have more or less discretionary income than you thought? (Building up a balance in your checking account?)
    • How do you feel you did these first six months? Positive? Negative?

After writing the answers to these questions down, think about where you are now versus where you thought you would be today.

Now is a great time to readjust. In the last six months, if you haven’t met your goals, review why not. Have things just come up, out of your control, that ate away at your cash? Did you spend more than you budgeted? What can you do differently?

One idea is, try having “FREE” days. At least once a week. What is a free day you ask? As it sounds, it is a day where you spend no money! For me, when I schedule free days, it helps me to limit my unnecessary purchases. Which in turn, helps me realize how many times I buy silly things that I want in the moment but don’t need. Some months I look back at my credit card I have 10 or more $1-20 purchases, and they add up very quickly. We want to eliminate the unnecessary and unfulfilling random splurges. Put that money towards something satisfying that will bring you long-term joy. The goal on free days is to help yourself realize what you need vs. what you want. It is a one day exercise and challenge I highly recommend.

Now that you have written down what happened in the last six months, and have some ideas on how to financially challenge yourself, let’s plan how you will reach your financial goals in the next six months to come.

Adjustments for the next six months

    • Can you increase savings towards the goals you had? How will you?
    • Do you have a new goal you need to save too? What is it?
    • Is there anything causing you financial stress you can look at reducing in some way?
    • What would make you feel financially successful by year end?
    • Imagine yourself at the end of 2017, what is your mental picture of financial success?

Now, can you commit to making these changes happen? It is essential that you choose small and bite-size goals at first in this process. Make sure that your goals are not too overwhelming as it defeats the purpose. If you are too strict, you will burn yourself out in a few months, and it won’t last the full six.

Building successful financial habits is like being on a diet. When you are trying to eat healthily, it is always a balance of good food and enough indulgence where eating the good food, most of the time isn’t so bad. Then, after a while, you don’t even want the bad food anymore. That is what we want to accomplish. We want to take small strides to create successful financial habits in the next six months that will hopefully last you a lifetime.

The Key
The greatest habit of all is always to be mindful of your money. If you are conscious and aware of your financial situation, you will have full control. It is when you don’t want to think about it or when it isn’t top-of-mind that the train will fall off the tracks. Knowing where you are now and what your goals are, and keeping them top-of-mind, will ultimately make you successful. Awareness and will-power are the true keys to success.

Keep Being Aware
Make a note in your calendar to review our goals every month for the rest of the year. Each month review how you are doing. It might sound like a lot of work, but if you want to make significant progress on your goals it is essential to keep them a priority, so you can make quick adjustments if your plan goes awry.

Also, if you share your goals with others or make them known, you are more likely to stay on track. Try this exercise with a friend or significant other. Keep each other accountable for reaching your version of financial success by the end of 2017.

At the end of 2017, look back at the whole year. How much better did you do in the second half of the year planning versus in the first half?

If writing down and visualizing your goals helped you stick to them, make it an annual plan!