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Setting goals helps to improve your finances

Guide to change: A roadmap to making the financial changes that will help you meet your goals

Setting goals — Week 5 of the 14-week Bermuda plan to dramatically improve your finances.

This week we discuss thinking about setting goals, deciding what those goals are or what just one goal should be and the process needed to reach your personal goals.

What should those goals be? Only you can decide that. It does not matter what the goal is – the end game here is to help you get to the touchline. That means putting dollar figures on those goals, then figuring out how to get them. Some may take a month, six months, a year, five, 10, 20 years.

Goals may be any that are relevant to you:

• Owning a home

• Obtaining a graduate education for yourself, or for your children

• Starting a long-term successful business

• Jewellery or watches

• A vehicle

• A new career

• Relocate

• Very expensive shoes, bags, suits

• A fabulous vacation.

My preference is for you to focus on acquiring goals that appreciate in value first, but sometimes you need the incentive to start — by saving for a small treat before you take on the big hurdles.

There are only two steps.

• Make changes in your personal financial habits to save for the goal — covered in Week 6.

• Figure out the cost of the goal and divide by the number of months, or years, you think it reasonably could take to reach the savings goal.

Taking action. First, You have to believe that when you are setting financial (or any other goals) that you can and will achieve them, no matter the obstacles. You have to believe in yourself, absolutely.

This means change. Do you want to change? This is your decision. You may need to modify your financial behaviour to achieve your goals. And, that is a very hard thing to do.

Because it means changing what and who you are now. Change means taking risks. Change means you could fail and feel foolish. Change may mean losing personal relationships — if you decide to say, cut back on expensive partying nights out, or going on a diet (to save on groceries), or changing other personal habits that no longer will match those of your friends. You may be criticised: called stingy, cheap, and lots of other snide (really envious) remarks.

We are all afraid of change. We hate to get out of our comfort zone, even when we are not the least bit happy in that zone.

Have a look at the ‘Five Key Stages of Change’* above. The path is not a straight line. The key, even if you relapse, is to just keep going!


1. You may feel you are not ready to make a change, or that your situation is just too tough to ever resolve.

2. Then, the more you think about the goals, the more determined you become to start, but you are still not sure if you want to take the challenge on.

3. A bit more thinking, you are not sure, but then, you decide to layout an action plan.

4. The biggest stage. You start to change your financial behaviour to increase your savings.

5. You are elated. You have a change savings plan in place. You will need to continually work on maintaining that positive can-do attitude.

Here is a little secret. Nothing — outside of your mind — ever stays the same. The pace of change in business today is so fast, it is almost frightening to think about. Even if you don’t want to change, eventually you will be forced into changing your behaviour, your financial habits, and your life.

When you are forced to make changes, you have no control. Wouldn’t you rather make the decision to positively change to achieve your goals, not someone else’s?

Change means progress. If you keep doing the same things over and over, you are going to get the same old results and end up with the same old frustrations.

Embrace change in your life.

Let it take you to new heights of success.

Those readers who are interested in continuing this 14-week plan have been working very hard. There have been requests for budgets and e-mails for help. I am happy to help anyone implement the 14-week plan to achieve financial success.

Keep sending me e-mails. I will respond.


You are let off easily today with motivational quotes from Zig Ziglar, one of the most successful salesmen of all time, and the late Oliver W Sacks, MD, who passed away last week at age 82. Dr Sacks’ studies of the human neurological sciences gave us incredible insight into how our human minds work — and what we, as human beings, are capable of.

Oliver Sacks: “Whether it is by learning a new language, travelling to a new place, developing a passion for beekeeping or simply thinking about an old problem in a new way, all of us can find ways to stimulate our brains to grow, in the coming year and those to follow. Just as physical activity is essential to maintaining a healthy body, challenging one’s brain, keeping it active, engaged, flexible and playful, is not only fun. It is essential to cognitive fitness.”

Zig Ziglar: “You were born to win, but to be a winner, you must plan to win, prepare to win, and expect to win.”

Take your steps to be financially successful. Keep your mind fit, because it will keep your financial life fit.

Keep at it, readers. This 14-week Bermuda plan to dramatically improve your finances is so important, that it could change your life.

* Reference source for the ‘Five Stages of Change’ originally came (according to Google) from two researchers Carlo C DiClemente and J O Prochaska to assist psychologists. The model has been adapted over the years to help motivate anyone wanting to change their behaviour (lifestyle), ranging from financial habits, relationships, dietary, workouts and more.

Dr Alex Lickerman. Happiness in this World Blog https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/happiness-in-world/200910/5-steps-changing-any-behavior

Martha Harris Myron CPA PFS JSM Masters of Law: International Tax and Financial Services, appointed to the Professional Tax Advisory Council, American Citizens Abroad. https://americansabroad.org/. Principal: The Pondstraddler* Life™ Consultancy providing international financial planning, publications, presentations for Bermuda residents, their multinational families and connections. Contact: martha@pondstraddler.com