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Going over the third quarter, looking forward to the fourth

The beginning of October marks the beginning of the fourth and final quarter of the year. It’s a good time to take inventory of what you’ve done for the first three quarters, and to look forward to the final stretch of 2011.

Before you figure out how to make the fourth quarter your best quarter, you need to take a look at how the first three really went. Revisit the financial, professional and personal goals you set for yourself at the beginning of the year. Write them down on a piece of paper, and figure out how much progress you made from January to now.

How have you done so far?

If you’ve made meaningful progress towards your goals, and you’re proud of what you’ve accomplished so far, congratulations. Keep being dedicated and persistent and you will continue to get the results you desire. If you haven’t made the progress you set out to, the beginning of the third quarter is a good time to reevaluate your plans.

Look back over the past three, six and nine months. More specifically, take an honest look at your behavior. When you had time to work on your goals, did you do it? When you had extra money to save for a dream house or for a new business, did you invest it or blow it? You behavior will give you insight to if the goals you picked for yourself were goals that you actually wanted.

What’s next?

Next is more action towards you goal(s). Compare where you are right now to where you want to be by New Years’. Map out a plan to get to that end point – or as close to is as possible.

Let’s say you had a personal goal of a specific amount of weight, a career goal of starting a side business and a financial goal of paying off your car. Maybe you ran into some obstacles during 2011 that maybe got you off track of any combination of those goals.

A divorce or death in the family threw you off the weight-loss goal. A job change or loss made you put paying off your car on the back-burner. And a new baby or major move meant the side business had to wait. Since the year is coming to a close, you know that there’s only so much you can do in three months. But you can still make significant progress towards any or all of these types of goals in that time.

Sure, you can’t lose 50 pounds by New Years’ Eve. But you can begin to eat healthier and going on walks or begin to lift weights a couple times a week. Even though you didn’t pay off your car this year like you said, you use these last three months to make extra payments and/or set up a new financial plan to get your car paid off by mid-year 2012.

The lesson in this is that there is enough time this year – right now – to go after the things you want. It’s never too late to live the life of your dreams, and now is as good a time as any to go after the things that make you happy.

Tags: goal setting, achieving goals, set goals for yourself, new years’ resolutions, Julie Murphy casserly, emotion behind money, personal finance, chicago financial planner, chicago authors, chicago women in finance

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