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5 tips to help you reach your financial goals

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -  Millions of people make financial resolutions for a new year, but how do you keep those resolutions?

The biggest obstacle is not being specific enough about what you want and why you're doing it.  FOX59 spoke with a consumer financial expert to get five simple tips to help.

The number one reason for not reaching your goal is a failure to properly define it.

The most common financial resolutions are to spend less and save more and pay down debt.  However, these goals are not specific and leave consumers with little direction. This often causes people to give up.

"Instead, identify specific details about your goal and include dates that you want to reach certain milestones. Also include a list of actionable items and write down the concrete steps you need to follow so that you have a plan that you can follow," said Andrea Woroch, a finance expert working with Marcus by Goldman Sachs.

The second tip is about being reasonable and starting small. Setting ambitious resolutions can be fun and inspiring, but if the goal is difficult to achieve, you are more likely to give up and feel frustrated.

Another way to get to your goal faster is by using tools.  According to a survey from Marcus by Goldman Sachs, almost 80% of creditworthy Americans in credit card debt don’t realize they can use a personal loan to pay down debt. However, consolidating through a personal loan can help people save on interest and reach their goal faster.

"If you're interested in seeing how much you can save over existing credit card debt, you can use a free savings calculator," said Woroch. "For example, there's one at Marcus.com that allows you to see how much you can save if you were to consolidate with a personal loan."

Financial tip number four is about tracking your progress. You can write down your goals or use apps to help out.  The Mints app will track how much you're saving or spending and putting toward your credit card on your phone and get updates in real time.

Finally, when you reach a financial goal, make sure to reward yourself. Celebrate with small rewards because being too aggressive when working toward any goal can cause burnout. Avoid this by setting up a rewards system for reaching mini-milestones.