Now that the holiday season is coming to an end and a new year is on the horizon, now is a great time to think about your goals for the future. If you’ve spent a lot of money on gifts and parties over the last month, then you have even more reason to improve your financial management, get back on track, and maybe even work towards getting out of debt. It’s time for a financial New Year’s resolution.
About 40% of Americans make a New Year’s resolution. However, only about 8% of them actually follow through and achieve their goal. Sticking to a resolution takes self-control, discipline, and perseverance. Aside from those personality traits and the determination that it takes to succeed, you also have to set yourself up for success.
Tips to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolution
Don’t set your goal too high
It may sound pessimistic, but many people set huge goals for their resolution. These people are only setting themselves up for failure with such lofty goals. The key to an achievable resolution is to make it something realistic; something you can see yourself actually doing. Don’t expect to win the Mr. Universe competition if you’ve never picked up a weight. That doesn’t mean you can’t reach your goal. Just set a goal that you can reach.
Make your resolution as specific as possible
The more broad and vague your resolution is, the less likely it is that you can achieve it. You need a specific goal to work towards. “Losing weight” or “making more money” is not specific enough. Identify a specific action with a defined result that you want to complete. “Make more money” could become “obtain a new skill that will help my career.” Then you can find a workshop or professional certification course to obtain that skill. Does it guarantee more money? No. But it’s a specific goal that you can achieve which may help you earn more money.
Measure your resolution progress
You have a whole year to stick to your resolution. This is a marathon, not a sprint. A long-term goal needs target goals and deadlines to make sure you stay on track. Set up targets every few months to make sure you are sticking to your resolution. Track your progress and you are far more likely to reach your goal.
Make yourself accountable by telling people about your resolution
The more people who know about your resolution, the more people you will have to answer to. Tell all your friends and family about your goal. They are likely to ask about your progress and, when they do, you’re going to want to have positive news to share. Even if you feel guilty or pressured by it, it is still a motivational tactic to help you stay on track.
Do your resolution with a partner
Another great motivational strategy is to team up with a friend who has a similar resolution. You can use each other as coaches, teammates, or even competitors to inspire yourselves to keep working towards your goal. You can exercise together, take a class, or simply provide guidance and support for one another.
Whether you’re saving up for a big purchase, trying to build an emergency fund, or working towards getting out of debt, use these tips as a guide to set your plan of action, and you’ll be on the right path to achieve your goal for the year.
Want to know what the most common financial goals are for this year? Participate in this quick poll question and you’ll see the answers! Poll: What is your biggest financial goal for 2015?