I’d always been torn about New Year’s resolutions till last year. They’re promising in theory, but in the end they usually turn into an unrealistic challenge. Feel the same way? Below I share 8 tips that helped me keep my 2012 financial goals.
- Pick a day. Any day. You don’t have to start in January as long as you start! For me, January is complicated enough trying to get back to my regular schedule after the holidays. Adding more things to my to do list only overwhelms me AND there’s a greater chance I’ll give up. Instead I brainstorm the goals I’m going to tackle (or goals I’m going to smash, as BB would say).
- Write them down. It’s less difficult to forget about your resolutions if you jot and keep them handy.
- Check in. Set up calendar reminders to check in on your goals and adjust if necessary. Being flexible is a must!
- Be specific. Detailed goals can be accomplished more easily as you’ll know what the payoff will be in the end. Let’s say you want to save money this year. Instead of writing “Save more money,” write “I’m saving $150 a month.” Talk about motivation! With some quick math you know you’ll have $1,800 in just 12 months. Don’t forget to add the interest in your calculations to get a better picture.
- Change your habits. It takes 28 days (about a month) to change habits. In this case, you’ll have to learn to skip frivolous purchases to have money leftover to put away. If you slip, it will take you another 28 days so be patient!
- Don’t beat yourself up. The trick is to continue trying to achieve your goals instead of giving up. Take it one day at a time. You CAN do it!
- Share them with others. Sharing goals with family and friends can keep you motivated. The reason? Many of them may already be quite good at keeping you in check! This was a real motivator for me last year as I shared my goals online for EVERYONE to read.
- Automate. The odds of reaching your goals will increase if they take less time and effort to accomplish. My trick is spending about an hour setting up automatic bank transfers. This way, there’s no chance the money burns a hole in my pocket.