4 Tips to Change New Year’s Resolutions Into Results
Find Success With Financial Goals
By Julie Jaggernath
Is 2022 the year you want to improve your finances? If you made new year’s resolutions it will take more than willpower to achieve your financial goals. Once the hype of the new year wears off and Blue Monday appears on the horizon, your motivation will likely start to wane. That’s because it always takes more effort to work on something new than to stick with our familiar habits. But don’t let that discourage you. Here are 4 tips that will help you outsmart yourself to change your resolutions into results.
Tip 1: Set Yourself Up for Success
Set yourself up to achieve your goals successfully by framing them realistically right from the start. This includes coming up with a contingency plan to navigate around your weaknesses, temptations, and the unexpected. Resolutions typically come with a hefty dose of guilt as we pressure ourselves to live up to our own expectations. However, that just adds to the reasons why we aren’t successful.
When our reasons for failure were simply due to life’s circumstances, it’s easy to feel defeated and throw in the towel. But life happens, we know it will. By planning for the worst and hoping for the best, you’ll feel better prepared to stick to your resolve and achieve your goals successfully.
Tip 2: Don’t Repeat Your Past Mistakes
Have you ever heard that some mistakes are so much fun to make that they’re worth repeating? While that might apply to time with friends, it doesn’t apply to our finances. Financial mistakes can be costly and take their toll on our health and wellbeing for years to come. If you struggled to achieve a previous goal you set, simply setting the same financial goal again and hoping for better results won’t cut it. In fact, your past lack of success might even be impacting your belief in yourself that you can actually succeed. To overcome these feelings of failure, you’ll need a few successes under your belt first. To get those successes, think about what you need to do differently this time so that you don’t repeat what contributed to your past failures. Think about:
- What got in the way of achieving the goal last time?
- Is there anything specific you should avoid doing because it didn’t work
- What preparation is needed if you set the same goal again?
- Is this a meaningful goal to set or are you just trying to make yourself feel better by trying again?
- Did anything work last time that you should do again?
Write your thoughts about these questions down. Look back at your answers when it gets hard to keep working on your goal. It can help to keep a journal and reflect in meaningful ways about your progress. Then allow yourself to change how you work on a goal – or even the goal itself – and cut your losses if something isn’t working. It’s okay to feel bad when you make the right decision for a more successful outcome because doing the same things over and over while expecting different results, we all know how that can turn out.
Tip 3: Learn How to Create a Better ‘To Do’ List
When we make resolutions, we tend to resolve to do certain things. Eat healthier meals and snacks. Exercise 60-minutes every day. Pay an extra $150 to our credit cards each month.
These are all pretty typical resolutions for ways to improve your life, but that can also be the problem. For instance, eating healthier meals and snacks takes a lot of effort. From shopping and learning how to interpret nutrition labels, to preparing, cooking, and even storing ready-made items, if your plan doesn’t include all of the steps it takes to allow yourself to achieve success, you’ll quickly get discouraged.
To exercise 60-minutes each day might even require your partner’s commitment to your goal so that household obligations or childcare duties can be rearranged to accommodate the minimum 7 hours each week that you’d need to spend on making your resolution a reality. Adjustments can of course be made, but if you don’t plan them in right from the start, you might unfairly beat yourself up for falling short of your goal.
If your goal is to pay extra money to your credit cards, where will the money come from? Will you spend less, work more, or do a bit of each? All three options require planning, and if you have a partner, it’s wise to outline your budget make your plans together.
Write Up Your ‘Do Not Do’ List Instead
Resolving to do something can sometimes be harder than resolving not to do something. Take Dry January for instance; those who participate choose not to drink alcohol for the month of January. The rules are simple – don’t drink alcohol for 31 days. Very little preparation is needed.
Consider the resolutions you made and decide if you’ve given yourself a fair chance at success. Maybe not buying the salt, fat, and sugar-laden convenience foods in the first place is the simpler way to encourage yourself to use the healthier food you also picked up.
Scaling back on how many streaming services you subscribe to might save you the money you need more easily than working an extra shift each week. Be creative as you consider the flip side of what you’re resolving to do because what not to do is often as important as what you need to do.
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Tip 4: Only Make One Resolution at a Time
Making resolutions is easy and can even be addictive. But the planning is often easier than the execution. Don’t underestimate how hard it is to make changes in your life. We are creatures of habit and feel comfortable with what is familiar to us. When it comes to making lasting change in our lives, small changes over a longer period of time tend to be easier to stick with than overhauling our life overnight.
Help yourself achieve success with your resolutions by only making one at a time. Keep it simple and avoid getting overwhelmed. One resolution is easy to remember and won’t spread your efforts out too thin. Furthermore, most meaningful resolutions require several steps. Do you recall from above what you have to do if you want to develop healthier eating habits? In essence, all of the things you need to do to support the success of one goal could be resolutions themselves.
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Find Success With Financial Goals and Your New Year’s Resolutions
The start of any new year is a time when many people decide to try something new to improve their life. However, every day is the start of the next 365 days to work on your goals. If you make resolutions but don’t succeed, the simple act of setting a goal and doing what you can towards it, even for a few weeks, helps you focus on what you are doing. This gives you insight into your actions, and if they are taking you closer to or further away from your goal. While you might feel like a failure if you fall short, the progress you made is still yours to keep. This is especially true with financial goals; the money you saved and the debt you did manage to pay off, those are still successes. Let them motivate you to keep working on your goals until you’re successful. And if you need help with your financial goals, we’re always here for you.