5 Tips for Setting Financial New Year Resolutions that Stick

Ah, the obligatory financial New Year resolutions post. Here's how to make resolutions that stick. And please accept my best wishes for a prosperous New Year.

Every year, many of us make financial New Year resolutions. This is because many of us can see things that could improve our finances. Unfortunately, too many resolutions are broken by the time March rolls around. If you are looking for financial New Year resolutions that stick, here are five things to try:

1. Figure Out What Matters

The surest way to fail with your financial New Year resolutions is to choose items that don't matter to you. Instead, look for ways to set resolutions that matter. Think about what you most want to accomplish with your money and what you think you can do to make the world a better place.

Decide what's truly important to you, then use your New Year resolutions to help you become the person you want to be. When you figure out what matters, you are more likely to set goals to help you become a better version of yourself. And those are goals that can be easier to stick to.

2. Set One Big Goal

Rather than trying to complete a laundry list of financial New Year resolutions, consider setting one big goal and breaking it down into multiple mini-goals. You don't really need a ton of resolutions. You're probably better off without a long list of things you wish would happen. Instead, figure out what one financial situation you would like to improve upon and make that your financial New Year resolution. Then, break it down into achievable steps, or mini-goals, that you can accomplish throughout the year.

3. Create Accountability

Next, you must find a way to hold yourself accountable for your goal. Write down your goal. Map it out by marking milestones you want to reach throughout the year. Let others know about your goal so that they can check up on you. An accountability partner can be a valuable way to stay motivated. You can work on your goals together.

You are more likely to stick to your resolutions if you have some mechanism for being accountable.

4. Don't Think of Resolutions as All or Nothing

One of the biggest reasons that people fail with their financial New Year resolutions is that they think in terms of all or nothing. If you get bogged down by thinking that once you slip up a little, it's all over, you will have difficulty sticking to your goals. Instead, realize that it's a process. Creating mini-goals will help you stay on track, but if you do get off track a little bit, realize that you can get back on track. One slip-up doesn't mean the end. You can still keep improving, and you can still work toward your money goals.

5. Remember to be SMART

At the very least, remember that you can set SMART goals. These are goals that have the following characteristics:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Your financial New Year resolutions can be all of these things. But it requires that you give some serious thought to your situation, and decide what you want to accomplish with your money. Figure out how you view your money (is it a tool?), and then create a goal that provides you with a way to put your values and priorities in action.

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