Making Your Financial Resolutions Stick
Do you ever get tired of hearing about all the resolution jokes about not sticking to your resolutions or reaching your goals? It can be tough to change, and often you try at the beginning and end up making a misstep or two along the way. Although I love making resolutions, I know how hard it can be to follow through for the entire year. Sometimes your goals will change, life happens and gets in the way of the changes you want to make or you just have a hard time following through.
If you have given up on making resolutions or setting goals, then you may want to try these ideas. The best way to make lasting changes is to have a clear goal in mind. You will also need to break it down into steps. Here are five things you can do to make your financial resolutions stick this year.
It may be a great goal to get out of debt, but if you make $45,000 a year and have $50,000 in debt, it is not likely to happen in a year. The same goes for savings goals. If you set a goal that is too extreme, you are simply setting yourself up for failure. Additionally, you need to make sure that you are in control of the outcome of your goal. Instead of landing your dream job at a specific company, you may want to put out a set number of applications or complete specific training that will help you land the job that you want.
Take Control of Your Budget
If you do not have a budget, you will not reach your goal, because you are not using your money to the best possible purpose. A budget gives you the most control over your finances. It lets you decide how to prioritize your spending, and it also lets you identify where the problems are so you can address them.
Identify Your Bad Habits
Financial goals are similar to weight loss goals. If you are on a diet there are certain foods, you likely do not want to have in your house. You need to identify the habits that are costing you the most money and find ways to eliminate them. When you do this, you will free up money for your goals, so you can make them happen.
It is easier to make real changes when you have people cheering you on and encouraging you. If you are married, this should be your spouse, but even then you may need additional help like a class or a support group. Finding a group of people that can help you work on your goals will help you stick your goals. Even though money can sometimes be a taboo topic, finding a friend that you can talk to about it can also help you stay on track for the year.
Don’t Give Up
You may find as the year goes on that you stumble a bit with your goals. You may find that you need to set new ones or that your life takes an unexpected turn with a new job or a new relationship. It is okay to reset your goals. In fact I think it is important to check in about once a quarter to track your progress and adjust as needed. You should remember that any progress forward is better than staying in the same situation that you are now.
The key is to keep trying.