Resolutions are easy to make but can be hard to keep. Now that you've made money resolutions for the New Year, here are some ways to help ensure they stick.
Don't put yourself in a position of re-deciding every month whether or not you actually want to stick to your savings or debt reduction plan. Once you've thought about your goals make them happen automatically. Set your savings goals to automatically come out on the date you choose (I recommend a couple days after your paycheck usually arrives). Setup automatic monthly investments into your retirement account. Have your bills paid automatically. Automate as many of your goals as possible so they'll continue to happen even when you stop thinking about them.
2. Set Specific, Tangible, Attainable Goals
Looking at a big number or a daunting task? Don't let yourself get overwhelmed. Not feasible to pay off all $55,000 of your school loans this year? That's okay, make your resolution to pay off your $3,000 loan by July and to put 70% of any bonus money you make this year toward your loans. By breaking your large, long term goals into smaller more attainable ones you'll keep yourself motivated and create attainable goals you won't be forced to give up on.
3. Ask for Accountability
Ask someone you trust and who you know will ask the hard questions to hold you accountable. If you're married or in a serious relationship get your significant other on board and share your goals and incentives with each other.
4. Focus on One Thing At A Time
Hoping to make more than one change this year? Don't overwhelm yourself. Pick one goal to start with, the one that motivates you most, and focus on that. Once you've changed that behavior you can move onto the next one.
5. Expect Setbacks
You're going to slip up on your goals. The important thing is that you don't quit. One lunch out or extra purchase isn't going to thwart your long-term plans, but giving up after you make one mistake will. Show yourself a little grace and stick with your goals even after you mess up.
About the Author
Stephanie (Custer) Vail is an LPL Financial Advisor with the Custer Financial Advisors team. She lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan and specializes in helping millennials with financial literacy and financial planning. To learn more about Stephanie and Custer Financial Advisors, visit www.CusterFinancialAdvisors.Com or email Stephanie at SVail@lpl.com.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. For advice specific to your situation, please contact us.