How to Stick to Financial New Year’s Resolutions

Published on January 7, 2020 by Lauren

You may be wondering how to stick to financial new year's resolutions this year. The new year is a popular time to make resolutions about all the things you’ll do better next year. Financial goals are common, such as getting out of debt, building your emergency fund, or starting a side hustle.  

The trouble is sticking to your plan. Most new year’s resolutions don’t make it past January 17, according to USA Today. But if you can make it that far, there’s a 40% chance you’ll still be going strong after six months.

I’ve had my fair share of financial failures. I learned a lot from my mistakes, and I’m going to share my best tips with you. Watch the video below to find out what my 2020 financial new year's resolutions are.

Here’s how to increase the odds of making your financial goals come true.

How to Stick to Financial New Year’s Resolutions:

1.) Set realistic goals.

You’ve heard the saying, “Go big or go home!” But that’s not good advice when it comes to setting new year’s resolutions. Consider making small changes when thinking about your goals for next year.

While making a big change sounds like a good idea, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Break down your goal into smaller changes to make achieving it more realistic.

For instance, if your goal is to get out of debt, kudos to you! That is a great goal. The trick to turning your goal into something realistic is to come up with smaller steps to help you get there. 

You might start with a goal of paying off $2,000 of your credit card debt. Once you’ve hit that mark, set a new milestone and learn how to stay debt free.

2.) Find your “why.”

Making a new year’s resolution is an exciting time. You’re full of passion and are convinced you’ll succeed, no matter what. Once the initial excitement wears off, following through with your resolution can be hard. 

When it gets tough, you’ll need a little extra motivation to keep you going.

That’s where you “big why” comes in. Think about the reason behind your goals. Why did you pick those particular targets?

You may need to dig deep to find your motivation. If you can move beyond “I’m doing this because I should do this” to find the real reason you want to make it happen, you’ll have plenty of fire to fuel your journey. 

Get a printable WHY worksheet in my Free Printable Budget Pack – you can download that in the freebies section of my website or by filling out the form below.

3.) Put it on autopilot.

Self-control is often in short supply. Even the most dedicated goal-getter can have moments of weakness and stray from their carefully laid plans. 

There’s one way to make sure your goals come true: put it on autopilot.

Budget apps, direct deposit, and bank transfers make putting your finances on autopilot easy. Then you only have to decide once to do the right thing, and the rest is done automatically.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Talk to your employer about setting up a recurring transfer to your 401(k) to build your retirement savings. 
  • Fill out a direct deposit slip to automatically put part of your paycheck into your emergency fund.
  • Ask your bank if they have a program to round up every purchase and deposit the spare change into a savings account. You might be surprised how quickly those round-ups grow!
  • Sign up for a Smarty Pig Account and set up an automatic deposit from your checking account.

4.) Find an accountability partner.

Keeping your goals a secret means you won’t have to face criticism if you don’t follow through. An accountability partner can help keep you on track with your financial new year’s resolutions. 

If you’re tempted to go out to eat or buy that amazing pair of boots you saw at the mall, an accountability buddy can remind you of your financial goals.

Your spouse or partner is a logical choice if you’re married or in a relationship. Otherwise, find a trusted friend to confide in.

Another option is to start a blog and write about your progress. You can share your triumphs and failures with your readers, and they can comment on your journey. Knowing you’re going to publish your experience on the internet can be an excellent motivator to stay accountable.

5.) Remind yourself often.

It’s easy to forget the promises you made to yourself. Or you might think, “Just this once will be okay.” I know how tempting it is because I’ve been there.

The secret to making your financial new year’s resolutions stick is to create reminders and review them often.

Here are a few options to keep your goals front and center:

    • Make a list and hang it on your refrigerator. 
    • For savings goals, create a chart to track your progress.
    • Take a picture of your list of goals and set it as the wallpaper on your phone.

These ideas might sound silly, but changing financial habits can be hard. Having a reminder in plain site can help you make better choices when faced with a decision that might throw you off track.

6.) Create checkpoints throughout the year.

The best goals take time to accomplish. You won’t reach your new year’s resolutions overnight. Create a system to measure your progress. Then set an appointment on your calendar to check in with yourself to see how well you’re doing.

For savings goals, you might aim to reach a certain balance in your bank account. If you’re trying to cut down on going out to eat, make a chart and give yourself a gold star every day you eat at home.  This tips reminds me of sinking funds, watch my video on what sinking funds are here.

Sticking to a new year’s resolution can be challenging. To increase your chance of success, set realistic goals, break them down into small steps, and check-in with an accountability partner. And most importantly, don’t give up!

 

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COMMENTS

  • I think people are comfortable just verbally stating their new year resolutions without actually working towards it. These tips here are very practical. Well done!

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