Struggling to keep your financial New Year’s Resolutions? You’re not alone. According to our research, in 2016, only one third of Americans said they accomplished their financial goals for the previous year. So how do you become part of that elite one third of goal-getters? Easy. Check out these simple steps to getting back on track.
1. Remind Yourself of Your Money Resolutions
The best way to get back on track is to remind yourself where the tracks are. According to Statistic Brain, people who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to succeed than those who don’t. You took the first step to make your money resolution. Now, take a minute to remember the details of your goal. What was the overall objective? When were you hoping to accomplish it? What steps were you planning to take to get there? And, don’t forget the reason. Remembering why you’re working for something is key to getting it done.
2. Give Yourself a Grade
Speaking of getting it done, maybe you’re doing okay, but given that you’re reading this article...maybe not. We won’t hold that against you! You should, however, be honest with yourself about your progress. Open up your accounts and crunch the numbers. Ask yourself what’s working and what’s not – and most importantly, why. In writing it out you may find that you’ve accomplished more than you realized, and you’ll have better insight into how you can crush your goals.
3. Go from Massive to Mini
Assessing your progress will likely give you a nice dose of reality, but don’t give up. Just readjust. Is your goal realistic? Is it measurable? A resolution is a marathon not a race so pacing yourself is the best thing you can do to make it to the finish line. Do you need to give yourself more time to achieve it? Do you need to dial it back? Sometimes our goals are so lofty they can seem insurmountable. But no goal is out of reach.
Now that you’ve seen what you can reasonably accomplish in a short period without falling off the horse, consider turning your resolution into several “mini goals” with timelines of their own—and stick to them. Make them SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely), so they’re easier to track.
4. Keep an Eye on Your Progress and Celebrate Your Successes
By tracking your progress, you get a two-fer: you’ll know how you’re doing day-to-day and you’ll stay focused. If nothing else, you’re at least thinking about your goals more often.
There are several digital tools for seeing how you’re progressing against your financial goals. If you’re trying to reduce debt, you could use a payoff calculator or a debt reduction calculator. If you’re tracking your spending and a good ol’ fashioned spreadsheet just isn’t doing it for you, try one of the many apps that do the heavy lifting for you. Some of them will even let you know when you’ve hit a milestone on the road to your end goal and will tell you how much further you have to go.
Reached one of your new mini goals? Bask in the glow of your hard-earned success and reward yourself with more than the virtual gold star on your new favorite finance app – in a financially responsible way, of course. Take that bubble bath or snuggle up with your favorite novel for a few hours. With each mini success, you’ll be one step closer to conquering your quest for financial success.
5. Get a Little #Inspo from Your Friends
You may be deep into adulting at this point in your life, but the buddy system still works. Try letting someone in on your plan, it will help keep you accountable. Think about it, when you have people coming over, suddenly that pile of clean laundry on the chair really needs to be folded and put away. The same goes for your goals.
Ask your partner or a reliable friend to check in on your path to success—regularly. Chat about it over your morning coffee or right before your and your bff’s weekly screening of your favorite show. You don’t have to divulge your entire financial situation, just let them know what your aim is and the steps you’re taking to get there. Knowing you have to tell someone how it’s going once or twice a month is a surefire way to kick you into gear and keep you moving.
6. Start Again
They say the first step is the hardest to take. So, start small. Knock out one of your “mini goals,” and kick off round two with a win. Let that positivity drive you to your next win and the next.
Remember you aren’t starting over, you’re just starting again. And that right there puts you ahead of the rest.