For the numerous Americans who make financial resolutions at the start of the year only to give up on them come February, follow these tips to make your goals stick.
Understanding your values and attitudes about money will bring clarity to the decision-making process. It will help you identify your values and make resolutions based on those values.
Write down your resolutions.
Clearly articulate why you think a resolution is a good idea, steps you can take to reach your goal, and what you hope to gain. Post your list somewhere you can see it each day.
Share your resolutions with your family and friends. You will be more likely to keep them knowing you are accountable to someone.
Monitor your progress regularly.
If you are trying to reduce debt, make sure you check your balances often. Set aside a couple of hours each week to address your finances.
Do it now.
Many of us wait until we feel the time is right to begin new behaviors. If we wait until after the big party to start watching our diets, or until after that big purchase to start saving money, the ideal time never will present itself.
Vary goal intensity. Give yourself a short-term goal such as paying more than the minimum on one credit card this month. A long-term goal could be setting up — and adding to — the emergency savings account you know you should have but didn’t get around to starting last year.
Address conflict logically.
If you are finding yourself breaking a financial goal by reverting to old spending habits, identify what value might be causing you to stray and take the time to ask yourself if the decision is appropriate given your current financial situation.