It’s easy to vow to never eat junk food again. Especially when our stomachs are full and we’ve just finished stuffing our faces with dozens of Christmas goodies to the point that we’re miserable. The tough part is when that sugar buzz fades and our stomachs are empty. This is when there is a pretty good chance, we will quickly forget our previous misery and want another cookie.
The same can be said about Holiday spending. Maybe you overspent this Christmas, and you know the bills are just about to start rolling in. Right now, you are feeling bad because you vowed to improve your finances this year and you are in the “miserable stage.” So, what’s going to stop you from overindulging again next year when the holiday lights sparkle around every Sale and you are no longer in the “miserable stage”? A plan!
Here are five tips to start your 2022 resolution and keep it going strong!
- Be simple and specific.
Successful resolutions are specific and will require some planning. If you say you want to get better at managing your finances, then figure out what that actually looks like for you. Will you pay off debt? Build up a cushion of savings? Get more organized? If you want to have more money in savings this year, then decide how much you want to save and by when. Be realistic. Then, map out a plan that includes specific actions to move you towards achieving your goal. Your plan might include setting limits to your flexible spending and less fancy lattes or less eating out so you can afford to set money aside for savings. It might also include setting up an automatic transfer each month to your retirement account so you can reach your retirement goals. You will be much more likely to achieve your resolution if you develop specific concrete steps to reach your goal.
- Celebrate and track your progress.
It’s always important to recognize those small victories as you inch your way towards the greater goal. One of the main reasons that people abandon their New Year’s Resolutions is that they get discouraged when they don’t see positive results fast enough. Changing any habit or behavior isn’t easy and it requires sustained effort and commitment. You must be willing to do the work and take action and also be able to recognize when you’ve made progress along the way. Try writing your goals down along with a list of the steps you will take to achieve them. Your plan might also include keeping a spending/savings journal so you can track your progress.
- Don’t let a minor setback ruin your whole plan.
How many of you have vowed to never use a credit card again only to have your car break down before you have a chance to build up any savings? Or maybe this year you set aside your whole tax refund to save for a vacation and then had to spend it all repairing your furnace. When life throws you a curveball, don’t let your whole plan cave in. Keep in mind that this journey, we call life, generally includes 2 steps forward and 1 step back and that’s okay. Don’t give up! When you experience a setback, recognize it as a bump in the road and keep going!
- Pace yourself.
Don’t try to accomplish too much too soon. Keep in mind that you have all year. Behaviors and habits that are changed gradually have a greater chance of becoming permanent. Every good choice you make is moving you closer to achieving your goal. Be kind to yourself and reward your efforts and hard work. I often remind clients that the number one way to fail at budgeting is to deprive themselves of all “extras” or all fun. If you spend too much money dining out, then commit to trimming down in this area as opposed to cutting it out completely.
- Enlist additional support.
Goals are always easier to achieve when you have someone in your corner. Talk about your resolutions with a close and reliable friend so they can celebrate your progress with you and hold you accountable. If you are single or don’t have another adult in your home, it may help to find a “budget buddy” or someone working towards the same or a similar goal as you. Working together with another person can provide you with that extra motivation, support, and help to keep you focused. If you know this isn’t your strong point it may be time to bring in a professional. They have the techniques and training to help you meet your goals and can provide accountability.
Don’t forget, Provident Oak Financial LLC. is always here to support you along the way. Do you need some help creating a plan to ensure you stick with your financial resolutions this year? If so, then give us a call at 832-836-2459 ex. 700 to schedule your free consultation. Let us help you make 2022 the best year of your financial life!