How to Keep New Year’s Resolutions
New year’s resolutions are made with the best intentions. Unfortunately, they are not usually followed through. There are many reasons why this might be the case. Here are 5 ways to help you overcome the challenges and succeed with your financial new year’s resolutions, and financial goals in general.
1. Make Your Resolution a ‘Real’ Goal
Goals like ‘a comfortable retirement’ or ‘financial freedom’ for example, are vague terms that have no indicators to signal what needs to be done to achieve the goal. They aren’t ‘real’ goals.
A ‘real’ goal has parameters that allow you to identify your progress and signal when you have achieved it. An effective way to set meaningful goals is to use the SMART acronym (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound).
2. Identify Your Motivation
Identifying why you’re making the resolution in the first place is a key factor to success. A good way to do this is to consider what benefit it will have to your life, now or in the future. What does the difference between achieving the goal and not achieving the goal look like?
3. Understand Your Financial Behaviours
If your resolution is a big one, breaking it down into smaller steps can help overcome potentially destructive financial behaviours, and make it more attainable. These smaller steps help give you direction in short-term decision making. Many day-to-day financial decisions are made, and rationalised by our brain, in a split second. With no clear direction, this can often result in short-term financial decisions sabotaging our longer-term finances. Having a clear idea of what you’re aiming for and the steps needed to get there allows us to make informed day-to-day financial decisions that contribute to, instead of hindering, our main objectives.
4. Recognise and Appreciate Your Progress
Recognising and rewarding yourself for progress toward your resolution helps to keep you motivated and on track for the long-term. Set a time to regularly review your progress and make adjustments where necessary. If you identify early that an adjustment needs to be made, it will often only need to be minor. It’s also worth noting that your progress doesn’t need to be ‘all or nothing’. Progress, even if smaller than expected, is still progress and should be celebrated.
5. Recognise that achieving financial goals can be difficult
Unfortunately, improving your finances is often much more complicated than simple math. If you have set some major resolutions, you will probably benefit from professional help. A good financial planner can help you to set effective goals and identify important parameters like if the goal is achievable and relevant. They can show you what the difference between achieving the goal and not achieving the goal will look like. They’ll also regularly review your situation to make sure you’re on track and suggest adjustments or improvements along the way.
Whatever it may be, if you can recognise the roadblock that is preventing you from fulfilling your new year’s resolutions, you can figure out a way around it. Keep in mind that you don’t have to do it alone. Often the most effective way to reach your financial goals is to enlist professional help.
General Advice Warning: Any advice given herein is general in nature and has not taken into consideration your personal financial objectives, situation or specific needs. You should consider the appropriateness of the advice as it relates to you before acting upon it. Where a specific product has been mentioned, you should always consult the PDS before making any investment decision relating to it.