Another year has flown by! Is it just me, or does time really accelerate as we get older? At any rate, I thought my last blog post for the year should probably be about your New Year’s resolution. Do you make one? Do you make more than one?
A 2012 research study by the University of Scranton says that more than 40% of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, but just 8% of those actually achieve them. Should those numbers discourage us and make us forget about making the resolutions? I don’t think so.
It is good to have a goal. It gives you something to shoot for and, in most instances, it’s better to make some progress than none. For example, a lot of young parents ask me about saving for their children’s college but get depressed when they find out how much college might cost. So they end up doing nothing. I can tell you, after helping put 3 kids through college that having some money saved is far better than having none!
Here are a few tips when it comes to making your financial resolutions for 2018:
Make it short and sweet: I will save more money in 2018, or I will pay down my mortgage in 2018, or whatever your goal is.
Make it specific: I will save $50 per week in 2018, or I will make one extra mortgage payment in 2018 by paying an extra $200 per month toward my principal
Make it inevitable: I will save the $50 per week by going to my HR rep and increasing my 401k contribution, or I will pay the mortgage down by setting up an automatic payment from my checking account.
Track your progress: Make an old fashioned “barometer” chart for your refrigerator and mark off every $50 you add to your savings, or make a graph that shows your mortgage balance going down each month.
Get Support: Share your resolution with one or two people that will help and encourage you. Better yet, trade off with someone else who is making a resolution. You can encourage them and they can encourage you.
Finally, it’s important to realize that goals worth achieving, like building a sufficient retirement fund or paying off a mortgage, etc. are not goals that can be achieved overnight. There will be bumps along the way, so it’s important to stay focused on the goal. Don’t beat yourself up if you get sidetracked. If you “fall off the rails”, don’t wait for next New Year’s to restart the goal. Pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and keep plugging away!
Merry Christmas and have a safe and Happy New Year!