Many people make New Year’s resolutions to improve their mental, physical, or financial well-being and rightly so. The new year is the perfect opportunity to focus on a new beginning that can make some aspect of your life better, to focus on your long-term needs as much as your short-term wants, and to set some goals to focus on. But we all know how hard it can be to stay focused and follow through for very long. It’s easy for someone to lecture us about discipline, but practical tips are better. So here is my recommended plan to set realistic financial resolutions, follow some practical tips to make success more likely, and develop a plan for actually achieving them.
Choose a few realistic resolutions
Rather than choose a long laundry list of hard to remember resolutions, choose a few that will make a difference and are doable. Here are the four basic principles of “The Financial Guide To Life” based upon our focus on managing, saving, investing, and spending your money wisely:
- Live within your means.
- Save by paying yourself first using auto-pay.
- Make investing easy.
- Avoid paying full price.
All of them are easier than you think, except perhaps number one at times. But I will be covering all of these in more detail in the next few blogs and throughout the year.
Follow practical tips
- Write them down and post them where you can see them regularly: on your mirror, your computer’s desktop, a note on your mobile phone, or the refrigerator door.
- Share your goals with someone else such as your spouse, friend, mother, etc. Studies show that this increases discipline to achieve a goal.
- Reward and punish yourself when working towards a goal. At the beginning of each month, review your progress, indulge yourself (moderately) for successes, and punish yourself for failures. No, not self-flagellation or guilt-trips, but with something like cleaning out the garage or making a contribution to the political party you dislike.
- When you pay your monthly bills, plan one thing you will work on this month to achieve your resolutions.
- Don’t just re-read your list over and over; focus on the benefits you will accrue from success, in our case, financial security and peace of mind.
Plan for meeting your goals
Don’t just make a list of resolutions and hope to remember them. Know how you can actually achieve them and have a plan to follow thru. I am going to help you with these details over the next few blogs. If you follow my recommended principles, practical tips, and strategies, your financial situation will be more secure a year from now. Getting a regular dose of “The Financial Guide To Life” will also fortify your motivation and discipline as it is easier when we do this together. So “follow” the blog to get email updates, tell your friends and family, and make your financial future better.
On a related note, many people make a resolution to, “simplify my finances”. Read my blog post to see how: Simplifying your finances