If you’ve read about the percentage of people who actually keep their New Year’s resolutions, you know the numbers aren’t great. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ I help clients establish goals and stick to them throughout the year. New Year’s resolutions shouldn’t be any different! Now that the hectic holiday season has come to an end, perhaps you are taking time to set goals and start 2013 on the right track. Here are the goal setting parameters I use with clients…
Personalization and Specifics
You want to make sure the goal is realistic for you and your personal financial situation. Let’s say your aim is to save more money this year. Okay. That sounds good, but here are additional questions I’d ask you to answer. For what purpose are you saving? How will this extra money make your life better? How much is realistic for you to save? How do you keep track of your expenses and spending? Are there areas where you can cut back on spending in order to save? Answering these questions will help you create a more meaningful goal that is tailored to you.
Focus and Reminders
Let’s say you considered the questions above and came up with this resolution: save $7,000 in 2013 (that is $270 per paycheck) to go towards my 401(k) so that I have peace of mind knowing I’ve started to plan for my retirement. It can be hard to stay focused all year long. You might be tempted to spend that money elsewhere. Consistent and automatic payroll deductions are one way to help you stay on track. The daily reminder of playing SaveUp is another fun tool, plus you could win prizes to help you accomplish your goal.
Diligence and Motivation
Sticking to your resolution might be challenging. However, in order to accomplish it you’re going to have to be persistent and stay positive. Come up with a motivating reward for yourself. Also, adjust your goal if you face setbacks. Maybe halfway through the year you aren’t on track to accomplish your goal. Make changes to the strategies you are using or adapt the goal. Saving a smaller amount than your original goal is still important progress. It’s alright, it means you are still improving your finances and keeping track, so don’t give up!
Accountability and Support
It is often difficult to keep ourselves accountable. Involve friends and family or find a buddy who will help you stick to your resolution and vice versa. Find new resources that will sustain you as you accomplish your goal. There are a lot of informative personal finance blogs out there with valuable tips to help you out!
In addition to this post, I’ve also devoted a webinar to the topic titled “Personal Financial Organization and Goal Setting”. To view it, log into SaveUp and click the “Webinars” tab on the left. I hope it helps you stick to your resolutions and continue to SaveUp!
This post was written by SaveUp’s personal finance contributing writer, Catherine Hawley, CFP®.