Home Personal Finance How to Actually Succeed at Your Financial Resolutions This Year

How to Actually Succeed at Your Financial Resolutions This Year

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Don’t give up on your resolutions.

Key points

  • Many people make financial New Year’s resolutions.
  • You may be starting to falter in your progress toward these resolutions already.
  • There are ways to stay on track, including picking a goal you really care about.

For the past two years, I’ve been taking my son to swim lessons at a local athletic club. Last January, the parking lot was so crowded that I couldn’t get a parking space. I asked his swim teacher what was up, and she told me it’s all the people who resolved to work out. And she said not to worry — they’ll be gone by February.

That did happen last year, and I’ve noticed it happening again this year too. And this isn’t uncommon. In fact, if you made any resolutions — including financial ones — you may already be starting to give up on making progress on them.

If that’s happening to you, you don’t have to just abandon your plans to improve your money situation this year. Following these four tips could help you actually succeed at the goals you set for yourself. 

1. Make sure your goals are specific and measurable

It can be really hard to follow through with a resolution if you don’t have a specific action plan. So, make sure the objectives you set for yourself are detailed. For example, if you resolved to “pay down debt,” go back and modify that resolution to be more specific. You might resolve instead to pay an extra $150 a month on your credit cards

The more specific and detailed you can be, the more likely you are to actually accomplish your resolutions since you’ll know what to do and whether you’re doing it. 

2. Be realistic in your resolutions

If the goals you set for yourself are impossible, you’re inevitably going to give up. So, don’t make your objectives too much of a reach. If it feels really hard to pay off an extra $150 a month on your credit card, revise downward and commit to paying off an extra $50. Yes, you won’t make progress as quickly — but at least you’ll be doing something to improve your situation. And if you stick to it all year instead of giving up, it will make a bigger impact. 

3. Choose a goal you actually care about

If you aren’t excited about your financial resolutions, it’s easy to abandon them. So, pick something you’re passionate about. If you aren’t super excited to pay down debt, then maybe resolve to save up the money to pay for your next vacation in cash rather than putting it on the credit cards. You’ll still end up better off by not digging yourself deeper into the hole — and succeeding at one money goal is better than failing at a “better” objective. 

4. Enlist an accountability buddy 

Finally, get someone to hold you accountable for your resolutions by doing regular check-ins. If you know you need to report your progress to your partner or friend, you’re less likely to slack off on accomplishing the resolutions you’ve made. Plus, it’s more fun to work toward a goal if someone is cheering you on.

By following these four tips, it’ll be easier to ensure your resolutions are something you stick to not just through January, but for the entirety of 2023. 

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