Ah, the New Year. A time for celebrating, staying up late, and wishing everyone well with hugs and pats on the back. Unfortunately, it’s also the time of year when we tend pledge to lofty New Year’s resolutions that most of us have no prayer of keeping.
So when the party’s over and you’re left with nothing but your overly-ambitious resolutions and a bottle of Tylenol, what happens next? Most make a halfhearted attempt to follow through on their resolutions for a couple of months, then either forget about their plans or just downright give up. That’s why gyms see a spike in new memberships in January, followed by a sharp decline a mere few months later. Try as we might, sometimes life gets in the way. We get off track.
Cut yourself a break. Here at Earn More and Save, we’re officially giving you permission for a do-over. It’s only the third day of 2013 – perfect timing to go back to the drawing board and adjust your goals for the upcoming year. Let’s look at how you can do that.
Put it in Writing
A goal’s not really a plan until you’ve mapped out steps to achieve it. Someone can have a goal of saving for retirement, but as long as they’re not taking steps to set that goal into motion, it remains nothing but a pipe dream that will never be realized.
Think about the financial goals you’ve set for yourself. Even if they seem lofty, go with them.
First, research everything you’ll need to do in order to achieve your goal. If we’re talking money, map out dollar amounts that you must save or earn as well. The idea here is to give yourself a concrete idea of what you’ll need to do to make your dream a reality.
Next, buy a planner or a big wall calendar and mark dates throughout the year with the various steps you’ll be taking. If you can commit to following the calendar, you can achieve anything.
Benchmarks and Rewards
Ever heard the one about how to eat an elephant? The punch line goes, “one bite at a time.” Yeah, yeah, corny, I know… but there’s a lot of truth packed into that little zinger. If you set a clear course for yourself with an endpoint, the sky’s the limit. Knowing exactly where you’re headed and how to get there just seems to do something for your psyche. The fantasy of striding to the finish line will give you a much-needed jolt of motivation that will carry you through the tough times, guaranteed.
If we’re talking money, map out dollar amounts that you must save or earn as well. If you want to learn guitar, find an instructor that offers private guitar lessons and begin to save up for it.
If the satisfaction of achieving your goal isn’t enough to keep you going, try this: for each major milestone that you reach, plan a special gift to yourself or reward that you can look forward to. Humans respond to rewards, so using this psychological trick on yourself is a fabulous way to keep pressing forward with your plan.
With lots of planning and a hefty dose of self-control, you can achieve even the most ambitious of New Year’s resolutions. Setting up small milestones and writing down your intentions are both great ways to hold yourself accountable.