Bridget Tate | Manager of Service Delivery | The Financial Clinic
Now that the ball has dropped and we have rung in the New Year, it’s time to get excited for a clean slate and 365 days to make this the best year ever. Many of us have started our annual list of things we will change this calendar year: joining the gym, saving money, traveling more. You made your resolutions and promised yourself and everyone around you that you would follow through this year. Now that January is upon us, your momentum is strong, and your willingness to reach your goals is at the forefront of your mind, you hope that this year will be different. What if, instead of hoping that the changes will stick, I could guarantee to you that they will? How? Easy. By showing you how to plan out some solutions instead of setting resolutions.
Resolutions are firm decisions to do or not do something. When making a resolution for the New Year, we often find ourselves vowing to start behaviors that will have a positive impact on our lives or to leave behind behaviors that are no longer serving us. And while it is always a good idea to take steps towards self-improvement, the decision in and of itself is not an actionable step; hence, 80% of New Year resolutions not being reached. In contrast, a solution is a means of solving a problem or dealing with a difficult situation. A resolution with no solution is just a decision without a plan.
Before you do anything else, you need to identify what you are striving towards. If you need help setting the right financial goal, remember that goals are reached by understanding your values and identifying what is passionately important to you. Worksheets, like Identify Values Wheel, and other tracking methods will lend you, the additional support you may need.
Set yourself up for success by identifying barriers that have kept you from reaching your goals in the past and be open to new solutions for overcoming those barriers. Changing behaviors and attitudes toward your financial goals will result in actionable goal wins that will lead to sustainable financial victories. What Barriers do you foresee impeding you reaching your financial goals? The table below lists common barriers and solutions. Copy and fill in the table below with your own barriers, then use the solutions provided to get you started on overcoming them.
|I have a hard time staying on track and I never complete my goals.||Find an accountability partner to support you. Check in with them about your progress regularly.|
Use social media to share your journey, this makes you accountable and allows others to celebrate your victories with you.
|I have trouble keeping track of my money or I do not like budgeting||Download an app that tracks your spending like Mint.com or Empower. Use the apps to create a spending plan.|
Set aside a portion of your paycheck to be automatically added to your savings account.
Use services like Bankrate.com and compare banking products and savings calculators to find the right one for you and your goals
|I had to stop saving, I had a financial emergency, or I've changed my mind.||Make sure to reevaluate your goals regularly. |
Before you give up on saving, try lowering the amount you are saving instead.
If one of your barriers is staying motivated, here are some additional solutions:
- Use positive statements like I can or I will
- Journal or video journal the highs and lows of your progress
- Re-evaluate your goals regularly
- Schedule weekly or biweekly self-reflection time
- Celebrate and give yourself pats on the back when you observe behavioral changes
- Break long-term goals up into short-term goals: 30 days, 60 days
Once you have compiled your list of past barriers, map out a plan that addresses the challenges and pitfalls to achieving your financial goals. Your best lessons learned are always prior attempts that resulted in an incompletion. Think of those past attempts as a trial run on your method. Even in these “failed” efforts, you can find successes and learn valuable lessons that you can bring to the table this time.
Now you have a goal, a solid plan, and tools to get you started you can begin to work towards making 2019 your most financially secure year yet! Have fun, get creative, and most importantly, give yourself a high five for starting 2019 with a solution.