If you have been making a long list of resolutions for the New Year, my advice is to rip it up.
You have the best of intentions, but the reality is that for the vast majority of us, resolutions made at the New Year are broken, long forgotten or just off the radar by early Spring. And that makes you feel doubly awful. You beat yourself up because you didn’t reach your goals, and you focus on what you didn’t achieve.
I have a better plan when it comes to your financial life.
One and Done. I want you to choose one financial goal to focus on in 2017. Just one. Don’t tell me you can handle more. Overloading yourself with a laundry list of goals is a recipe for frustration. Things slip through the cracks, you fall behind, and then you end up spending the rest of the year beating yourself up about everything you didn’t achieve.
My wish for you in 2017 is 100% success. And the best way to make that happen is to do one thing really, really well. With all your energy directed at one goal, I am confident you can knock it out of the park.
It’s up to you to decide what your goal should be. I want it to have maximum impact not solely on your finances, but on how you feel about yourself.
Don’t make this about something your should do. Make it about something you want to do. Identify the one change in 2017 that would make you feel like you took a nice step forward in building financial security. Maybe that’s adding $50 every month to your credit card payment to whittle down a balance. Maybe it’s focusing on making this the year you build up your emergency savings. Or maybe this is the year you promise yourself to spend two hours a month reading about investing and money so you feel more on top of your retirement savings.
Once you settle on your 2017 goal, I want you to write it down as a mantra. One simple sentence you can easily remember.
“I am building my emergency savings, so I can feel more secure.”
“I am learning about investing so I can feel more in control of my retirement savings.”
“I am going to take care of my loved ones by focusing on life insurance and my must-have documents.”
Once a day you are to repeat your mantra at least three times. When we get in the habit of thinking about something on a daily basis, it helps focus and motivate us to get the job done.
One at a Time
I meant what I said: If you do just this one thing, you have done a great job. But if after three or four months you have polished off the goal, or it has become second nature, fully incorporated into your life, then I encourage you to think about adding a new goal. Then in a few months, if you’ve got that goal checked off, add another new goal. If you take this “One at a Time” approach I can tell you right now that 2017 will be the year you make incredible progress on your road to financial freedom.