Get Back on Track With Your Financial Resolutions

Financial Independence, Personal Growth

February 29, 2024

It’s that time of year again, my friends. Right about now is when so many of us have lost the resolve and momentum to stick with a financial goal we made part of our New Year’s resolutions.


Please hear me loud and clear: Don’t you dare give up.  You didn’t fail. Nor is the damage permanent.


If you have stopped pursuing one of your 2024 financial goals, or haven’t yet found the energy to get started, you have two months of important learning to analyze.


All that has happened is that you’ve learned what doesn’t work for you in terms of goal-setting and goal-working. That just means you need to fine tune your approach. 


Why you stopped short or didn’t get started is highly personal. But at the same time, there are some universal tips that may help you launch into a more sustained stretch of working on a goal.


Get a buddy.


If you’re trying to work on something hard all by yourself, you’ve just made it that much harder. Sharing your goal with someone is going to help you. Even better is finding a friend, colleague, or family member who just might want to work on the same financial goal. Or a different financial goal. You can hold each other accountable. And celebrate the wins together. And when one of you is losing steam, the other is right there to cheerlead you to keep at it.


Think small.


Quite often the problem is that we start with the best of intentions, but we set the bar too high, which causes us to give up. Whatever your initial goal was, consider breaking it down into a smaller bite. Maybe instead of a monthly goal, you will respond better to a daily or weekly goal. Maybe instead of saving $50 a week, it’s $25 a week that is sustainable.


Go against your grain. 


Some interesting research a while back found that people who tend to be very detail-oriented actually did better when their financial goal was less detailed. And people who are more big-picture did better if they made their financial goal very specific. It seems when we shake things up a bit, it can help us focus and be more persistent. For example, if you’re a detail-oriented person, you might have told yourself: “I will save $200 every month.” If that didn’t work, try telling yourself, “I will look for ways throughout the month to save money.”  If you’re the big-picture person who might have had some hazy-ish goal of “saving more” consider getting specific. Ex: tell yourself you will save $200 a month (or whatever you want your specific goal to be.) 


Celebrate like crazy.


One reason I recommend creating smaller/shorter goals is that it gives you frequent milestones that when you reach them you can celebrate. This isn’t silly, or indulgent. It is how we remind ourselves that we have the power to build the financial security we crave. The only thing stopping you is hitting the reset button. What are you waiting for?

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