Achieving your new year’s resolutions comes down to making a plan and following through. We’re right behind you. Here are a handful of helpful tips for bringing your money goals to life.
1. Review your finances.
A solid starting point is to take stock of your current financial health. When you look at the big picture, what stands out as something you want to change? Some possible answers could be:
- Building up your emergency fund
- Paying down debt
- Saving for a short-term goal
- Socking away money for retirement
- Improving your credit
You can’t make a strategic plan for achieving your new year’s resolutions if you don’t know where you’re going. Getting clear on your goals gives you an endpoint to work toward. You may find that you’re drawn to more than one goal, and that’s okay. It’s possible to work toward multiple financial goals at once. Just be sure not to spread yourself too thin, which will likely dilute your progress.
2. Set realistic goals.
There’s a difference between being optimistic and setting yourself up for failure. Let’s say debt repayment is a big priority for you going into the new year. Eliminating all of your balances in 12 months may not be doable without making serious lifestyle changes that negatively impact your quality of life. Instead, consider setting a realistic goal you can feel good about. Maybe you set an intention to cut your debt in half by the end of the year.
When it comes to goal setting, Psychology Today recommends following the SUCCESS model:
- Subjective: Goals are personal and reflect your true wants and needs
- Urgent: They inspire immediate action
- Committed: They’re motivating enough to make you want to follow through
- Concrete: They’re specific instead of vague
- Evaluate: You can regularly review and monitor your progress
- Shared: You’re prepared to share your goals with others to increase accountability
- Support: Goals are such that you can seek external support when you need it
3. Break those goals into smaller action steps.
New year’s resolutions aren’t designed to be achieved overnight. Instead, they’ll likely require you to stay the course over many months. Breaking your goals down into smaller, more manageable action steps can go a long way in helping you maintain motivation. Think short term and ask yourself what you can do on a weekly or monthly basis.
Every time you achieve one of these micro goals, you’ll probably feel a sense of success over scoring a small win. It’s also bringing you that much closer to your end goal. Let’s pretend your goal is to improve your credit score. Your mini goals might look like this:
- Check your credit report for inaccuracies
- Organize all your debts and write down your balances, minimum monthly payments and interest rates
- Choose a debt repayment method that feels right to you
- Set a monthly debt repayment amount that works for your budget
- Reduce your expenses to free up more money to put toward debt
Over time, you’ll likely see that these little actions add up to big change.
4. Document your progress and ask for help.
You might find that you’re more motivated when you take your goals out of your head and put them on paper. Michigan State University points to research suggesting that we’re more likely to be successful if we write down our goals and actions, then share our progress with a friend. It can help hold us accountable.
Getting that social support can also make us feel less alone. This can take many forms, from friends and family to Facebook groups to an accountability partner with like-minded goals.
5. Course-correct if needed.
Sometimes life happens and we need to adjust our goals. Maybe you encounter a financial emergency that makes it difficult to hit your original savings target. Instead of giving up entirely, there’s nothing wrong with setting a smaller goal for a few months until you bounce back.
It’s also okay to change your mind. As you move through the year, you may find yourself losing steam toward a particular goal simply because it no longer lines up with your values. Perhaps you’d originally planned to save for a vacation but now feel more drawn to buying a home. You can redirect your focus as you grow and change.
6. Celebrate the milestones.
Remember those micro goals we talked about earlier? Be sure to acknowledge and celebrate whenever you achieve one. According to Harvard researchers, highlighting small wins could help fire up your motivation. Your best bet is to celebrate in a way that doesn’t rock your finances but still makes you feel special. In other words, consider treating yourself with a budget-friendly splurge.
Again, social support can play a key role here. Having someone in your corner giving you a high five might provide the boost of motivation you need to keep going.
DailyPay is here to give you an extra dose of support as you work toward your financial new year’s resolutions. Having access to your earned pay whenever you need it can help you make the most out of your income.