It’s the time of year when we are all committed to being “better” versions of our last year’s selves. For many, these improved versions have an improved financial picture. New Year’s resolutions are a great personal commitment – if you can stick to them. Though intentions are good, research from the University of Scranton indicates that only 8% of people actually do.
For the remaining 92% of us whose past resolutions may have gone by the wayside, consider that perhaps the resolutions were not specific enough. Goal setting is a “SMART” way to guide your New Years’ Resolutions. Goals should be:
Let’s focus on the “Specific” part. Consider replacing your resolutions with specific goals. Here are some examples of how you might rework your resolutions so that you are more likely to stick to them through 2015.
Resolution: Save Money
The Challenge: The idea of saving may loom over you day-to-day without any real plans of action, which is likely to leave you without the results you had hoped.
Set a Specific Goal Instead: Commit to saving X number of dollars for Y number of months until you have achieved your goal, whether that goal is retirement, a down payment on a home, or funding a vacation. Research suggests that those who write down their goals are twice as likely to stick to them. One way of doing this is to take the Ohio Saves Pledge. Doing so will provide you with plenty of free resources to help you achieve your savings goals.
Resolution: Advance your career
The Challenge: This is a vague resolution and you may find yourself wondering where to begin, which can result in zero action and, subsequently, zero results.
Set a Specific Goal Instead: Set a more specific goal, such as enrolling in classes by fall of this year to enhance your qualifications, or updating your resume quarterly to reflect all of your achievements.
Resolution: Get out of debt
The Challenge: Without a plan of action for getting out of debt, you might be paying only the minimum balances on credit cards, which ultimately will cost you even more money, and take a great deal of time to get you to a debt-free state.
Set a Specific Goal Instead: Set up a debt repayment plan that involves paying the minimum balances on all debts (or more), until one of them is paid off. Then, roll the amount that you were paying on that debt into another one of your debts. These are called “Power Payments” and it is an effective strategy for getting out of debt sooner and ultimately paying less in interest!
Whatever your resolutions may be, consider how they can be reworked into specific goals. Congratulations on your commitment to an even better you in 2015!
Reviewed by: Katie LaPlant, Family & Consumer Sciences Educator