5 Ways to Own Your New Year’s Resolutions

December 31, 2013

new year resolutionAs this year ends and a new one begins, we set out to make our New Year’s resolutions. Two primary themes usually emerge – getting into shape and saving more money.

Unfortunately for us, author and psychologist Richard Wiseman found that 88% of people who make New Year’s resolutions don’t keep them. Here are some ways that can help you become one of the 12% of people that do reach their money goals.

1. Break down your goal.

When you sit down to commit to your New Year’s resolution do you know where to begin? Or you are just swirling it around in your head, overwhelmed by the task? Avoid setting your goal at an unattainable level. We have a tendency to set savings goals that are too high to meet right away.

Instead, break the total goal amount down into reasonable chunks. For example, if you need to save $12,000 for a house down payment, set your savings goal for $1,000 per month instead.

Psychologically, $1,000 a month seems much more achievable and you are more apt to go about doing what you have to do to save that $1,000. In the end, it adds up to your overall goal of $12,000, but seems less daunting than the full amount.

2. Get a savings partner.

Saving with a partner gives you a cheering squad and someone to make you accountable for reaching your savings goal. If you are married, your spouse can be your savings partner. You can also enlist a friend or family member.

Each of you can set your own savings goal or the mutual savings goal. Schedule check-in appointments to meet or talk on the phone to provide an update to each other. When you have to “answer” to someone, it helps to propel you toward keeping your goal as well.

3. Write down your goal.

Write it down. A Harvard study reveals that written goals are accomplished 80% more of the time than goals that are not in writing. Write down your goal and hang it in prominent location where you see it on a regular basis.

4. Play a savings game.

Learn how to cut spending and reallocate the money to your savings without sacrificing. If you see a new pair of designer shoes you want, wait for the shoes to go on sale before you purchase them. When you buy the shoes, deposit the difference between the original price and the price you paid for the shoes.

If you approach all of your purchases in this manner, it can give you more motivation to save. Another example would be to review your phone bill and cable bill. Determine if there are features you are not using or packages that cost less money and still fit your needs. Then change the package and deposit the monthly savings into your savings account. It’s like playing a game with yourself to see where and how much you can save.

5. Go one step at a time.

Take it one step at a time, rather than trying to implement it all at once or totally changing your lifestyle overnight. Ease into implementing the saving system with one item at a time.

When you take each of these five steps, one at a time, you can look back at the end of next year and realize you have accomplished your goal. Similar to tackling a big work or school project, plan ahead and break your goal down into manageable sections. Planning and implementing your money-saving New Year’s resolution with these steps makes it much more likely that you’ll achieve success.

Bonus Tip: Here’s a sixth way, a New Year’s resolution secret.

So, what are your resolutions for the upcoming year? Leave a comment!

This article was originally published December 22, 2010.


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Kristie Lorette is a personal finance writer who spent over eight years working in the real estate, mortgage and credit industries.

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5 Responses to 5 Ways to Own Your New Year’s Resolutions

  • Financial Samurai

    I’m notorious for putting out a lot of resolutions (you can see how I did in my 2nd latest post), but I enjoy trying all the same. If I can get 2 or 3 out of the usually 8-10 right a year, I feel good.

    How have you done? Do you have a wrap for 2010?

    Cheers, Sam

  • Jerry

    These are great tips. I will say, though, that getting a savings partner is my insurance for actually reaching my savings goals. It leads me to stay more on track and contribute more when I know someone else is aware.

  • Harry

    Great advice.

    I’d like to recommand a goal setting tool Goals On Track a very nicely built web app designed for tracking goals and todo lists, and supports time tracking too. It’s clear, focused, easy to navigate, worth a try.


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