How to make financial New Year’s resolutions you will keep
Written by Carl Turner on January 02, 2018.
We’ve all been there. Once the festive partying is over and a new year dawns, our thoughts turn to resolutions. We start off optimistic – this really will be the year that we lose weight/get fit/eat healthy food (those are the top three year after year) – but before January is over, many of us have already run out of steam. In fact, a study by the University of Scranton, which is often quoted at this time of year, estimates that a massive 92% of us fail to keep our resolutions. Yes, just 8% of us succeed. Pretty poor stats by anyone’s standards.
And I have a theory as to why. It’s all to do with exactly how we set our goals. This is something that I discuss in detail in my book – 12 Steps to Financial Success for International Expatriates. In fact, I dedicate the whole of the first chapter to setting goals, admittedly in a financial context but the theory works just as well for resolutions.
I’m a big advocate of the SMART goal setting system. This acronym can be really helpful in you setting a resolution that you won’t break a week into 2018. Your resolution should be:
So, to give an example, ‘I’m going to lose weight’ is just too indeterminate a goal. And, crucially, it doesn’t give you an end point when you can feel the satisfaction of having done what you set out to do. Change your resolution to ‘I’m going to lose five kilos by the end of March’ and suddenly you have something which ticks all the SMART boxes. If you’ve lost a kilo by mid-January then you’ll feel good knowing that you are on track for success and you’ll be encouraged to maintain a healthy distance from cake!
Perhaps your new year’s resolution this year is to get your finances in order? It’s certainly a common one. If that’s the case, you’ll want to know about my Goal and Targets Setting System. I’ve taken the SMART model one step further and devised strategies and techniques based on my many years of experience working as an IFA with clients from all walks of life. It doesn’t matter at what stage of your financial planning you are, whether you are in debt or have a six-figure savings account, the system will be useful to you. It’s a four step programme:
- Step 1 – work out what is important to you
- Step 2 – set out your top three financial goals
- Step 3 – overcome your fears
- Step 4 – start taking actions towards achieving your goals
Knowing what you are trying to achieve is key. Start by defining that and then work out the steps you need to take to get there. It might feel like you have a huge mountain to climb but remember that the longest journey starts with one simple step. Financial success won’t happen overnight but break it down into small steps and you will get there slowly but surely.
If you’ve made a financial resolution the good news is that you can download my goal setting system for free right now by clicking on this link. It’s just the resource you need to guarantee that you are in the 8% minority who will be able to look back on 2018 come December and feel smug that you kept your resolution!