I’m going to assume that you’ve stumbled upon this article because, like me, you make New Year’s Resolutions every year but can never stick to them? The struggle is actually real. You know the drill, you spend the last few weeks in December being totally carefree and saying ‘I’ll worry about that in the New Year’ and then frantically planning how exactly you’re going to a) sort your finances out b) get in shape c) generally get your life together in the last few hours of said year with a fleeting thought because you just know you won’t stick to them anyway.
What if I told you that you can set goals and you can see them through for a whole year? I know right, pigs are flying and hell has frozen over. I’m going to give you some tips and tricks on exactly how you can make manageable, realistic New Year’s Resolutions and how you can stick to them.
How to Make Realistic New Year’s Resolutions
Now, I do love sayings like ‘Dream Big’ and ‘The Sky’s the Limit’ as we should all aim to strive for things we want which are out of our comfort zones. Imagine if Wilbur and Orville Wright decided that building the first aeroplane was ‘impossible’. Doesn’t bear thinking about.
That’s not what this post is about though, what we are going to do is look at goals that are realistic for you to achieve so you feel like they’re manageable, attainable and easy to stick to.
As an example, let’s look at how you can save money for a deposit for a house. Let’s imagine, in crazy cheap world where the pigs are flying, that you’ll need £5,000 for a deposit. Let’s also now imagine that you’re earning £20,000.00 per year. It would be unrealistic for you to aim to save that much money within one year if you have other bills and financial responsibilities… obviously. But let’s look at some ways that you can really save more money and get you closer to that goal.
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Firstly, look at your current salary. Can you ask your boss for a salary increase or pick up extra hours at work? Do you have enough free time to take on another job to earn some extra cash? Don’t underestimate the power of the side hustle and jobs you can do at home that can earn you extra money like telesales, leaflet dropping and surveys or have you got items you can sell on eBay. Once you’ve looked at all of the ways you can make some extra cash, budget your outgoings and come up with a figure that is enough to make a significant contribution to your savings pot and set up a direct debit to a completely separate account that you can’t access easily. Any additional money you can make can also be added to the pot.
So, your goal is ‘Save £5k’ let’s break this down month by month with some ideas on how you can help your budget along.
January – ask big cheese for a pay rise, work overtime or get a part-time job + budget outgoings and set up a direct debit.
February – do I have anything I can sell on eBay or upcycle?
March – save all of my birthday money, don’t spend it!
April – think of ways I can earn money from home such as online tutoring, translating, telemarketing, copy typing.
May – cut out all fast food and Starbucks and save money I would have spent.
June – set up ’round up’ on my bank account so anything I pay for with debit card gets rounded up to the nearest pound and goes straight into my savings.
July – look at outgoings and reduce bills and outgoings where possible.
August – instead of going out with friends, have nights in watching movies or sports and get everyone to bring something.
September – car insurance renewal due, look around for the cheapest deal and don’t stick with the same company because it’s easier.
October – look at ‘once a month cooking’ to reduce food bill costs by meal prepping.
November – hold a car boot sale with friends or family and sell any unwanted goods that you couldn’t sell on eBay or through Facebook.
December – if you have a large family or friend group, go into a Secret Santa so you only have to buy one present
Try and give yourself one big ‘task’ to fulfil each month that will get you a little closer to your goal so that you’re staying on track but so that you’re not trying to do everything at once, which is overwhelming.
How to Stick to Your New Year’s Resolutions
I’m hoping that from the above example you can see how much easier it is to stick to your resolution when you break it down month by month. But what happens if you fall off the wagon?
There are many reasons why people aren’t able to stick to their goals on a long-term basis from personal circumstances to lack of motivation but here’s what to do if you fall off the wagon. Let’s use the saving for a deposit as an example again:
1) Print off pictures of your dream home and stick them somewhere you can see them frequently i.e. the fridge, your desk at work, your front door, as a constant reminder why you’re trying to save your money.
2) Remember that it’s ok if one month doesn’t go to plan. Readjust your budget, look at where you went wrong and start the next month off with great intentions.
3) Make a ‘money chart’ so you can tick off when you hit your next savings checkpoint so you can physically see how you’re progressing, which is a great motivator.
4) If you’re trying to save money, don’t reward yourself with a financial incentive as this will defeat the whole object. Instead, focus on something else you find rewarding that isn’t going to take away from your goal.
5) Don’t be so hard on yourself. If you feel like you’ve truly set an unrealistic goal for yourself, change it don’t quit it!
If your goals are more fitness orientated, check out the link here for some useful tips on how to get back on track.
So there you have it. In short, break down any goal you have into manageable chunks month by month so you have mini-goals to look forward to each month. That way, it’s much less daunting and should keep you motivated long-term.
I hope you’ve found these tips and tricks useful in sticking to your New Year’s Resolutions. Let me know in the comment section your tips for sticking to your resolutions and how you get back on the wagon if you lose your motivation.