By the time spring rolls around, many of us have given up on our New Year’s resolutions—but it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead of waiting until next January to get on track, make it a point to renew your resolutions right now. Here’s how:
1. Get rid of the New Year’s resolution mindset.
For some reason, many people have the idea that you can’t resolve to make improvements unless it’s the beginning of a new year. While the first of the year is a good time to make new commitments and start fresh, the reality is that you can set goals at any time.
Don’t let the New Year’s resolution mindset hamper you. If you’ve gone off track, realize that you can start fresh tomorrow—or today. Make a commitment to improve your finances, or take other steps to improve, right now. You’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish and how good it can make you feel.
2. Make your goals meaningful.
Whether you want to save more money for retirement, help improve your credit score, or pay down debt, the key to achieving success is to make your goals meaningful.
Step back and honestly assess why you are struggling with your resolutions. Chances are, you don’t have a good reason for your goals. Without attaching meaning to your goals, it can be easy to give up because it likely doesn’t seem worth the trouble.
Instead of giving up, renew your resolutions by considering why you want to achieve your goals. Think about your values and priorities. What benefit will you derive from moving forward with your goals? Saving money just to save money isn’t usually motivating. Instead, visualize what you will do with that money once it’s saved. Will you be able to go on a vacation? Will you have peace of mind in an emergency?
This works for paying off debt as well. Think about how you’ll feel once you have more financial freedom. If you want to help improve your credit score and creditworthiness, consider how great it will be when you’re able to refinance your home at a lower interest rate and have more cash in your pocket each month.
Whenever possible, connect your goals with your values. This will help you renew your commitment and ensure that, moving forward, you will be more likely to stick with your resolutions.
3. Assess the feasibility of your goals.
Sometimes New Year’s resolutions fail because they are unrealistic. Honestly assess the feasibility of your goals. In many cases, achieving your end game requires that you break a goal down into smaller, digestible parts. Just as you can’t suddenly run a half-marathon, you probably won’t be able to immediately make monthly retirement contributions that allow you to max out your plan for the year. Instead, you need to work up to it.
Renew your resolutions by creating goals that are more manageable and that are realistic for your situation. Acknowledge that you might need a new plan, and then make that plan.
Getting off track with your resolutions doesn’t mean you’re a failure. In fact, this might be just the thing that prompts you to re-examine your goals and create a plan that invigorates you to move forward with a better shot at success.