Keeping New Year's Resolutions

Saturday, December 08 at 04:00 PM
Category: Personal Finance

The New Year is often considered an ideal time to make positive changes in your life. Set yourself up for success by following these proven tips for keeping your resolutions.  Resolutions come in many forms in many areas of life.  Below are some of the most popular life-changing goals.

Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions: 
1. Stop smoking 
2. Get in shape 
3. Lose weight 
4. Reduce stress 
5. Save money 
6. Spend more time with family and friends 
7. Drink less alcohol 
8. Find a new job 
9. Learn or do something new 
10. Volunteer/help others
Set realistic goals
Establish goals that are within reach and won’t cause you to give up too soon. Rather than resolving to lose 20 pounds, set a goal to lose two pounds a month. Achieving success in small steps is the motivation that will keep you going. Make your goals measurable so you know when you’ve reached a milestone.
Make a plan
If you want to volunteer or help others this year, look at your time, skills, finances and motivation to see where the fit might be, then decide how to carry out your plan. Will you "adopt" a child from a foreign country by sending money, or connect with a child from a local children’s organization and spend time with him/her? Walk dogs at a pet shelter or stock shelves at the food pantry? Raise money for medical research or advise a non-profit on strategic issues? Determine your interest and ability, and then put it in motion.  Finding what you want to do and thinking it through in advance will increase your chances of success.
Write it down
You’ve made your plan (see previous step), now put it on paper and keep it where you will see it often. Out of sight, out of mind – this is your enemy in sticking to your plan. This could be your budget if you’re trying to save money, a picture of a cigarette with a red line through it if you want to quit smoking, or a picture of a quiet place that makes you feel peaceful if you’re intent on reducing stress. The important thing is to have a visual reminder that you see on a regular basis to keep you focused on your resolution or goal.
Enlist support
Give your plan to a friend and ask for their help in keeping you on track. Join a support group comprised of members trying to do the same thing you are. Work out at a gym where others are of the same mindset. Find a job counselor who can help you assess your skills and strengths to enable you to launch a successful job hunting campaign. Everyone needs support of some kind and it might just be what puts you keep on track.
Avoid temptation
A resolution is essentially a change in your lifestyle. Since you are moving away from an existing habit, make a conscious effort to avoid what you’re trying to change. Don't buy junk food if you’re trying to lose weight. Turn off the TV if you want to learn something new. Avoid shopping as retail therapy if you want to save money. Find new friends who don’t smoke or drink if that's what you're trying to change. Steer clear of that which tempts you to set yourself up for success. It sounds obvious, but it is easy to fall back into the same traps and routines.
What is your New Year’s resolution?  Any specific strategies of how you will ensure success?
Tags: Budgeting
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