Every New Year, we make a resolution to change something in the coming year. But how many of those are actually kept?
Often, the problem with New Year’s resolutions isn’t that you lack the desire to keep them. It’s that the resolution itself is simply unrealistic. You realize midway through January that it will probably never happen, and you give up. Maybe you vow to join a gym and go every day, or immediately give up smoking, or not buy anything frivolous from this day forward. While those are all admirable goals, it could be difficult to abide by such strict rules. Chances are you’ll stick it out for a week before deciding that you deserve a treat and buy yourself a bagful of candy. Or that you need a break and end up never going to that gym again.
This New Year, when you’re thinking about what you want to change in the coming months, try making promises that you can feasibly keep. That doesn’t mean that they should be easy—you are breaking habits after all, so it won’t be entirely painless. Just try to take it one step at a time.
Let’s take the common resolution of getting your finances under control as an example. Maybe you need to pay off some debt, or you really want to save up for a family vacation. The problem is, “get your finances together” is such a vague concept. When you’re setting goals for yourself, you need to be as specific as possible. If you have any chance of keeping this resolution, you have to outline for yourself not only what you want to achieve, but how you’re going to achieve it. Maybe start with getting your paperwork organized, then move on to checking in with your creditors, then research ways to reduce your monthly payments. Maybe you open a new savings account and set up an automatic transfer. Or maybe you take advantage of a new offer from your bank. Remember that every little bit helps!
Lastly, the key to making a New Year’s resolution you can adhere to is to be honest with yourself. Let’s face it —becoming a millionaire may not be in the cards. But if you set smaller goals and do a little bit each day to work toward them, you stand a much better chance of achieving your bigger dreams.