I bet I can guess what New Year’s Resolution you made this year. Statistically it’s one of two things; to trim either your wallet or your waistline.
That’s the promise everyone makes. To either get in shape and lose some weight or pay off some bills and make more money this year. And since you signed up to receive information from League of Power, a company committed to making its members richer, I’m going to guess your choice had more to do with your wallet (although I’m sure trimming your waistline would be nice too).
No matter if you are up to your ears in past due bills or have some money in the bank, New Year’s presents an opportunity to do better. Isn’t that what you are really creating a resolution for, to be better off financially this year?
How do you do that, you ask? Well your first step has to be to look inward. You must ask yourself how you got to this place where you don’t want to be anymore. Identify what caused your financial troubles in the first place. Is it a spending addiction or are your monthly bills more than 25 percent of your monthly income? Whatever it is you need to identify the areas that are causing you to overspend. Then make a commitment to yourself that things will be different in 2014. I can give you all the tips and tricks available, but if you don’t commit to making change then this information will do you no good.
Once you’ve made yourself this promise it’s time to set some goals. Think about what you want to accomplish this year. Do you want to travel more? Or pay off your house? Do you want to make more money? Choose one or two financial goals to accomplish this year.
If in years past you’ve made New Year’s resolutions only to fall off the bandwagon just a month or two later, then I’ve got a solution that will help you stay committed this year. The real secret to keeping your resolutions is in the crafting of your goals. I follow the SMART goal setting protocol. I make my goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.
Specificity is the key to staying on point throughout your journey. Don’t say I want to be richer by the end of this year. That’s too general. Say I will open an IRA account this year and contribute the maximum amount. It’s much easier to accomplish your goal when you are precise.
It’s also important to make your financial goals measurable. You will not be able to accomplish your goal overnight. It will take you months, if not the entire year, to reach your goal. Because of this your goal will need to be tracked throughout the year. This is important to staying committed to your goal. If you can see the progress you are making, you will remain motivated to attain your resolution.
Break your goal up into monthly or weekly mini accomplishments so you can measure your progress. For example if your goal is to pay off $5,000 in credit card debt by the end of this year, break that down into 12 monthly goals you need to meet ($417 a month). Break that down further by paying $104.25 each week. That way you can check off each week you pay and see that $5,000 balance come down.
You’ll never reach your goal if you make them too hard to accomplish. That’s why I do not want you to set more than two goals. You don’t want to overcommit and then fail when you realize you made things too hard on yourself. You must be realistic in your pursuit. Every exercise professional will tell you it’s impossible to make a 360 degree change. No one goes from never working out to working out three days a week. It’s too big of a change and you set yourself up for failure. The same goes with finances. You can’t go from big spender to cost cutting queen overnight if you want to find long term success. Choose one or two things you want to accomplish this year and set your mind to it.
Paying off bills, saving for retirement and putting money aside for a rainy day are not fun things to do, I get that. Don’t make goals simply because you think you should. You’ll never meet a goal you don’t care much about. Instead of committing to saving 20 percent of each of your paychecks, tie it to an action you actually want to do like traveling more or retiring early. These goals are much more motivating, than simply saying you want to save money.
Just like you need a starting line for your goals, you also need a finish line. Set a deadline for accomplishing each goal. You’ll need that pressure to motivate you to continually move towards your goal.
Once you’ve made your selections right them down on a sticky note. Then place them in an area that you see every day. Mine are on the mirror of my bathroom. Every day when I get up, they are the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see before I go to bed. They help continually remind me of what I want to accomplish. It also keeps me focused on my goals, which is especially helpful for when I’m feeling depressed and want to give myself a pick me up by buying myself something nice.
Next write yourself a letter detailing why these goals are important. You need to remind yourself what it is about this goal that makes you want to achieve it. Come up with at least two to three reasons for each goal. Then go to futureme.org. This site lets you send a future letter to yourself. We all need motivation and reminding yourself of why you came up with these goals in the first place in a great way to keep yourself on track. You type out the letter and set a future date to send it to yourself. This will help keep you motivated along your journey.
Finally, don’t worry if you get knocked off track along the way. It will happen at some point that you make a mistake, or miss a benchmark. When this happens you may feel like giving up. Don’t allow that to happen! Instead come up with an action that will get you back on course. If you do that you will be better off than 95 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions.
If your goal is to be richer, wealthier and more financially healthy in 2014 then you’ve come to the right place. Easy Street newsletter, which comes to your inbox every Wednesday, is produced with saving money in mind. I provide weekly tips to cut down on expenses and secrets to saving money. Combine this information with the Friday newsletter, Freedom By Friday, which gives you low cost business ideas, and you’ve got a recipe for a far richer 2014. See you next Wednesday!
Keeping Money in Your Pocket,