Did you know that the top New Year’s Resolution behind health and fitness is to save money? Other popular New Year’s Resolutions include: pursue a career ambition, spend less time on social media, renovate part of the house, spend more time with family, donate and volunteer more for charity.
Unfortunately, while studies reveal 38% of individuals make resolutions, only 9% keep them. Those that continue to miss their goals eventually stop participating in the trend. While gym memberships spike early in the year, initiating financial goals can be a little harder to implement. Whether it’s due to challenges around financial education and identifying the best places to save/invest, or variable income; it’s no secret that many folks also lose traction on these goals as well.
Why Should I Have a Resolution?
Aside from a sense of accomplishment, it’s still a good idea to make a New Year’s Resolution even if you don’t succeed at it. The intentionality in setting a goal helps your perspective of growth and development. When you have a clear direction, and move towards it, your emotional and mental health improve. You also have a sense of hope and create an optimistic outlook going into the new year. Positivity can be a big motivator towards accomplishing your goal. Inspiration is another reason to make a resolution. As Tracy Brower, PhD from Forbes writes, “When you seek to be better, do better or contribute more fully, you tend to inspire others as well.”
If you do become part of the 9%, then think of what you could accomplish with each recurring year. Those that were successful in holding to their resolutions took steps seriously in career, fitness, finances, and overall health.
How Can I Be Successful?
The first step to be part of the 9%, is to make realistic and attainable goals. We recommend using the SMART goals method. Once you have a written goal, obtaining accountability is the next important next step. This could look like getting a gym buddy, or getting your family or friends involved in your goal. Accountability can also be hiring a professional, like a physical trainer or financial advisor.
To increase chances of being successful and overcoming obstacles, we also want to look at some of the reasons why many fail. Losing motivation, being too busy, and not tracking progress are among the top reasons for failure. These can be mitigated by taking those first two steps of writing goals and finding accountability.
Believe it or not, getting plenty of sleep is one of the suggested tips according to a neurologist and sleep expert, Cathy Goldstein, M.D. The lack of sleep leads to reduced productivity, poor mood and a decrease in leptin.
What Are SMART Goals?
SMART Goals was concept was developed by George T. Doran in 1981, in a paper to talk about the smart way for management to create goals and objectives. This method uses an acronym to describe the facets in a goal: “specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time bound”. This also helps the psychology in achieving them
Specific is writing about the who, what, or which surrounding your goal. For example, choosing a goal for you or your family. Determine to set aside a chunk of money from your paycheck, or if your family goal is to give a little more throughout the year. Writing who has what responsibilities and who is holding accountability can make our break the goal.
Measurable means to set metrics to measure your goals. Instead of saying “lose weight, or save more money”, decide to measure the goal. Setting a goal that you can track progress will go further than a concept. Instead, try “I will lose 10 pounds this year” or “I will save $100 a month”.
Achievable is making sure your goal is realistic and attainable. Setting unrealistic expectations can hurt you from the start. If your paycheck is not large enough to save $1,000 a month, then don’t set your goal to daunting. Make sure to think through your goals regarding the tools/resources/skills you have, what you’ll need to grow, and who will hold you accountable. Maybe consult your friends or family on your goal to get some feedback as if it is an achievable goal. One of the reasons most people fail in their New Year’s Resolution is because they set daunting expectations on themselves that they did not make enough immediate progress on.
Relevant has to do with how the goal applies to you. Don’t set a goal that doesn’t fit in your lifestyle, or something that you aren’t interested in. If you don’t intend to keep the goal or adjust lifestyle to fit the goal, then it isn’t a relevant goal. Try thinking about how this goal might relate to your future, like saving an extra 1% into your retirement plan.
Time bound is setting a timeline for your goal. You want to see change, then you need to set up time limits for this goal. Whether that’s a deadline, a monthly or weekly check in, or another time limit for progress, include time in your goal. Setting a time bound limit on your goal will help you stay focused within the goal timeline.
Find more information and examples of smart goals, here.
How Can Anthem Help?
We are here to help you with your financial goals and improve your financial lives. Whether you need an account to save money into or a series of meetings with a professional to talk through larger goals like retirement funding, let’s talk! We are here to talk with you and assist you with investments and financial planning. We can serve as an accountability team for you. Let us know how we can help hold you accountable and what goals you are setting for yourself this year. Set up a meeting.
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