We’re two months in to 2017 and if you’re like most people, your January may have been full of resolutions. Whether you decided this was the year to shed those 20 pounds, or to make wiser financial decisions, sticking with them can be a challenge for the rest of the year. Only about 8% of resolutions made are kept the whole year, with many of those failing resolutions happening in the first month. So how do you stay on track?
MAKE IT A HABIT
Whatever your goal may be, you have to create a habit in your life. There are three steps to creating healthy habits in your life and that can help you with staying on track with your resolutions.
Reminder – The trigger that initiates the behavior, Routine – the behavior itself, and Reward – the benefit from doing the behavior.
If your resolution was our 52-Week Saving Challenge, and you catch yourself forgetting each week, first set a reminder of some sort. Whether that’s a calendar reminder or an alarm on your phone, something that reminds you do save each week. After you put this in place create a routine, again if you’re taking the saving challenge with us have a routine in place to actually put that money in savings. It takes up to 30 days to create a habit so actually take the action step of putting the money in savings. Remember the reward: A few dollars a day may not seem like much of a reward but remember that by the end of the challenge you will have saved over 1000 dollars. How you use that money is up to you but, it’s important to keep the reward in mind. If your resolution was to be more organized and you just went through and threw everything away in your office and home, sure you could say you’re more organized but it doesn’t help you create the habit of putting things away. Likewise, if your plan was to save $1,000 this year and you transfer $500 in your savings account in January and June – you reach your goal, but it’s not as sweet a victory. You’re setting yourself up for habit hacking.
MEASURE YOUR PROGRESS
It always feels good to see a goal being met. It’s a lot like some a sculptor chipping away at a block of marble, little by little, you can see the finished statue coming into view and then to completion. If you’re working on losing weight, you’re probably keeping track of the number you see when you look on the scale. If you’re trying to save money, you probably glance at the e-statement each month to see how much more is in your account. Create a benchmark on a piece of paper and put it on the fridge. Look at it every day and remind yourself that you are working towards the goal and you are doing great!
“Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour.” John Heywood reminds us that if we continue to work towards our goals every day, no matter how big or small the gesture, we will get to our goal. Take pride in your small strides, overtime those strides will grow and you’ll be running marathons. Every time you lose a pound or feel good about a decision you made, do a dance- let yourself feel great!
TALK ABOUT YOUR GOALS
If you have a secret resolution, chances are it’s harder to keep up with it. Nobody is there to hold you accountable or to cheer you on when you’re doing well. Open up and share your experiences with family and friends, start a blog or diary and share how you’re doing and how you’re feeling about it. Encourage others to try to start their own resolution so you can support them as well. Start a group of friends who have similar resolution goals and keep each other motivated, informed, and honest about your goals. Share what you’re working towards with us and we can help too!
We’re two months into 2017, how are your resolutions stacking up? Let us know by using the hashtag #RicherResolutions or by letting us know in the comments below.
*The information above is not meant to be and is not financial advice. CTCU provides financial education and tips only. This information is not the advice of a paid certified financial adviser.
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