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People make a lot of big promises on December 31. It seems like everyone is coming up with a laundry list of New Year’s resolutions. But what happens to those goals halfway through the year? If we’re honest, a lot of the things we think we’re going to achieve slip off our radar before summer even arrives.
If that’s what happened to you this year, you weren’t the only one. In fact, research from the University of Scranton shows that only about 8% of people achieve their New Year’s goals. That means almost nine out of ten people see their resolutions slip through the cracks. Yikes.
Losing sight of your goals doesn’t necessarily mean you’re weak, lazy or incapable. It might just mean that life got the best of you this year. But just because you got off track doesn’t mean you have to stay down. You’re only out of the game if you want to be. The end of summer is a great time to revisit, reset, and refocus. The calendar says there’s still plenty of time to hit your goals if you’re committed to them.
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But just because you got off track doesn’t mean you have to stay down.
So if you’re ready to reset your New Year’s resolutions and get after it, grab a pen and start taking notes. Here’s what you need to do.
1. Write down your top goal.
Pick the resolution that means the most to you and write it down. You’re more likely to succeed if you can focus on a single goal. And you have a greater chance of achieving what you set out to do if you write it down. Make sure the resolution you pick really means something to you. Writing down a goal just because it’s what someone else is doing or because it sounds like a good idea isn’t good enough. If it isn’t yours, it won’t stick.
2. Set benchmarks.
Let’s say you want to pay off your credit card before the end of the year. You know that will take some weight off your shoulders—and you’re ready to get after it. Make the goal measurable by setting benchmarks. If you owe $5,000 on your credit card and want to pay it off in six months, you know you need to pay about $833 on it each month. Write benchmarks like this down beneath your goal and make a plan for how you’re going to get it done.
3. Find an accountability partner.
A great accountability partner isn’t afraid to ask you how your goals are going. They aren’t afraid to be honest and tell you that you’re not doing your best. If you set a financial goal, a good accountability partner isn’t going to be the friend who is always asking you to go to the mall or out to dinner. But someone needs to hold you accountable for your resolution. Studies have shown that reporting to an accountability partner increases your likelihood of achieving your goal by 95%.
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4. Reward yourself along the way.
It’s tough to stay motivated when your goal is going to take you more than a few months. You may start out moving full steam ahead, but over time, it’s normal for momentum to disappear. That’s why it’s important to reward yourself for hitting milestones along the way. For example, maybe you treat yourself to a night at the movies when you’ve paid the first $1,000 on your credit card or a new shirt when you’ve paid off half the card.
Sometimes life doesn’t work out the way we think it will. Our priorities change—and maybe our goals change too. If that’s the reason you didn’t meet your resolution, that’s fine. But if you feel like you got off track and it’s too late, think again. You can still make some radical changes this year if you reset and refocus. Don’t let the rest of this year pass you by.
Looking for a way to get your money goals on track? Start today with Financial Peace University!