Tired of making financial resolutions you just can’t stick to no matter how hard you try? Here are some tips to set you up for success, that you actually can keep.
What’s a new year without the lengthy 2022 recap/reflection posts flooding your IG feed, as well as the mandatory list of New Year resolutions, am I right?
At least once in your lifetime, you must have also hopped on the bandwagon and tried to pen down some new year resolutions, whether they are personal goals, relationship goals or financial goals you’d like to achieve.
But how many of you all can attest to sticking to your New Year resolutions? According to a study done by Forbes, 44% of people break their New Year resolutions in the first six months (me included!).
So if you don’t want your efforts to go down the drain, here’s how you can make financial goals that you’ll actually keep (and be proud to post on IG).
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1. Set realistic goals
This goes without saying, but setting realistic goals is key to following through with your financial goals throughout the year. If you yourself are overwhelmed by the goal that you’ve set for yourself, then you would know that your resolution is indeed a tall order.
Instead of aiming big (like saving S$20,000 a year when you’re barely able to save a decent portion of your take-home pay), size down your goal to something more manageable like S$10,000. If you find yourself saving more when the year ends, then great, it’s a bonus!
Setting achievable goals helps you to instil confidence in yourself and your financial situation. You wouldn’t want to end up jaded because you were unable to meet all the year’s goals, and then not creating any goals at all for the following year.
2. Stick to one to three goals
While there are some who do not believe in setting any financial resolutions for the new year, there are also a handful of over-achievers who have at least ten goals they hope to achieve in a year.
Though it is perfectly fine to set multiple goals that you aim to meet, it can be pretty daunting to see a whole list of resolutions for the year.
Start small and stick to about one to three main goals. It not only helps you to focus and increases your chances of success, but it also forces you to eliminate other goals that are of less importance and zero in on those that are higher on the priority list.
3. Create a measurable goal
One key reason people fail to meet their resolutions is the lack of a quantifiable or tangible goal to work towards. Rather than simply hoping to “learn more about cryptocurrency” or “rich from investing”, set specific goals like “read 20 articles about cryptocurrency” (this article can be one of them!) or “aim for S$5,000 returns on investments”.
This helps you to develop a laser focus on your goal since you would know exactly what you’re working towards and thus achieve your goal much faster. On top of that, it also makes your goal more achievable and less daunting since you have a specific and measurable figure to strive towards.
4. Prioritise each goal
Even after you’ve whittled down the list to a handful of resolutions, you can further categorise them into three groups — critical, needs and wants.
Maybe you’re planning for a wedding in the following year so saving up at least S$10,000 is extremely critical. Or, a need can be to settle your existing debt as you might expect big purchases like a house or a possible kid in the works in the next few years. A want can be to earn enough on your investment portfolio to be able to afford that luxury bag you’ve been eyeing for months.
Categorising them into these groups will help you to see where your priorities lie, and if things get overwhelming halfway through, you would know exactly which resolution can take a backseat for the time being.
5. Introduce a deadline
Aside from prioritising your goals, it’s also good to include a deadline for all your resolutions. It can be a specific date like a wedding that you’ve been saving towards or a very broad deadline like the third quarter of 2022.
Identify if these goals belong to the short-term or long-term goals. For example, maybe your resolution this year is to develop a healthier relationship with money. That could be an example of a long-term goal that would take at least a few months to achieve. Or, maybe you’d like to get started on investing with robo-advisors, which could be achieved in a matter of weeks, assuming you have done your fair share of research beforehand and are ready to jump right into it.
Setting deadlines keep you accountable, so you can always check in with yourself to see how much you’ve accomplished.
6. Make them physically visible
Noting down your resolutions in your head or on your Notes app is not enough if you really want to achieve your goals. Consider penning them down on paper or on a post-it note and hang it up somewhere visible. Be it on your bathroom mirror or above your desk, having them visible everyday drills these goals into your head and constantly reminds you to work on them.
You can even set yourself little reminders every month on your phone to check on your progress. The objective is to constantly remind yourself of these financial goals so you don’t end up falling back to your old ways.
7. Take on a right mindset
Seeing your peers flex their newly-bought Rolex watches or brand new Tesla on social media can spur you to work harder, but it shouldn’t be the sole motivation behind your financial resolutions. Yes, comparing yourself to your friends is normal, but your financial goals should be for yourself and no one else — and definitely not for bragging rights.
Aiming for the coveted six-digit balance in your bank by the end of the year? Do it for a more comfortable future with your significant other. Want to own a car in the near future? Do it because it can bring you and your loved ones added convenience. It’s important to have the right mindset when setting your goals, and remember that achieving them is for yourself.
8. Reward yourself
If all else fails, maybe a sweet treat when you achieve your goals can help motivate you to achieve them.
Treat yourself to a luxurious meal or purchase that new iPhone that you’ve been setting your sights on. Indulging in one or two indulgent purchases that make you happy is worthwhile, once in a while. Reward yourself, you definitely deserve it for hitting your goals!
Penning down resolutions is easy for sure, but sticking to them throughout the year is where the challenge lies. Say goodbye to unrealised resolutions that never once made it to the end of the year. Use these tips to set realistic and achievable financial goals and start striving towards financial freedom. Let 2022 be your year!
(Make sure you start off on the right foot: before all else, get rid of debt and have your savings in order.)
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