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Financial New Year's Resolution

Dec 21, 2020

This past year has underscored the undeniable fact that the future is unpredictable. Slowing down and taking life day by day can help us collect ourselves and clear our minds so we can better plan for the new year that lies ahead. As we pause and think about setting our New Year’s resolutions for 2021, it’s important that we make sure our resolutions are actionable, tangible, and trackable so we can not only rebuild, but thrive in 2021 and beyond. Below, we’ve listed a few tips to help you get started with setting your resolutions.

Think of your day-to-day needs, not your end goal.

Rather than putting unnecessary pressure on yourself by setting a long-term goal of saving a large lump sum by a certain date, try to set more short-term goals, like contributing a smaller amount of money ($5 to $10 dollars) to a high interest savings account(s) at the end of each week, or whatever you feel comfortable with. If you were to save $10 each week, you’d have $520 at the end of the year! You could use this money for a repair, a treat, or as the foundation of your emergency savings fund. You may even feel more accomplished as you make the transfer each week, rather than feeling like you’re slowly inching towards a goal in the far-off future.

Also, when thinking of your resolutions, consider where you felt your biggest pinch in 2020, and try to brainstorm actionable resolutions that could help lift some of that burden in 2021. For example, if you felt that by the time you needed to go grocery shopping you didn’t have as much money as you would have liked, consider setting a resolution to do one big grocery shop at a wholesale retailer like Costco or BJ’s at the beginning of the month, and only making additional trips as needed. Shifting priorities may be just what you need to relieve some of the pressure!

Put pen to paper.

Rather than just thinking or speaking about your resolutions, put pen to paper (or sticky note) and keep it somewhere visible to you, so you can remind yourself of your goals. Seeing your goals written down may encourage you to keep pushing towards achieving them if you’re feeling defeated or like you’re losing steam.

Track your progress.

A lot of times we slowly forget about our resolutions after the first few months of the new year, but don’t let that happen in 2021! Track your progress—whether that’s filling out a checklist, a money diary, or taking photographic proof—to see just how far you’ve come since you set the goal. This can motivate you to keep saving when you need it most, and when all is said and done you’ll have a physical track record that shows how much you were able to accomplish. You can even reference this log when it’s time to up the ante for your next set of resolutions in 2022.  

Tweak as you go.

Part of the reason we neglect our resolutions is that we get overwhelmed by the things we thought we’d be able to accomplish in a set amount of time. Be sure to have regular check-ins with yourself to gauge whether or not your goals are sustainable, and if they’re not, think of ways you can adjust them so that they are. Life changes day by day; your goals should, too!

Setting financial goals can seem overwhelming, but ultimately you are the one that benefits when you accomplish them. Start small, don’t be too hard on yourself, and think of how fulfilling it’ll be at the end of 2021 when you can look back at all you’ve accomplished!

Erin Elis 
Erin Ellis
Accredited Financial Counselor ®
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