If you were like most American consumers, you might recall that at the start of the year, you made some financial resolutions you promised to stick to. It was part of that big list that could have included some healthy resolutions as well and a few more changes that you would want to take up this year. It can be exercise, diet, financial planning, budgeting or even being a little more approachable in the office.
Three months into it, how has your financial plans panned out for you? Are you happy with your progress or have you forgotten all about your targets and goals for the year? It is easy to get lost with the goals you have set out to accomplish for the year especially at this early part of the game. For most people, they tend to overlook these targets thinking that they still have a lot of months to catch back up on it.
It is true that at this point, there is still about nine months to get back on track but this is a mindset people should change. Rather than focusing on what is left and effectively convincing themselves that they have a lot more time, people should look at the past few months and use them as a springboard to jump back into action.
It is easy to drift off-course with the financial resolution list that you have set out to do. Nerdwallet.com shares that the average credit card debt of an American household is already around $15,000. Without a list to pursue, it is harder to reach your goals and manage your debts better. Having them should help you and guide you as you work your way slowly in being able to juggle all your financial obligations and coming out on top at the end of the year.
How to get back on track with your new year’s financial resolution
There are a few ways to get back on track with your financial plans for the year. Hope is not lost but you need to put in the sweat equity to get back on your list, stay there and see it through. Here are a few things you might want to look into to help you achieve this goal.
- Get your list out. Your list is very important so you stay on top of things just like how Forbes.com shares how forgetting a $10 card bill can hurt a score. When you were preparing your financial resolution at the start of the year, there is a big possibility that you wrote them down either in a piece of paper or in your computer. Now would be a good time to take out your list and review them to see where you are. You need to track your progress and your list should help you measure how far along you are with your goals.
- Try to remember your goals. When you put your list financial resolution list together at the start of the year, you were looking at accomplishing specific goals at the end of the year. It is possible that you want to lower down your mortgage loan to a specific amount, cut your student loan to half or even pay off your credit card balance at the end of the year. You can look back at these goals to help you remember why you have specific items in your list that are geared towards these goals.
- Look for motivation. Have you come across a recent success story that motivates you to exert the same amount of effort on your goal? Will setting up rewards for accomplishing specific milestones in your list motivate you to move forward? You need to look for these things and a lot more when you are trying to look for ways to jumpstart your plan to get back in your list. Finding what motivates you can help you get out of a slump and move you to the right direction.
- Break them down into smaller chunks. If you look at your financial resolution list as a whole and you find that the end goal is just too much, you might lose hope that you would be able to accomplish everything in time. This could make you abandon the list simply because it seems to much already. One thing you can do is to break these down into smaller chunks so you can accomplish them much easier. If your goal is to put in an additional $1200 payment on your auto loan at the end of the year, you can cut this down to $100 a month or a little less than $4 a day. Breaking them down to smaller amounts can help make it seem more attainable than looking at the the big number at the end of the year.
- Enjoy small rewards. When you break down your financial resolution and meet your goals, you might want to reward yourself for a job well done. The tricky part in all these is making sure that the rewards you set out for yourself are commensurate to what you have accomplished and what your budget can take. If you will reward yourself with an exotic vacation because you were able to save up $100 a month then that defeats the purpose of saving. You would end up spending more than what you saved for the reward. You can look into a nice dinner or a massage at the end of the month. It can even be as simple as a long hot bath at home or enjoying pizza while catching up to your favorite tv shows or movies.
- Let a friend know about your list. When you put your financial resolution list together, there is a big chance that you just kept the list all to yourself and it is safely hidden away in your wallet or your computer files. One way to help people feel more accountable with their goals is to let other people know about it. It could be their spouse, sibling or even friends that they talk to and share their goals to help them feel more accountable with what they are trying to accomplish. This is because they know that there are other people who knows about their plans and someone can check up on them anytime.
What to do when your list is not really working
There maybe times when your financial resolution list is not really working anymore. Here are some things you might want to consider on why this is happening.
- Adjust and tweak your goals. Your goals might need some tweaking or adjustments to make it more relevant to your target. You might have only been planning to pay up an additional $10 to your credit card because you only owed a small amount on it. But you could have used the same card and racked up new debt on it which needs to be paid up as well. Learn to adjust your goals as well and this is only possible when you regularly check your list.
- Input recent developments. Change is constant in life and you need to factor this into your list. You might have experienced job loss or even a decrease in your income. You might have also gotten married or undergoing divorce proceedings which can both have a big effect on your finances. Be sure to take note of recent developments to adjust your list accordingly.
Your financial resolution list will serve as a great blueprint in reaching your financial goals at the end of the year. Just be sure that you follow them and that it doesn’t just get stucked at the back of your files and remember to adjust for life events that you experience.