New Year’s resolutions… we’ve all made them, we’ve all broken them. But sometimes, we’ve actually kept them, and our lives improved as a result, right?
More than most years, we are all eager to see the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, along with hopes for better things as the new vaccines and better public health practices rein in the pandemic that has taken over our lives this year. It’s also possible that many of us will be using this time of “taking stock” to set new goals and resolutions for the year to come. Following are some useful ideas for giving your 2021 financial resolutions more staying power.
1. Leverage your technology. One of the best ways to stay on track for meeting a goal of any kind is to keep that goal at the forefront of your thoughts and awareness. For financial goals, it has never been easier to make your smart phone into a daily assistant, not only for remembering those important objectives but also to know how you’re doing in your daily efforts to meet them. I love the app Mint.com; you can think of it as your “Swiss Army knife” for tracking and meeting your financial goals. With Mint, you can not only establish and monitor your monthly budget; you can also enter and track your investments, track and pay your bills, check on your credit score, set reminders and alerts, and perform many other important financial maintenance and management tasks—right on your phone. With Mint, there’s no good excuse for not knowing where you are on meeting your goals. And, if you do get off-course (more on this below), Mint helps you chart your path to get back on track.
2. Make your goals positive. We all know what a difference a few words can make. Instead of framing your goal as “Quit wasting money on impulse purchases,” wouldn’t you rather orient yourself toward “Saving for a great weekend getaway”? In other words, by casting your goal as something you want to achieve, obtain, or earn—instead of something you want to avoid, quit, or get rid of—you’ll transform your purpose from a negative to a positive: something desirable, rather than something you never want to see again. This is just basic psychology, but it works!
3. Don’t quit if you slip up. Many of us tend to pump ourselves full of resolve, bravely set sail toward our shiny, new destination … and then abandon ship at the first sign of failure. Instead, remember that even if you only partially achieve your goal—for example, increasing your annual contribution to your IRA by 15% instead of the 20% in your goal—you’re still better off than if you hadn’t tried at all. In other words, resist the urge to beat yourself up if you don’t achieve 100% of your goal, and especially avoid quitting on your goal altogether if you get behind or off-track after a few weeks or months. Hang in there, accomplish all you can, and congratulate yourself on what you were able to achieve.
As we close out this most tumultuous year, I hope that you have been able to find moments of joy and accomplishment, even amid the rampant uncertainty and difficulty that 2020 has brought. If we can offer advice, encouragement, or needed information for your financial journey, please contact Empyrion Wealth Management. And to read my new article with tips for those who are retiring in 2021, click here.
Stay Diversified, Stay YOUR Course!