Hey everyone! Did you notice I didn’t post anything yesterday, even though I said I would? Wellll before you get too bummed, I did post something, I just didn’t post it here 🙂 Please check out my latest post on Your PF Pro, The Gamfication of Investing, and let me know what you think about turning investing into a game. Is it good? Is it bad? Is it whatever?
On to today’s post – creating better resolutions! As I mentioned, I love the new year because I love setting resolutions. However, one thing I’ve noticed among my friends and family is that a lot of them hate the term ‘New Year’s Resolution’. When asked, they say it’s too much pressure, or they’re unrealistic, or time-consuming.
While I’m not the world’s best at sticking to my resolutions, I have gotten a lot better at making good resolutions I can actually keep. For instance, one of my resolution’s last year was getting my blog up and running by July… and I did! (And trust me, setting up and faithfully writing for a blog is no walk in the park!) So I’m going to give myself credit and say I know a bit about setting attainable resolutions.
Curious how to set better resolutions for yourself? We’re only halfway through January – it’s not too late to create new resolutions or revise the ones you already have!
Set Fewer Resolutions
Yes, I said it. Don’t make so many resolutions. Unless you’re doing a new monthly challenge, don’t set any more than 12 resolutions for yourself! There are only 12 months out of the year, what makes you think you can do more than 12 different things?
Even if your goals are small, like “go to the doctor once this year” or “finally open an investment account”, don’t feel like you need to add on more goals to make yourself feel accomplished. So what if you set seven goals for yourself? If you accomplish them all in 2015, awesome! High five yourself! If you only accomplished 5 out of 7? At least it’s not 5 out of 20!
Make Them Actionable
Take your “finally open an investment account goal”, but don’t just leave it like that. Unless you tell yourself how you’re going to reach that goal, it’s just not going to happen.
For example, my “start a blog in 2014” goal last year. I could have left it at that, which meant I would do nothing except pine for a blog that would never be made. Instead, in February through June, I started following bloggers I liked, made notes blog designs I liked, and finally starting drafting posts and ideas for posts. I also hired a wonderful designer to create Sunburnt Saver – and trust me, nothing gets you to do something faster than putting money down!
So back to your “opening an investment account” goal: how are you going to do it? Start by saving as much as you can, say $250 a month for this goal. By July, evaluate how much money you have saved and consider opening a Roth IRA or Traditional IRA, whichever you prefer.
You can even wait until November or December, but just make sure you give yourself an action plan. You will save $250 a month towards your goal of opening an investment account!
Give Them a Timeframe
Give your goals a deadline: by December (or July, or August), you will have reached X resolution. Setting a timeframe isn’t meant to penalize you: if you absolutely can’t open an investment account by March, it’s not a big deal! You still have the rest of the year – but make sure to set a new month goal, otherwise you’ll forget about the resolution.
For our ongoing example of opening an investment account, I’d personally give myself a goal of December. You never know what the year could bring in terms of a raise or refund at tax time. If you happen to bring in more than you expected, then definitely open the account sooner! The point is to give yourself a deadline to look forward to. Try to think of it as a carrot, and not a stick by giving yourself a reward once you make your goal on time!
Enlist in a Buddy
If you really want to hold yourself accountable, tell someone about your goal! If your resolution is to open an investment account by December and save $250 a month towards that goal, tell people! Tell your parents, friends, or anyone you think would care about this goal. If you have to, tell a stranger. It might be weird, but at least you’ve gotten it out there and someone knows you have a goal!
For me, I told my boyfriend that I was going to start my blog in July. Little did I know, but he took that resolution of mine seriously! Not a day went by that he didn’t ask me if I was working on blog posts or blog ideas. When I goofed around on People.com, he asked me why I wasn’t reading personal finance blogs. Too serious? Not really. I was annoyed sometimes, but mostly because I knew he was right. If I wanted to get serious about blogging, I had to take it seriously before it ever went live.
Make sure your buddy knows about your deadline! Choose a buddy who will remember, too, and ask you, “hey, about opening that investment account… did you do it?” Hopefully, you’ll have done it. If not, hopefully your buddy reminding you will get you in gear to complete the goal!
So what about you? Did you or are you planning on setting any resolutions for the new year, and have you told anyone about those resolutions? PS- you can tell me! If you’re not setting any new year’s resolutions, why not? It’s okay if you’re not – they’re not for everyone!