Happy 2017, readers! It might sound crazy, but I’m looking forward to 2017. I’m entering a new decade of my life, which is always interesting, and there are a lot of necessary changes coming up professionally. Whether it’s good or bad remains to be seen, but whether you like it or not: 2017 is here!
So what are your New Year’s goals? Did you make any resolutions? I hope your answer is “no!”
Wait, what? Why would a personal finance blogger not want you to make any resolutions? Am I crazy? Maybe, but that’s beside the point. I don’t want you to set any 2017 goals without doing one thing first: defining your why.
Let’s face it: setting goals in the new year just to set them sets you up for failure. Already, a vast majority of people don’t achieve their New Year’s goals, and without a concrete “why”, you’ll never beat these odds. So do you actually want to change something about yourself? Here’s how to beat the average and achieve your New Year’s resolutions.
Why Are You Setting This Goal?
If your goal is to lose weight or increase your savings, why are you doing it? I’m going to get real here: you need to think worse case scenario. Why do you seriously want to lose weight? Do you fear you won’t get to watch your kids grow up? Are you tired of expensive pills when diet and exercise can help you get off the pills? Are you afraid you won’t have enough money to get you through the month and you want to escape that feeling?
Feel something about your goal. Fear is a good motivator, but happiness, accomplishment, and/or pride all work just as well. Want to strive for a promotion by graduating from college? Want to make your spouse proud by saving up for a new vehicle? Whatever your goal is, make sure it’s something you feel and sincerely want to accomplish.
Pick One or Two and Pursue Relentlessly
None of us are Superman or Superwoman. We can’t lose weight, get a new job, find a new partner, buy a new house, start a business, get out of debt, have a 6 months emergency savings fund, and hike the Himalayas all in one year. If you can, stop reading this and be my friend.
But if you’re like 80% of us, you can realistically only accomplish one or two big goals. If you’re trying to shed 30 pounds or save up $5,000 in case of a job loss, it’s really hard to change all of your habits in a few months.
Willpower is a muscle: you have to constantly work it out. You will lose weight, but you have to focus on that one goal almost exclusively. Don’t get stressed out by also thinking you have to accomplish goals B, C, and D too.
If you’ve accomplished Goal A by July, by all means pursue Goal B! But don’t try to pursue all of your resolutions at once: you’ll just get frustrated and more likely to fail in sticking to your resolutions.
Focus On You
Even if you want to accomplish your resolution for someone else (spouse, kids, a doctor, etc.), in the end, you’re doing this for yourself. We all think of peer pressure as something teenagers succumb to, but the truth is, it affects adults too.
If you start losing weight or your startup business begins to gain traction, you might get friends and family who mean to sabotage you. When my husband started losing weight last year, his family (who are all, for the most part, overweight) started giving him a hard time about “wasting away” and needing to “eat more.” When your family is the one peer pressuring you to fail at your resolution, how do you think that’s going to affect you?
That’s why, in the end, it comes down to you. You have to look at yourself in the mirror and say, “no one controls my life but me.” Is your family paying your bills, medical expenses, or paying for your lifestyle? If the answer is “no” then, sorry, they don’t get a say in how you accomplish your goals. Starting a business might not be for everyone, but if it is for you, it’s within your rights to pursue your goal.
It may seem that achieving New Year’s resolutions is impossible, and for many people, it is. But readers of Your PF Pro: we know that living a budgeted, safe, happy and healthy life is important. Being debt-free is important. Having an emergency fund is important. Being able to support yourself and your family is important. Make it a priority, and you’ll beat the average! C
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Cheers to a great start to 2017! What are your New Year’s resolutions for 2017?