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Wednesday, January 1, 2014

How To Guarantee You'll Keep Your New Years Resolutions

How do you do that, you ask? Well your first step has to be to look inward. You must ask yourself how you got to this place where you don’t want to be anymore. Identify what caused your troubles in the first place. Is it a spending addiction or are your monthly bills more than 25 percent of your monthly income? Whatever it is you need to identify the areas that are causing you to overspend. Then make a commitment to yourself that things will be different in 2014. I can give you all the tips and tricks available, but if you don’t commit to making change then this information will do you no good.

Once you’ve made yourself this promise it’s time to set some goals. Think about what you want to accomplish this year. Do you want to travel more? Or pay off your house? Do you want to make more money? Choose one or two  goals to accomplish this year.

If in years past you’ve made New Year’s resolutions only to fall off the bandwagon just a month or two later, then here  are a few easy solutions that will help you stay committed this year. The real secret to keeping your resolutions is in the crafting of your goals.  Follow the SMART goal setting protocol.  Make your goals specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.

Specificity is the key to staying on point throughout your journey. Don’t say I want to be richer by the end of this year. That’s too general. Say I will open an IRA account this year and contribute the maximum amount. It’s much easier to accomplish your goal when you are precise.

It’s also important to make your  goals measurable. You will not be able to accomplish your goal overnight. It will take you months, if not the entire year, to reach your goal. Because of this your goal will need to be tracked throughout the year. This is important to staying committed to your goal. If you can see the progress you are making, you will remain motivated to attain your resolution.

Break your goal up into monthly or weekly mini accomplishments so you can measure your progress. For example if your goal is to pay off $5,000 in credit card debt by the end of this year, break that down into 12 monthly goals you need to meet ($417 a month). Break that down further by paying $104.25 each week. That way you can check off each week you pay and see that $5,000 balance come down.

You’ll never reach your goal if you make them too hard to accomplish. That’s why you not want you to set more than two goals. You don’t want to over commit and then fail when you realize you made things too hard on yourself. You must be realistic in your pursuit. Every exercise professional will tell you it’s impossible to make a 360 degree change. No one goes from never working out to working out three days a week. It’s too big of a change and you set yourself up for failure. The same goes with other goals too.  You can’t go from big spender to cost cutting queen overnight if you want to find long term success. Choose one or two things you want to accomplish this year and set your mind to it.

 Loosing weight, breaking a bad habit , saving for retirement or putting money aside for a rainy day are not fun things to do. So  don’t make goals simply because you think you should. You’ll never meet a goal you don’t care much about. Instead of committing to saving 20 percent of each of your paychecks, tie it to an action you actually want to do like traveling more or retiring early. These goals are much more motivating, than simply saying you want to save money.

Just like you need a starting line for your goals, you also need a finish line. Set a deadline for accomplishing each goal. You’ll need that pressure to motivate you to continually move towards your goal.

Once you’ve made your selections right them down on a sticky note. Then place them in an area that you see every day. Try  the mirror in your bathroom. Every day when you  get up, they are the first thing you'll  see in the morning and the last thing you'll see before you go to bed. They help continually remind you of what you want to accomplish. It also keeps you  focused on your  goals, which is especially helpful for when you're  feeling depressed and want to give yourself a pick me up by buying yourself  something nice.

Next write yourself a letter detailing why these goals are important. You need to remind yourself what it is about this goal that makes you want to achieve it. Come up with at least two to three reasons for each goal. Then go to futureme.org. This site lets you send a future letter to yourself. We all need motivation and reminding yourself of why you came up with these goals in the first place in a great way to keep yourself on track. You type out the letter and set a future date to send it to yourself. This will help keep you motivated along your journey.

Finally, don’t worry if you get knocked off track along the way. It will happen at some point that you make a mistake, or miss a benchmark. When this happens you may feel like giving up. Don’t allow that to happen! Instead come up with an action that will get you back on course. If you do that you will be better off than 95 percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions.

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