Turning Your New Year's Resolutions Into Long-Term Habits

January 10, 2020

If you've heard the statistic that four out of every five New Year's resolutions fail, you may wonder whether it's worth making resolutions in the first place. Will you feel worse if you don't achieve your resolutions than if you'd never made any at all?

Fortunately, setting resolutions doesn't mean setting yourself up to fail. By being deliberate in articulating your goals, and scheduling milestone checkups along the way, you'll stay on track. Read on for some tips and tricks that can turn your New Year's resolutions into new additions to your lifestyle.

Reframe Your Goals

One of the biggest reasons resolutions fail is because they're just too vague. You may feel that the goal of "lose 20 pounds" is specific. But while this is more specific than simply, "lose weight," it doesn't provide the steps you need to take action.

Instead, continue brainstorming for action items after you've come up with an initial goal. For example, if you'd like to lose 20 pounds by the end of the year, your resolutions could include things like:

  • Get 10,000 steps a day
  • Go to the gym three times a week
  • Stop snacking after 8:00 p.m.

Even if you happen to fall short in the weight loss department by year-end, this doesn't mean your resolution has failed. By working on these sub-goals, you'll improve your health and stamina while moving down the path toward weight loss.

The same principle goes for financial goals and resolutions. While deciding to save a certain dollar amount or pay off certain debts can be a valuable starting point, the real work will lie in the smaller steps you set along the way. Things like packing your lunch a few days per week, taking on "gigs" to earn extra cash, or committing to a certain number of no-spend days each month can free up funds to be put toward your overarching goals.

Reward Your Progress

While some New Year's resolutions are fun ones—like "go on more vacations"—many tend to relate to health, financial improvement, and personal growth. Achieving progress in these areas can often mean deprivation and challenges, at least temporarily. Because of this, it's crucial to set up a reward system of some sort so that you're encouraged along the way. Giving yourself small treats or incentives for continuing to work on your goals can also help you avoid the feast-or-famine mindset.

What Financial Goals Can You Set in 2020?

Personal finance means personal financial goals, and there's no one-size-fits-all resolution when it comes to your 2020 finances. But if you'd like to take some small steps to save (or earn) this year, you might consider a few of the following:

  • Put any raises directly toward your retirement or other savings.
  • If your bank offers a "rounding up" program, take advantage of this opportunity to set aside the change from every transaction you make.
  • With interest rates still low, consider refinancing any current loans you may have—like auto loans, mortgages, or personal loans.
  • If you have credit card debt, check out zero percent or balance transfer offers that can let you pay off your balance without interest.

If you'd like a partner to help you achieve these goals, Guaranty Bank & Trust can help. From personal and business banking to wealth management, our experienced advisors offer advice that's tailored to your needs. Give us a call or visit our website to learn more about the services we offer.

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