Have you ever said to yourself that you will start doing something tomorrow, yet tomorrow never comes? Or had a bunch of New Year’s resolutions that you quickly gave up on and added back to your list the next year?

You’re not alone. When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, approx. 8% of people actually achieve them. But why is that? The answer… you.

When it comes to setting New Year’s resolutions we tend to set the expectations way too high, setting ourselves up for failure right from the start. And if the resolution is achievable, many times we don’t make the effort or change our behaviours that would allow us to succeed.

We need to stop setting ourselves up for failure and really focus on making tomorrow, today. Whether you want to improve your personal fitness and nutrition, focus on your finances or quit bad habits, you need to ensure your goals are attainable and provide a realistic expectation, a target date and an action plan on how you will achieve your goal.  

Example 1: Attainable Goals

For example, in 2018 you want to increase the number of days you go to the gym from once a week to four times a week. Instead of jumping in feet first, set a target date and slowly incorporate a new gym day into your weekly routine until you are up to four gym days a week. Create an action plan on when you will go to the gym by booking time in your calendar in advance. By writing it down, you’ll be more motivated to do it and won’t be tempted to book yourself for something else.

Success will also require you to make changes to your lifestyle and behaviours. New Year’s resolutions won’t happen on their own and you must take action or make changes to see results.

Example 2: Changing Behaviours

Your 2018 resolution is to save money by cutting out your morning coffee purchase. In order to do this though, you must change your behaviour in stopping each morning. You may also need to create a new habit of making a coffee at home each morning to eliminate the temptation of stopping, which in the end will help you succeed. 

Changing behaviours can be hard and you must be consistent in order for them to become a part of your everyday norm. According to a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes a minimum of 21 days to form or change a habit. That doesn’t seem too long when you read it but can feel like forever when trying to do it. Don’t panic though – stay consistent and hold yourself accountable - within time, you won’t even remember what the old norm was.

The key to achieving your New Year’s resolution is ensuring it’s attainable and having an action plan that helps you succeed. When it comes to your financial planning resolutions, we're here to help.

Starting Jan. 1, we're challenging you to Kick-Start Your Finances by taking our 6-week challenge. Each week, we'll be tackling a new topic related to you and your money and we encourage you to join us along the way. Together, we can build an action plan and help you take control of your finances in 2018. Join us next week to learn more and take the challenge! 

Happy New Year!