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Money Do’s and Don’ts: How to make resolutions that work

Money Bites 80% of New Year resolutions fail by February but here’s how you can avoid being another statistic and make resolutions that work.
80% of New Year resolutions fail by February but here’s how you can avoid being another statistic and make resolutions that work.

Bite-Size Read:

  • Most of us make New Year’s resolutions for the year ahead but 4 out of 5 of those resolutions will fail.
  • If you want to make a resolution that works, you need to set a deadline and get clear on why you’re doing it.
  • You should avoid relying on willpower alone, avoid trying to change everything in your life in one go, and do seek support from your friends and family.


Have you made a New Year’s resolution?

Us too! The New Year brings hope and the opportunity to be a better version of you 365 days from now. It provides a fresh year in front of you to achieve the goals and resolutions you set for yourself.

However, 80% of all New Year’s Resolutions fail by mid-February.

This research from the University of Minnesota reveals that not all resolutions are made to be achievable. Saying that you’ll save money is a nice idea but aiming to save $5 a week is a more targeted goal. To help you achieve your resolutions this year, we’ve compiled a list of what works and what doesn’t.


Here’s the money do’s and don’ts for how to make resolutions that work:


1. DO identify why you’re doing it

We start a resolution with the best of intentions. What will keep you going is finding your why and getting really clear on why you’re chasing your goal.


2. DON’T rely on willpower alone

Willpower is what helps you start any goal but it runs out eventually. Support yourself to keep going with positive routines and tools that will help you achieve your goal long-term.


3. DO write down your goal

A resolution becomes more concrete when you write it down and make it tangible. You can then set a deadline and a target that clearly identifies what you’re aiming to achieve.


4. DON’T forget to consider where you are right now

If you struggle to save $20 a week, a goal to save $200 a week will likely fail. Instead, look at where you are right now and set goals to improve on that.


5. DO surround yourself with positive reinforcement

To help you achieve your goals, surround yourself with content that will support what you’re trying to do. Sign up for podcasts, read books or articles and subscribe to a mailing list that will reinforce your resolutions.


6. DON’T try and change everything in your life at once

Having too many things you need to change at once can feel overwhelming. Instead, select the goals that matter the most to you and get really specific about how you achieve them.


7. DO make short-term goals you can achieve

Breaking up big resolutions into short-term goals means you’re more likely to achieve a long-term resolution. This also means you have a pathway to achieving long-term goals that seem out of reach.


8. DON’T walk alone without peer support

We make resolutions as individuals but achieving them is much easier when you’re part of a team. Share your money goal with your friends and family so that they can support you to reach it. They can also join you in working to achieve a goal so that you have a source of motivation to keep going.


9. DO see the achievement of your resolutions as a journey, not an endpoint.

Research from Stanford University shows that thinking of a resolution as a journey instead of a destination means you’re more likely to sustain long-term change. Make resolutions sustainable as long-term changes by seeing them as part of your narrative around money.


10. DON’T forget to celebrate your wins

Reaching a resolution is often the result of months or years of hard work. Take the time to celebrate that effort and recognise what you’ve worked to achieve. You’ll chase that feeling of achievement in the future and then set new resolutions and goals for the year to continue your progress.


Remember that money resolutions are difficult because you’re changing habits learned over time.

Money is tied to our belief systems and are ingrained from our childhoods. Change on that scale takes time and will be hard at times. Recognise this history effect and choose to be kind to yourself by setting resolutions that are targeted and within your reach.

Written by Kate Crowhurst

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