This post may contain affiliate links, which means if you click through and purchase something using my links, I receive a small commission. You can click here to read my disclosure policy ? Thank you!
Happy 2019! Did you have a fantastic New Year’s Eve celebration? I always love watching the fireworks (especially from around the world), it always feels like a fun way to ring in the new year!
We’re in January and you know what that means: everyone’s going to be asking “what are your New Year’s resolutions?” I used to be a huge fan of resolutions, but over the years I’ve usually been one of those many people who fail at keeping their resolutions. I’m already a perfectionist, and not keeping my resolutions makes me really bummed!
That said, I’ve gotten a lot better at making resolutions (or “goals”) and sticking to them when I plan for it. For example, last year I would occasionally do face masks whenever I remembered. However, in June I decided I wanted to really take care of my face and my skin, so I set a “resolution” to do a face mask every Sunday night. And guess what? I’ve stuck with it (and I think my face looks better!)
In November, I decided I wanted to actually save money on my grocery budget, and I started meal planning. Not only has it saved me money, but I’ve stuck to it because I wanted to – and because I saw results 🙂 I set better resolutions, when I was ready, not because January is when you’re “supposed to.”
Set Resolutions and Goals When It Makes Sense
While I might fail at setting resolutions and sticking to them in January, I’m much better at sticking to resolutions and goals when I’m in the right frame of mind. Are you the same way? If so, think of this time of year not as a time when you set ALL THE GOALS, but rather goals you want to accomplish in the future.
For example, maybe your goals are:
- Save more money
- Earn more money
- Get healthy
- Get outside more
For most people, trying to accomplish those things all at once is a recipe for failure. But what if you tackled one goal at a time? In January and February, you could focus on budgeting and sticking to a budget.
In March, once you started saving more money, you could tackle earning more. Maybe you start a side hustle or ask for a raise at your job. In May, you could start tackling eating healthier foods, meal planning, preparing healthy food ahead of time. And in July, you could tackle your last goal of getting outside more by scheduling in walks, pool time on the weekends, walking around a farmer’s market or park, etc.
Doesn’t that sound so much more doable? Here are more tips to set better resolutions and accomplish them in 2019!
Set Fewer Resolutions
Yes, I said it. Don’t make so many resolutions. Unless you’re doing a new monthly challenge, don’t set any more than 12 resolutions for yourself! There are only 12 months out of the year, what makes you think you can do more than 12 different things?
Even if your goals are small, like “go to the doctor once this year” or “finally open an investment account”, don’t feel like you need to add on more goals to make yourself feel accomplished. So what if you set seven goals for yourself? If you accomplish them all in 2019, awesome! High five yourself! If you only accomplished 5 out of 7? At least it’s not 5 out of 20!
Make Them Actionable
Take your “finally open an investment account goal”, but don’t just leave it like that. Unless you tell yourself how you’re going to reach that goal, it’s just not going to happen.
For example, my “I want better skin” goal. I could have left it at that, which meant I would do nothing except every once in a while remember to put a face mask on. Instead, I took inventory of the random face masks and serums I had in my bathroom, figured out which ones had expired, and kept the ones that were still good and worked for my face (for example, I don’t like the masks you have to peel off your skin – it makes me feel like I’m a snake!)
I also set an alarm on my phone every Sunday for a month to remember to put on a face mask. After a while, I enjoyed this relaxing down time (because with most masks you can’t really do much for 20 minutes) that I didn’t need to schedule it anymore!
So back to your “opening an investment account” goal: how are you going to do it? Start by saving as much as you can, say $250 a month for this goal. By July, evaluate how much money you have saved and consider opening a Roth IRA or Traditional IRA, whichever you prefer.
You can even wait until November or December, but just make sure you give yourself an action plan. You will save $250 a month towards your goal of opening an investment account!
Give Them a Timeframe
Give your goals a deadline: by December (or July, or August), you will have reached X resolution. Setting a timeframe isn’t meant to penalize you: if you absolutely can’t open an investment account by March, it’s not a big deal! You still have the rest of the year – but make sure to set a new month goal, otherwise you’ll forget about the resolution.
For our ongoing example of opening an investment account, I’d personally give myself a goal of December. You never know what the year could bring in terms of a raise or refund at tax time. If you happen to bring in more than you expected, then definitely open the account sooner! The point is to give yourself a deadline to look forward to. Try to think of it as a carrot, and not a stick by giving yourself a reward once you make your goal on time!
Enlist in a Buddy
If you really want to hold yourself accountable, tell someone about your goal! If your resolution is to open an investment account by December and save $250 a month towards that goal, tell people! Tell your parents, friends, or anyone you think would care about this goal. If you have to, tell a stranger. It might be weird, but at least you’ve gotten it out there and someone knows you have a goal!
For me, I told my friend I was going to have “me time” on Sundays, and maybe we could schedule our “friend call” (we live states apart! It’s hard to stay in touch when your friends live far away!) Sunday afternoons. By scheduling a recurring Sunday call, I knew that friend time + me time would definitely happen – and I got to improve my skin while catching up with a beloved friend! Win-win!
If your goal has a deadline, like running a marathon or opening that investment account, make sure they know about the deadline! Choose a buddy who will remember, too, and ask you, “hey, about opening that investment account… did you do it?” Hopefully, you’ll have done it. If not, hopefully your buddy reminding you will get you in gear to complete the goal!
So what about you? Did you or are you planning on setting any resolutions for the new year, and have you told anyone about those resolutions? PS- you can tell me! If you’re not setting any new year’s resolutions, why not? It’s okay if you’re not – they’re not for everyone!
Anne @ Money Propeller says
Telling your boyfriend about your blog sounds like telling my spouse! I constantly get asked if I’ve written enough for the day, or what I’m doing. “I see you on Facebook, get off of there.” etc. etc.
It’s a blessing and a curse, eh?
Haha yes! That’s awesome, I’m so glad I’m not the only one. Although sometimes he’s like, okay, get off the computer, let’s hang out! So it’s a nice balance most of the time. 🙂
Tonya@Budget and the Beach says
I remember when I wanted to run a half marathon I told everyone I knew, that way I knew that “pressure” would keep me motivated so I didn’t look stupid and quit. lol! Hey it worked! I have overarching goals for the year, that I’m breaking up into monthly goals. I might even have to take that a step further and do weekly goals now.
Breaking down your big goals into smaller goals is a good idea! It’s kind of like writing blog posts when you don’t want to… start small and it will snowball from there… in a good way, hopefully! 😉 Good luck to you this year!
I love your tip about keeping goals actionable – I think that makes them so much more achievable – or even breaking big goals down into tiny actionable steps. A $10,000 emergency savings account seems huge to me, but by breaking it down into tiny chunks, I’m actually just past half way there.
Thanks, Mel! Wow, $5,000 in your emergency fund? That’s awesome!! Yeah, keeping things small, manageable and actionable seriously helps. It doesn’t make it seem so daunting 🙂
Great tips. I definitely think I’m going to focus on monthly goals, or breaking down the bigger goals into monthly goals, because I’m much more likely to stick with it.
These are great tips, Melissa! I agree with you about resolutions – they hardly ever stick! But with the right frame of mind, actionable items, and giving yourself timelines, setting a few basic goals are definitely achievable.
Thank you, Jelica! You’re so right – the right frame of mind is definitely a huge part of sticking to goals! 🙂