‘New year, new me,’ goes the common saying. The start of a new year is often seen as a time to reinvent yourself and make plans towards goals. With 2020 causing so many setbacks and challenges, you may be thinking about setting a new year’s resolution to start 2021 on track. Keith Relf, Founder and Managing Partner of Pembroke Financial Services, offers some tips for sticking to your new year resolution.
While setting a new year resolution is common, less than one in ten ends up sticking to them. So, whether you want to exercise more, learn a new skill or make lifestyle changes, setting out a plan can improve your chances of success. If you want to make changes in the new year, here are seven tips to help you achieve your goal.
1. Focus on one thing
“When you’re feeling motivated and want to make changes to your life, it can be tempting to make sweeping changes in one go. But good habits can be hard to form. Deciding to hit the gym three times a week, increase your savings and learn a new language on the same day can set you up for failure,” Keith said.
“Rather than transforming your whole life, pick an area you want to focus on and work towards this goal. You can always add other aspirations once positive habits have been formed with your first resolution.”
2. Be realistic, but make it a challenge
Setting a target is the first challenge of sticking to a new year’s resolution. Make it too easy and you can lose focus, but make it too difficult to achieve and you can lose motivation. You need to be able to realistically reach your goal in the space of 12 months but also ensure that the resolution will have a positive change in your life, encouraging you to keep at it.
Make sure your goal is measurable too. Rather than a vague idea like ‘I want to save more’, set a plan to save a certain amount each month.
3. Break your overall goal into smaller chunks
Keith explained: “A new year’s resolution can be daunting when you look at it as a whole. Breaking down a wider goal into smaller segments can help you remain positive and focused throughout 2021. For instance, if you’re hoping to lose weight in the coming year, set monthly targets as well as an end-of-year goal.
“It’s a process that can make even larger goals seem more manageable and reduce the chances of you giving up because the final target seems out of reach. Remember to make sure these smaller goals are realistic too.”
4. Chart your progress and celebrate your successes
Keep track of your progress towards your goals too. Whether you choose a traditional pen and paper or an app, having your progress noted down can help you get through those times when you’re finding it a challenge. Looking at the hard work and progress you’ve already made can be enough to push you to keep going.
Remember to celebrate when you make progress too. If you’re working up towards running a marathon in 2021, completing that first 5k if you don’t usually run is a milestone. Planning treats for yourself when you reach certain points can help keep you on track.
5. Enlist the help of family and friends
A support system can make all the difference when we’re striving towards goals. Letting family and friends know your plans means they can help you towards your target.
If they’re also working towards the same or similar goal, having a buddy to do it with can make it far more fun and add some friendly competition into the mix. But even if this isn’t the case, loved ones can be valuable support when you feel like giving up. Sometimes, someone giving you a bit of encouragement or even tough love can be enough to boost your motivation, so you keep going.
6. Learn from the past
Keith added: “Have you made new year’s resolutions before? You probably have at some point. By taking some time to review why they were successful and unsuccessful, you can find a way of working that’s right for you. There’s no ‘right’ way to work towards a goal, but by understanding why you’ve given up or didn’t meet expectations in the past, you can set out a plan that matches your mindset.”
7. Don’t give up when you slip up
“Finally, making long-term changes is hard and good habits take time to stick. Even the most dedicated can experience a setback. Don’t let a small slip up knock you completely off track. It can be frustrating, but look at why you’ve missed a target and learn from it. Finding a way to keep going when things don’t go to plan is often the difference between success and failure,” Keith said.
If you’re setting financial goals this year, please get in touch. Whether you want to save more, start investing or plan your retirement, we can help you incorporate these into your financial plan to set a path for success.