New Year’s Resolutions

They’re so easily made (particularly when it’s the champagne that’s doing the talking late on new year’s eve) so quickly broken (especially when you drank so much champagne you spent the first hour or two of 2012 hailing at the great porcelain alter). New year’s resolutions are probably best made sober and with a bit of thought if they are things you actually wish to achieve in the new year, rather than something that becomes a resolution again in 12 months time.

Quite often these self-promises relate to weight loss, fitness gain or telling that prick of a boss where he can shove his unpaid overtime. And a lot of new year’s resolutions are about money. Save up for a home deposit, pay off the car loan, get credit card spending under control, sort out that pile of paperwork that represents 10 years worth of superannuation – your new year’s resolutions may read something like these.

It’s all about goal setting, and like any goal you set for yourself, the more realistic it is, the greater the chance it will become reality. After all, a goal to lose 30kg before June is about as achievable as saving half your income in the same time frame. Aim for something closer to losing a kilo a month, or saving $500 every four weeks, and you will have a greater chance of getting there. The weight is more likely to stay off and the bank balance is more likely to be rising.

Then you have to work out how to actually do it. For the weight loss it can be a matter of replacing the chocolate eaten on the lounge in front of the laptop with eating a piece of fruit instead. Make a commitment to walk to the local shops for that loaf of bread or milk that’s run out once or twice a week rather than taking the car and you get the increase in exercise to help with the weight loss goal as well. For saving more, look to replace the chocolate with a piece of fruit and cut down on your fuel bill by walking a bit more. Hey, hang on, I’m messing with you, right? Funny thing is that lots of people who aim to shed a kilo or two have healthier bank balances as a side effect, and people who start saving money end up losing weight as well. Two birds, one stone.

The last thing to do before you lose your enthusiasm is to write down your goal to remind yourself of it and/or share it with someone who will encourage you to get there.

Everyone knows that so many diets or exercise regimes fail because they were too difficult to sustain over the long term. Many goals to save money can fail for the same reason. Make your new year’s resolutions realistic from the outset and you will get to where you want to be, albeit a little later than you might like.

Happy new year.

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