How many times have you set a resolution at the start of the year only to give up within a matter of weeks? If that sounds familiar, you’re not the only one to struggle. In fact, research suggests just 8% of us see our resolutions through to the end of the year. Most of us give up within a matter of weeks – though sometimes our goals are out the window within days.
If the pandemic has wreaked havoc on your finances, setting resolutions in 2021 – and keeping them – might be more important than ever. Whether you’re eager to pay off debt so you can sleep easy at night or you’ve realised the importance of a solid emergency fund, here’s our guide to setting achievable money resolutions this year.
Set specific money goals
Some of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions are often the most vague. Saving money or paying off debt might sound like sensible goals to set for yourself, but you’re far more likely to achieve success if you’re specific in your intentions.
Here are some specific money resolutions to consider in 2021
- Save £100 a month
- Pay off one credit card
- Build an emergency fund to cover 3 months’ expenses
- Save 10% of my income into a pension each month
- Invest 5% of my income into the stock market
Once you’ve created a specific goal, you can create a plan of action aka a roadmap to success. It can be helpful to create mini milestones that you can tick off along the way. So if for example your goal is to pay off one credit card by the end of the year, you could break this down into monthly payments and celebrate each time you pay off a chunk of your debt.
‘Pay yourself first’
Pay yourself first is a popular phrase in the personal finance world and for good reason. Basically, if your goal is to save money, transfer a chunk of your income into a separate account on payday rather than waiting until the end of the month. Another way of looking at it is to spend what’s left after saving rather than saving what’s left after spending.
Surround yourself with other savers
Take inspiration from those who’ve already achieved your resolutions and surround yourself with people who have similar dreams. Join the #debtfreecommunity on Instagram, follow personal finance experts, and sign up for money saving newsletters. Improving your finances can take months of frugality, positive self-talk and discipline. By getting involved in a community of like-minded people, you can increase the likelihood that you actually enjoy the process. On the day you achieve your goal, do you want to look back fondly on the journey or regret feeling so isolated?
Ask for help
Don’t be too proud to ask for help if you need it. This could be in the form of free debt advice from a charity such as StepChange or help from online communities. By telling your friends and loved ones about your 2021 money resolutions, you may be surprised at the help you’re offered.
Believe in yourself
Whether you believe in the concept of manifestation or not, there’s a lot to be said for having faith in yourself and your ability to achieve the things you set out to do. If you’re constantly telling yourself that you’ll never amount to anything and your confidence is at rock bottom, you’re going to find it harder to drag yourself out of bed each morning and do the work. When you’re positive and optimistic, however, everything changes.
Remember you have a whole year to achieve your goal
It’s not uncommon for people to run full-speed towards their goals the second their New Year’s Eve hangover has worn off, only to get bored or tired just a few days later. You don’t have to reach the top of the mountain in January, so remind yourself that your journey to the finish line is a marathon not a sprint. By taking things slowly, you can avoid burnout, increase your chances of success and have fun along the way.