How to Motivate Yourself to Better Finances in the New Year

by Miranda Marquit · 4 comments

It’s one thing to set financial goals for the coming year, and quite another to maintain the motivation you need to see them through.

If you know you’ll need a little extra motivation to improve your finances, here are some strategies to help you maintain your positive attitude.

Pick Something that Matters

Figure out a way to make your goals matter to you. Chances are that saying “I want to save more” isn’t going to be very motivating — because you haven’t connected your goal to something that matters to you. Instead, figure out what is important to you, and what you hope to accomplish with the money.

If you want to save more so you have financial security and peace of mind in an emergency, think of that to help you stay motivated. If you plan to invest more so you can travel in retirement, you have something to reach toward. Think about how your financial goals can enhance your life, and then focus on a plan to make your goals a reality.

Measure Your Progress

We all like to feel as though we’re moving forward and accomplishing things. So, in order to stay motivated, set goals you can measure. Whether it’s working up to the point (by the end of the year) that you can set aside another $200 a month for your retirement, or whether you want an emergency fund with $10,000, or even if you just want to save up $2,000 to buy a nice, new computer, having a measurable goal can keep you going.

Track your progress, celebrate your victories, and you’ll feel more motivated to keep moving forward.

To reach success, set goals you can measure

Hold Yourself Accountable

Write down your financial goals, and then take yourself to task each week, reviewing what you’ve done to reach them. This self-check is one way to hold yourself accountable.

Sometimes, though, what you really need to stay motivated is public accountability. Ask a good friend or relative to question you regularly about how you’re progressing. Or, join an online community where you can post your goals and be held accountable for your progress. You can dig up even more motivation by finding a friend to join you in your goals, then comparing your progress with each other like it’s a contest.

It’s one thing to quit on yourself in private; it’s another thing altogether to quit in public — especially in front of people you respect.

The important thing is to make progress. You can always start over again if you need to. Identify the most important things in your life, and then make goals that will help you achieve them.

How do you stay motivated with your financial goals?

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Phil January 1, 2014 at 4:40 am

Another great article by MoneyNing. But what is missing is “create a budget”.

I highly encourage you to create a budget in Google Docs (now called Google Drive). Use the green spreadsheet tool.

Here is our budget (numbers have been changed).

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AkSBSG8JJ06zdGwwZlVPNXlMVVRmNDBKZ1lBVllwS2c&usp=sharing

Note the blue and yellow cells. Double click on them to see our formulas. Change some of the expenses yourself, and you will see the blue cells and yellow cell change. Make sure yellow box doesn’t go negative ;-)

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David Ning January 1, 2014 at 10:03 am

Thanks for sharing Phil. I too use a spreadsheet for my budget, and I find that it helps me figure out where my money is going (and thus be able to eliminate ones that don’t make sense for my life).

On a side note, I don’t know if the $100 childcare was one of those numbers you changed because I would be SOOOOO happy if I can pay the same for my children!

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Leslie Tayne January 2, 2014 at 9:51 am

This post has great ideas to help people stay committed to meeting their financial goals in the new year. Goal setting is an important exercise to achieving the results you want. It increases motivation to save money and holds the individual accountable as well.

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Alex January 6, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Inspiring ideas. I’ve come to contemplate some of my goals for the near future, and for the longer stretch. I’d really love to re-visit a few locations in Europe with my best friend in the next 3 years. That’s after all the practical responsibilities are dealt with (the boring stuff, but unfortunately very real!).
If you’re highly unorganised like me then it has to be a step by step venture. I have to ask myself; how can I get to a point whereby I can spend over £1,000 on travelling? The answer is to find a way to earn an extra £50 a month minimum for 20 months! (50 x 20=1000).

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