How to Rock Your Financial Goals in 2022

by David@MoneyNing.com · 6 comments


Every year we make the same resolutions only to lose motivation and momentum, and yet we seem to think that each new year will be ‘the year’ we are magically able to follow through. Whether it’s losing weight, exercising more, starting a new hobby, getting rid of clutter, or saving money, most resolutions to change one’s habits end in defeat within a matter of weeks or, if you’re particularly determined, a few months.

Some have wearied of this trend and in frustration decided to stop making resolutions altogether. Although this disillusioned attitude is more realistic, it doesn’t help you accomplish your goals, many of which are very achievable with the right approach and tools.

Are you looking to make some changes in your finances in the New Year but know exactly the set and abandon cycle of New Year resolutions? Making changes in your life is hard and if you don’t make a conscious effort to set yourself up for success, failure is almost certain.

Here are some tips on how to make your New Year’s Resolutions last all year long and become beneficial changes in your life. While we’re focused on personal finance here at MoneyNing.com, these tips can be applied to any of your resolutions.

Be Sure You Care About Accomplishing the Goal

Ask yourself if this is what you want to do or if it’s just what you think you should want to do. I’ve done it myself. Instead of setting out to get what I really wanted, I thought about what I imagined a smart and responsible person would want and said that was my goal for the year. That didn’t work out too well for me.

While being a financially responsible adult means that sometimes we have to do things we’d rather not, there is also absolutely no point in living your life according to somebody else’s vision of what a good life should be.

Ensure Your Resolutions Lead You Toward Your Personal Goals

Likewise, making a resolution just to make a resolution won’t get you anywhere. It has to be something that is deeply personal to have any sticking power. Trying to get out of debt is a common resolution, but if you don’t have any particular reason to get out of debt to motivate you, it might be harder to follow through.

You have to know why you’re making the change and what it will help you accomplish. Instead of getting out of debt, hitting the goal will be much more meaningful (and easier to hit) if you want to get out of credit card debt because the interest you are paying now can instead go toward saving up for that dream car. See how you will instantly be more motivated to pay off that debt?

Make Sure the Goal is Specific

Do you want to save more money or put $2,000 into an emergency fund this year? Do you want to work on your investments or meet with a financial planner to map out a plan for investing for your retirement?

Vague goals sound good, but they don’t leave us with much direction. They also give us too much room to fudge and flake and don’t give us a good idea of how we’ll know when we’ve accomplished the goal.

When you are making your financial goals for the New Year, come up with concrete achievements and specific plans instead of vague wishes to spend less and save more.

Have Both Short and Long-Term Goals

It’s best to set both short-term and long-term goals in order to maintain motivation, especially if you expect it to take several months or years to reach. For instance, if you’re trying to lose weight, your ultimate goal may be to fit into a certain size. This is your long-term goal.

Your short-term goal should be something achievable in a much shorter time frame and be accompanied by a reward, such as a new outfit or a day at the spa (not an indulgence in the habit you’re trying to break).

Know That Forming a Habit Takes Time

Studies show it takes at least 21 days to form a new habit. Some research even suggests that it could even take as long as 66, or about 2 months. When you start something new or quit something old, it takes a little time to re-train your brain.

Don’t feel too bad if you get off the bandwagon a little early; research also shows that when you finally resume, it’s easier for your brain to pick it back up again. View each failure as an exercise in re-training your brain, and keep ongoing.

It’s Not Always Best to Go Cold Turkey

Some people have successfully quit habits such as overspending or smoking by quitting suddenly and harshly, but the majority of us will not respond well. We do the things we do because we like them; abstaining from certain activities that are habits will result in ‘withdrawal’ just as with physical addictions to nicotine or caffeine.

Gradually scaling back on the habit you want to eliminate, or gradually introducing a new habit you want to cultivate will acclimate you to the new ‘temperature’ of your lifestyle (you’ve heard the frog analogy).

Set a Timeline

Again, a vague, open-ended goal like “save more money” leaves you too much wiggle room and makes it far too easy to never do so much as get started. Be realistic about your deadline but don’t give yourself too much slack.

You’ll make it so much easier on yourself if you decide what you want to accomplish, when you want it done, and how you will measure your success. It’s the difference between somebody telling you “Hey, write a book” and “I want you to write a 250-page book on how to collect widgets by June 1st”. Both options are intimidating, sure, but at least the second gives you direction and guidance on what to do and when it needs to be done.

A Goal Must Reasonably Be Achievable By You

By this, I am in no way implying that you should set easy, peasy powder-puff goals for yourself. We all need challenges and it helps us grow as people to constantly be aiming towards something just out of reach.

However, when it comes time to set goals, we need to look at our lives and our situation and ask ourselves, can this really work and at what cost to our well-being and the well-being of those we love?

Are you really willing to put in the work towards this goal? Do you have the motivation? This is related to the first point because it’s extraordinarily difficult to find the motivation and energy to work towards a goal you’ve only set because it’s what you think you need to do or should do instead of what you really want.

There will be times when you need to suck it up and do things that you don’t want to do, but when it comes to setting goals for your financial future, success starts with really wanting it.

Visualize How Your Life Will Improve From This

Knowing how your life will be better once you meet your goal and being able to clearly visualize it can help provide the motivation and energy we were talking about at the beginning. Of course, there are obvious answers like “if I save more money, I will have more money” but let’s go beyond that.

Being able to visualize yourself accomplishing your goals is one of the best ways to keep yourself working towards them. Think about what could change in your life if you paid off that credit card. How could you use that extra money? What would it mean to your stress levels?

It can help to keep visual reminders of your goal to keep yourself motivated. For example, you could collect travel brochures if you’re saving for a vacation or a running “bucket list” of all the great things you’ll do once you’ve retired.

Stay Accountable

Achieving your New Year’s Resolutions won’t be easy. Having the encouragement, objective opinion, feedback, and motivation of people you trust can help a lot along the way. Entrust someone who is not working on the same resolution to keep you accountable and gently prod you when necessary; find someone working on the same goal to commiserate with and share insider tips.

Having someone to share and talk about your goals won’t just help keep you accountable for what you set out to do but it’ll also motivate you to accomplish your goals.

Bottom Line

Working towards your goals is not always easy, but it’s worth it. This year, set specific goals, give yourself a time frame, and think about what you really want to work for and why.

Being serious about forming new habits and getting rid of bad ones requires dedication, consistency, and the ability to motivate and challenge as well as forgive and accept yourself. Being mentally prepared for the long haul and specifically planning for each step along the way will help you break free of the statistics and accomplish all of your New Year’s Resolutions this time around.

What are your financial goals for this coming year? Do you have any tips that have helped you reach your goals?

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  • Beau W. says:

    Great tips David. My goals this year are going to exceed my expectations for sure. Positive thinking beats negativity every time.

  • Allen P says:

    Now I don’t need to just achieve my financial goals this year I can rock them.

    • David@MoneyNing.com says:

      Heh no one “needs” to rock their goals but I hear you. It would be nice to achieve and crush your goals though right?

  • Financial Samurai says:

    Thanks for the tips David! What are some of your goals for 2022?

    I’ll be publishing mine next week. I’m going to focus on taking it easy this year!

    Sam

    • David@MoneyNing.com says:

      Join the club! I’ve been trying to take it easier and easier each year for like the past 10 years lol. The grass is pretty green over here.

      We just came back from a skiing trip and my wife hurt her knee. It’s either the ACL or MCL and it seems pretty bad so my goal this year is for her to have a full recovery!

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