Financial Resolutions

5 Ways to Set Successful New Year’s Financial Resolutions and Keep Them

Can you believe a new year is upon us already? Besides the Times Square Ball Drop, another popular tradition is setting financial resolutions for the new year. But new year’s resolutions are often easier said than done. Although we’re 10 times more likely to reach our goals when we make resolutions, the fact remains that up to 80 percent of those of us who make new year’s resolutions fail to keep them.

While the odds may be clearly stacked against us, a silver lining is that there are plenty of things we can do to better our chances of new year’s resolution success. Whether you’re looking to save more money towards your child’s education in an RESP or pay down your mortgage, here are five keys to make your new year’s resolutions more likely to succeed.

1. Think Positively
Am I the only one who finds good financial habits are tough to keep, while bad habits are tough to break? But it doesn’t need to be this way. The good news is that we all have it within us to change our behaviour for the better. By thinking positively and overcoming the internal thought process that sometimes works against us, we can change our finances for the better.

2. Get Family and Friends on Your Side
To help improve your chances of success of meeting your financial goals, it helps if you’re not alone. Your family and friends care about you and want you to succeed, so why not use that positivity to your benefit? Your family and friends can provide you with that all-important outside support and help hold you accountable. Even if it’s just your friend text messaging you every month to see if you saved money in your child’s RESP, it can go a long way.

3. Reward Yourself
Be sure to reward yourself along the way to achieving your financial goals. Small rewards like a meal at your favourite restaurant can certainly help, as long as it keeps you motivated to continue reaching your goals. (While you can certainly punish yourself for missing your goals, we much prefer the carrot over the stick approach.)

4. Pick Yourself Up and Dust Yourself Off
Did you fail to reach your financial goal? Instead of wallowing in your own self-pity, pick yourself up and dust yourself off. Everyone fails at time, even the most successful people. Whether it’s Bill Gates or Elon Musk, they’ve seen their fair share on failures. By rebounding quickly from failure, you can get your financial goals back on target.

For example, if you wanted to contribute $2,500 to your child’s RESP last year, but you were only able to contribute $2,000, there’s nothing stopping you from contributing an extra $500 this year to make up for it. By figuring out where the money’s coming from and automating your savings with pre-authorized withdrawals from your bank account, you’re that much more likely to succeed.

5. Stop Embracing an All-or-Nothing Attitude
You know what the easiest way is to set yourself up for failure? By embracing an all-or-nothing attitude. Instead of being fixated on perfection, aim for persistence and patience instead. Learn from past financial mistakes you may have made (like going over budget on your holiday spending) and try your best to avoid them this year on your way to a happier spending year. Your son or daughter will appreciate it when there’s enough money sitting in their RESP when they’re ready to go to university.