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You’ve broken your New Year’s resolutions, now what?

Already broken your financial New Year’s resolutions? Don’t beat yourself up – we’ve all been there. In fact, nearly half of all resolutions fall to the wayside in the first two weeks of the year. By summer, most are a distant memory. 

It’s never too late to reset your goals or come up with new ones. If you’re still inspired to make some changes in 2020, here are a few ideas to get your broken resolutions back on track:

Set specific goals

Peter Drucker, the founder of modern management said, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.” You can’t move forward until you know where you’re going, so be specific about what you want to achieve and how you will achieve it. For example, “I want to save more money” is too vague. But if you say “I want to increase my monthly RRSP contributions to $250 per month” then you have something specific to work towards. 

Create an action plan

Break down those big resolutions into smaller, more manageable chunks so that they are easier to achieve. For example, if we stick with the same goal as above, your action plan might look like this:

  1. Track your spending for a month. 
  2. Come up with a realistic budget.
  3. Work out what you can save per week.
  4. Have that amount deducted automatically from your paycheque and moved into a tax-free savings account.

Accomplishing these milestones will give you a clear sense of progress and keep you motivated.

Take it one step at a time

Sure, we’d all like to double our savings, pare down on our credit card debt and start investing, but, realistically speaking, it’s not going to happen all at once. You’re much more likely to succeed if you concentrate on one specific goal at a time. Once you conquer one goal, you can move onto the next.

Aim high – but be realistic

One of the most common mistakes people make when creating their New Year’s resolutions is setting unrealistic goals. Being ambitious is all well and good, but it’s also important to remain realistic about your expectations. For example, let’s say you want to get your spending under control. Instead of vowing to cut out takeout altogether, try limiting yourself to eating out just one day a week.

Hold yourself accountable

Goals that stay in your head are rarely achieved. Write them down – those notes can remind you daily of what you hope to accomplish. And you can go back at any time and revise a goal if it doesn’t fit in your life. 

Find a buddy

Don’t keep your resolution a secret. Tell friends and family members who will be there to support your resolve in moments of weakness. Better yet, find a buddy who shares your New Year’s resolution and together you can motivate each other.

The bottom line

No matter how hard we work, setbacks are inevitable so don’t be discouraged when they happen. Be patient. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day and the same goes for your life. Just take note of where you went wrong and use that knowledge to reach your goals the next time around.