By Pamela Yellen and Dean Rotbart
Perhaps this year, finally, you will get your financial house in order. That means roping in spending, slashing debt, maximizing income and choosing investment and savings vehicles that actually deliver what they promise.
Hardest of all, it means sticking to your New Year’s resolutions beyond Valentine’s Day, past Mother’s Day and July 4th, all the way through Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and yes, New Year’s Day 2012.
Remember, past failures are no guarantee of future failures! In fact, before they ever succeeded, research shows that most successful New Year’s goal-setters faltered for five consecutive years or even more.
You are far more likely to be successful if your resolve comes from within, instead of being imposed on you by outside forces.
This could be the year that you surprise everyone – perhaps most of all, yourself – by keeping and maintaining your New Year’s resolutions.
For the roughly 45% of us who determinedly set off on January 1st with a full head of steam, but run out of inspiration before February 14th, a subset of Americans – about one out of every five – do push ahead and do achieve their stated goals.
Whether the resolution is to lose weight, exercise more, quit smoking, drink less or spend less, for a small percentage of the population, New Year’s Day is the very trigger they require to set off on their final journey towards – or away from – a lifelong pattern of behavior that previously seemed unattainable.
7 Secrets to Get Your Financial House in Order – Permanently
- We all have it within us to modify our behavior
- Real, permanent change is usually driven by your own desire, rather than by the pressure others exert on you
- Have a heart-to-heart talk with yourself. Where are you right now… and where do you want to be?
- Enlist the support of one or more allies or a coach to encourage you and help keep you on track
- Consider using websites that give incentives – and disincentives – for sticking to or breaking your commitments (such as a GoalPay.com)
- Don’t wallow in self-blame when you fail – put aside your emotions and plot a logical pathway back
- Don’t set yourself up for failure by insisting on an all-or-nothing change. Learn from the past, realize where you made errors and build on them like stepping-stones