It's the New Year, and you're gearing yourself up for a better year of going to the gym and living an active lifestyle. Or, you've got ambitions to "pay yourself first" and start building up your savings.
Year after year, though, countless New Years hopefuls give up on their resolutions. Why is it so hard to accomplish these kinds of goals? We go into the New Year with big plans and yet have a hard time sticking with them.
Luckily, there are tricks to get the most out of your fitness -- and your finances.
Small daily tasks
I know a business owner who checks his company's accounts every morning as soon as he gets to the office. There are any number of things that can affect his day, but that's one constant. It only takes him five minutes to know the exact financial position of the company.
It's a great habit because it doesn't take much time, mostly because he does it daily, so there aren't big changes piling up un-analyzed. That makes it easier to keep track and get all the little things done without the feeling or time commitment of a huge exertion.
You can do the same with exercise. Create rules for quick bursts of activity (for example, do 10 pushups before you brush your teeth) and incorporate them into your day. This removes the time and sweat commitment of a daily gym excursion while still getting into a fitter lifestyle.
Big weekly projects
If you find it hard to work in small bursts, try another strategy: work in big bursts.
Set aside a dedicated and open space of time to do everything that needs to get done. Maybe this includes your 401(k) enrollment, a review of your debt and making a plan to eliminate it, and checking in on your budget and making any adjustments. Plan to make all the phone calls that need to be made and open any accounts that need to be opened.
The best part is that once you're done, you're free! Until next time at least. Make a commitment to do this once a week or once a month and you'll be a well-oiled money management machine in no time.
The same applies to fitness. Maybe you don't like the idea of going for a walk every day but you'd love to go for a long hike in the mountains on Saturdays. If that works for you, great! Some might say it's not good enough, but in both fitness and finance sticking with the plan that suits you is more important than struggling to make do with a plan that's unsustainable.
Make it fun
You might laugh at this if you're not into financial planning (or fitness, for that matter), but there is always a way to make things more fun.
What would make financial planning more fun for you? Perhaps you could turn budgeting into a game or a contest with your kids, or you might fold a financial review and update into your quiet Saturday morning cup of coffee. Wouldn't it feel great to go into the weekend knowing you've tackled something important already?
The same goes for exercise. If you hate running but you think you should, try finding another way to do it, like playing soccer or basketball, or chasing your kids around the park.
Finding the right way of accomplishing your goals is just as important as the goal itself. So get creative: How can you make managing your money easier and more fun? How can you fold it into your day, or your week?