by Christy Bieber | Dec. 8, 2019
It's a busy time of year, but you won't regret taking the time to set some financial goals right now.
New Year's resolutions are often made on the first day of the year -- but all too frequently are forgotten by the middle of the month. The problem is, the excitement of a new beginning can quickly fade if you don't start forming lasting habits while you're still motivated.
If you hope to make financial resolutions in 2020, you'll maximize your chances of success by making them early and developing a concrete plan of action. That way you can begin building new behaviors when you're still in the New Year's spirit.
It can take time to decide on the right financial goals -- and make a plan to achieve them. So if you want to start working on your money missions on New Year's Day, now is the time to sit down and think about what you hope to accomplish next year.
Start by making a list of all of your potential financial desires, both long-term and short-term. This could include things like buying a house, paying off your credit cards, retiring early, saving up a vacation fund, shoring up your emergency fund, buying your next car in cash, or whatever else you dream of doing.
Then, decide which long-term and short-term goals are most important to you and narrow down your list. If you try to do too much, you're likely to be overwhelmed and end up doing nothing at all. Once you've got an idea of the goals that matter most, use these as the basis for your 2020 New Year's resolutions.
But you don't want to just make a wish list -- you need to get specific. This means taking the time to figure out exactly how much money you'll need to accomplish each goal, what your timeline is, and how much you need to save each week or month to hit your target.
All of this takes time to figure out, so don't wait until Jan. 1 to go through the process -- sit down today and get started.
Once you have a clear plan, it's time to translate this into a change in your habits. You can only be sure of success if you adjust your behavior to accomplish your resolutions.
If you know you need to save $800 a month for one of your goals, for example, you'll want to look at your budget and figure out what you're going to do to save $28 per day or $200 per week. This could mean cutting out a restaurant dinner one day or driving for a ridesharing service for a few hours the next.
Then, start your new habit on the first of the year and make a commitment to stick with it, no matter what, until the end of January. It typically takes around 30 days for a behavior to become a habit. So by starting when you're the most motivated on New Year's Day and making a one-month commitment, you'll be far more likely to hit those financial targets.
Don't wait until Jan. 1 to decide what you want to do to have a better financial 2020. Set your goals now, establish a path to success, and be ready to put it into place come the first of the year. When you're able to stick with your plan the whole year through, you'll be glad you made that extra effort.
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