Bailed on Your 2021 New Year's Resolutions? How to Stick to Them in 2022

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You may have struggled to meet your goals in the past. Here's how to avoid a repeat.

Key points

  • It's common practice to set financial goals at the start of a new year.
  • These tips, such as budgeting, will help you stay focused on those objectives without being led astray.

Did you make any New Year's resolutions for 2022? If so, you're in good company. It's common to map out objectives for the year, whether it's boosting your savings, paying off credit cards, or socking funds away to buy a home.

But while you may be excited to check your different goals off of your list, let's face it -- that may not be such an easy thing to do. And if you've made resolutions before only to bail on them, you may be in for a repeat this year. These tips, however, could make it possible to stay on track and meet those goals more easily.

1. Follow a budget

Whether your current New Year's resolution is to build a solid emergency fund, whittle down a credit card balance, or come up with the down payment for a new car, following a budget could help you achieve it. A budget will give you a good sense of what your expenses look like, and it will help you identify ways to spend less and save more.

To set up a budget, look through your bank and credit card statements from the past six to 12 months. Then, using either a notebook, spreadsheet, or budgeting app, list your expenses and see how your total spending compares to your earnings. If you'll need to eke out $200 a month in savings to meet your goals but your budget has you spending all but $50 of your monthly paycheck, you'll know it's time to make changes.

2. Break your goals into individual steps

Setting goals that will take you an entire year to achieve can make those goals seem more difficult. You may be better off breaking those goals down into smaller steps.

Imagine your aim is to add $3,000 to your savings account in 2022. That's a big number, and it's easy to see why you might get discouraged along the way and bail on your plans. A better bet is to set a monthly savings goal of $250. That's a smaller, more attainable number, and a goal that may seem less daunting.

3. When all else fails, pick one goal to focus on

You may want to build savings, pay off a loan, and sock money away for new furniture this year. But that will require a lot of discipline -- and it's a lot of pressure.

If you find early on in the year that you're having trouble meeting your goals, rather than bail on all of them, figure out which is most important and focus on just that single objective. You may, for example, decide that building an emergency fund is the most important item on your list. In that case, you may want to let yourself off the hook with regard to paying off your loan and saving for new furniture, and just work on your emergency fund this year.

Setting New Year's resolutions is easy; sticking to them is the hard part. Follow these three tips to stay on top of your goals and increase your chances of meeting them by the time 2022 comes to an end.

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