Amy Hannold Familytimeandmoney.com
Does the New Year mean resolutions for you? If you are like many people, dieting, exercise, better money management, and more living “in the moment” (slowing down, prioritizing) top your list of changes.
At the University of Washington, they studied people making New Year’s resolutions. They found that “The keys to making a successful resolution are a person’s confidence that he or she can make the behavior change and the commitment to making that change,” says a researcher. The study also indicates that “resolutions are a process, not a one-time effort that offers people a chance to create new habits.” Even if people are successful, they need to follow-up on their behavior over the years.
To be successful with your own resolutions, consider their suggestions:
• Have a strong initial commitment to make a change.• Have coping strategies to deal with problems that will come up. • Keep track of your progress. The more monitoring you do and feedback you get, the better you will do.
Sure-fire ingredients for setting yourself up for resolution failure include:
• Not thinking about making resolutions until the last minute.• Reacting on New Year’s Eve and making your resolutions based on what’s bothering you or is on your mind at that time.• Framing your resolutions as absolutes by saying, “I will never do X again.”
Persistence can pay off. Of the people who successfully achieved their top resolution, only 40 percent of them did so on their first attempt. The rest made multiple tries, with 17 percent finally succeeding after more than six attempts.
As final words of encouragement to resolution makers they offer these suggestions:
“Take credit for success when you achieve a resolution, but it is a mistake to blame yourself if you fail. Instead, look at the barriers that were in your way. See how you can do better the next time and figure out a better plan to succeed. You do get to try again and can make behavior changes throughout the year, not only at New Year’s.”
What does this mean for those of us mindful of our money? According to financial experts quoted by the Associated Press, New Year or not, there is no better time to improve your financial circumstances than today. Evaluate your spending and investing. Think ahead, they suggest, to the day that you will be thankful that you made allocations for the future. Preparing for the future financially may require learning more about money and how to make it work for you. Make it your goal to know more about your investments and insurances (life, home, health—evaluate periodically as your needs change). Seek reliable, reasonable, and recommended financial advice.
The best advice of all is to track your progress-and any detours-as you journey through the New Year. Keep a log of your money savings, track your progress towards goals and document what you have learned. When you can show yourself positive change, you will be inspired. Share your goals and progress with others. Use the buddy system and enlist the encouragement of your family or friends!
While we’re thinking ahead to the future, Valentines Day is approaching! For affordable and thoughtful ideas on making your sweetie feel special, check out these sites: “Mars and Venus” minded can find a “Romantic Planner”, a calendar of romance for every day of the month—and lots of other good ideas: http://www.marsvenus.com/Romance_Planner.php