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Many people embark on a journey, starting January 1, to change themselves for good. Whether it's exercising, being a more productive worker, or becoming a millionaire, everyone has a goal in mind. The problem is that most people aim so high, they burn out before the year even gets started.
Research from the University of Scranton has found that 36 percent of people give up on their New Year's resolutions within the first month. From there, this number drastically increases. What can you do to make your goals more manageable?
The first step is to pick more realistic goals. You're likely to doubt yourself if your goal is tough and time-consuming. Make your goals easier to swallow by going with a "choose this, not that" mentality, and remember that success requires planning.
Hard to Achieve: Saving Money
We live in a consumeristic society where having nice things is a sign of success. It's difficult to rein in spending when you want to look successful, but as with all resolutions, saving money requires discipline and sacrifice.
Simply stating that you're going to save money doesn't answer many important questions. Saving for the sake of saving isn't developing a plan. If your savings aren't tied to a real goal, you're likely to give up after the first week.
Try This Instead: Set Savings Goals
If you want to save money, find a reasonable goal that inspires you. Statements like "I need to save money so I have an emergency cushion" or "I need to save money so I can buy a house" are concrete meaningful reasons to save money.
After you have a reason to save your cash, you also have to think about how much money you'll need to save. Finally, you'll want to think about how you're going to save throughout the year. If you're buying a house, chances are you're going to be saving $10,000 or more. Saving that much money can be difficult in a year, but it's doable with the proper planning. If you know money will be short during certain months, like December or common vacation months, you'll want to adjust for those times. Plan to save more during less financially demanding parts of the year.
So, the key questions to ask when you want to save money are: Why? How much? And, in what way?
Having resolutions are great, but only if they're meaningful. Set reasonable goals that have more realistic time frames and better chances of success. Always position yourself for victory.