New Year Money Resolutions should always be included in your New Year Resolutions list.
Only about 50% of people in the UK make any kind of New Year Resolutions and according to a YouGov survey just over a year ago, 35% of people who made resolutions managed to stick to all of their goals and 50% of people managed to keep some of their resolutions. That’s a lot of people who are making at least some positive changes to their lives – even if they do also fail at some of their goals.
The most popular New Year Resolutions are around eating more healthily, eating less and exercising more. These resolutions are an absolute given but do not forget to include your New Year Money Resolutions. One of the top ten resolutions is to live life more economically. The only other top ten resolutions that will make you wealthier are reducing or eliminating altogether your alcohol and nicotine intake.
The way you frame your resolutions could make an important difference. Per Carlbring at Stockholm University tracked the progress of 1,066 people who made New Year’s Resolutions at the end of 2017. He categorised their intentions into two classes. Some were “avoidance goals” – which, as the name suggests, involved quitting something like sweets, alcohol or social media. The others were “approach goals” – which involved adopting a new habit – such as swimming twice a week or practising the guitar in the evening. On average, the participants were about 25% more likely to meet their approach goals than the avoidance goals. “Instead of stopping things, you should start doing things,” he concludes.
Fortunately, Carlbring says we can often turn an avoidance goal into an approach goal to maximise our chances of success. Supposing you want to lose weight. “Instead of saying that I want to stop eating a candy bar every day, I might instead say that I want to start eating carrots each afternoon,” he says. “Because that would increase your blood sugar level and you then wouldn’t have the craving for something else.”
Similarly, if you want to become wealthier you may increase your monthly savings into your ISA by monthly direct debit. Alternatively, you may set a goal to buy a property by a set date for a certain amount of money. These are approach goals which are more likely to be sustained so they will help you to stick to your New Year Money Resolutions.
You’ll still need perseverance, of course – but Carlbring argues that we should be forgiving of the odd failure. “If you face a setback, then you might think that you will never be able to achieve your goal,” Carlbring says. “But you can try to view it as a lesson to be learned.”
If you face a serious blockage, you can always try to look for another milestone that might mark a new beginning. If you’ve started to struggle in February, for example, you might make a new commitment to start again at the beginning of March – a small act of reframing that should give you the boost of the fresh-start effect all over again.
Any journey worth pursuing will include a few bumps along the way – but by understanding the psychology of personal change, you can vastly increase your chances of reaching the goal of achieving your New Year Money Resolutions. You know it makes sense.*
The contents of this blog are for information purposes only and do not constitute individual advice. You should always seek professional advice from a specialist. This blog is based on my own observations and opinions.
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