Millions of Americans recently made New Year’s resolutions to strive for in 2020. Tackling a new year can often seem like a daunting task, but this annual tradition often helps people plan for the year ahead. I’ve been talking to a lot of friends, family, and work colleagues about their goals, and something stood out to me.
A lot of people think they won’t achieve their New Year’s resolutions.
Again and again, I heard sarcastic jokes like, “This year, I plan to fail at…” or self-defeating sentiments like, “…but I’ll probably completely forget about doing that until the end of December.” Some people I’ve spoken to don’t even have a New Year’s resolution, with their idea being “Why try? I’ll fail at it anyway.” These ideas aren’t just common among people I’ve talked to. Keeping up with New Year’s resolutions seems to be a universal struggle.
In fact, I recently learned that January 17 is “Ditch New Year’s Resolutions Day.” Although it may not be the most well-known holiday, its mere existence is evidence of how often people abandon resolutions in society today. Psychology Today reported that 80 percent of resolutions fail by the second week of February. This gives most New Year’s resolutions just one-and-a-half months to get on track for success.
Why do I find it so important that people achieve their New Year’s resolutions? Why do I care? Mainly because of one simple reason:
Many New Year’s resolutions are about money, be it saving money or making more money.
Harris Poll found that “improving my finances” was the second most common resolution for Americans in 2020 behind “exercise more.” CNBC found that nearly half of Americans want to “save more money,” and a third want to improve their credit score.
I think having financial goals is important. I also think that the new year is a perfect time for people to think ahead and make goals about how they will protect and grow their money.
However, this is a problem if many people are also certain that they will fail at their New Year’s resolutions. I don’t want my family, my friends, and my employees to have difficulty with their money.
So, I decided to see what advice I could give that may help. Since many people have trouble sticking to their goals, the question that should be at the front of everyone’s minds becomes:
“How can I keep my financial New Year’s resolutions?”
Psychologists have shared a few secrets that seem to work. First off, it is often helpful to have a defined, specific goal. Instead of simply thinking, “Protect my savings,” it might be more beneficial to think, “Store X amount of dollars securely by the end of the year.”
Secondly, you should have a strategy. Now that you have an endpoint in mind, you can plot out how you will get there over the course of the year. Break it down—what do you need to do each month? How will you achieve that goal? If the goal is protecting your money, what steps would you undertake to achieve this?
A hypothetical strategy for protecting money could be to store it in the form of precious metals. Precious metals, such as gold, are commonly considered safe-haven assets that could help protect your wealth during times of trouble.
Finally, it is important to remember why the goal is important to you in the first place. Sometimes, the importance of a goal may appear self-evident, such as with protecting money. However, it doesn’t hurt to dig a little deeper into why this is important. What, or even who, are you saving this money for?
By thinking about these things now, you can keep your New Year’s resolutions and have a strong plan for the year ahead.