Part of the reason that so many New Year’s Resolutions fail – whether they’re diet, career, or money-related – is because we often have an “all-or-nothing” mentality. Never eat sugar again, or else! The key is praising yourself for small victories and yes, allowing yourself to “cheat” once in awhile. If you want to stick to your resolutions, here are my secrets.
6 Secrets to Keeping Your New Year’s Resolutions:
1. Be gentle on yourself.
One of my financial resolutions is to cut back on those delicious Starbucks’ lattes. At roughly $5 for the smallest size, they are a splurge in my book. But it’s okay to allow myself one every once in awhile. If I can abstain from Starbucks’ for two weeks and I happen to be out where there is one, then I allow myself the occasional treat. Set a goal, defining what “every once in a while” means to you. Reward yourself with a little splurge for sticking to your resolution the rest of the time.
2. Cutting back – most of the way.
Let’s say you enjoy going out to lunch but are really trying to save money. Even a fast food-style restaurant can cost you considerably more than eating at home. But depriving yourself can sap your spirit. Look online for coupons and in circulars and allow yourself the occasional meal out with a coupon or discount only. Ask for water (not bottled), so you don’t purchase a drink. Set limits for “breaking” a resolution.
3. Visual reminders.
Bargain Babe uses a simple chart in the middle of her living room as a constant reminder of her pledge to stick to a 10-minute exercise routine. She checked a box each day she exercised. See your progress can boost your dedication to keeping a routine going. What would happen if you had a frequent visual reminder of your resolution?
4. Be realistic.
A few months ago, a woman at Trader Joe’s had her arms so filled with items that she had to ask me to reach for a can to add to the top of her pile. I asked if she would like me to get her a cart, but she said by going without a cart she tended to spend less. And get sore arms. This wouldn’t work for me. If your resolution is to spend less money, bring a list and stick to it. Wherever you shop. Ask yourself if you truly need what you’re buying (especially at a bulk store like Costco). Or bring only cash to the store.
5. Skip the convenience.
To save money, skip the already cut-up fruit and prepared salads and chop your own produce and put together your own salads. It’s great they are there for when you’re truly in a crunch – and we’ve all been there! – but save these convenience items for when you’re down to the wire. Planning ahead gives you room to succeed.
6. Stay away from temptation.
I don’t know about you, but after all that holiday shopping, I have zero desire to set foot in a mall. Avoid temptation by steering clear of stores like Target or WalMart where you go in for one item and leave with a full shopping cart $100 later. I know, I know, I love those stores, too, but you know I’m right. And if your resolution is to lose weight, don’t even go near that cupcake shop!