Resolutions are easy to make but hard to maintain.
If you are prioritising your financial future this year, here’s how to stay the course.
Have you made any new year’s resolutions for 2023? If so, your resolve is set to be severely tested today.
That’s because the second Friday of January is known as Quitters’ Day.
For those unfamiliar with what it’s all about, whether your aim is to kick the cigs, go meat free, or get your finances in shape, today is the day you’re most likely to throw in the towel.
Research conducted in 2020 by fitness app, Strava, found that, despite our best intentions, 40 per cent of new year’s resolutions have failed by Quitters’ Day.
You might assume that lack of willpower is to blame. But this is rarely the case. More commonly, we cave because our goals are either overly ambitious or too vague.
How easy is it to keep resolutions?
New habits certainly aren’t formed overnight, and some can be harder to embed than others.
A 2009 study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology found that it takes somewhere between 18 and 254 days to form a new habit and 66 days for it to become second nature.
Being patient and setting clear goals are crucial when mapping out your financial future. It’s what will enable you buy your first home, pay for your dream wedding, or live your ideal retirement.
But this is easier said than done. To offer a helping hand, here are five tips to help keep your financial new year’s resolutions on track.
When saving for any financial goal, often the hardest part is getting started. But the earlier you get going the better.
Every year that you delay can cost thousands of pounds down the line.
Research from Prudential, the life and pensions provider, conducted a few years ago, estimated that a 25-year-old and wishing to retire at age 68 would need to save £262 each month to hit a target retirement income of £27,000.
However, delay saving until age 35, and the monthly figure rockets to £437. Postpone by a further 10 years, and the figure rises to £794 per month.
Be realistic and clear
One of the main reasons why new year’s resolutions fail is because they’re unrealistic or unclear. You’re more likely to hit goals that are specific and achievable.
For example, if you’re aiming to clear any outstanding debt, be honest about how much you can afford to pay back each month and use this to set a reasonable timeframe.
The same goes for saving. Starting with an affordable amount is key to developing the habit. And the more you do it the stronger your habits will become.
it takes between 18 and 254 days to form a new habit and 66 days for it to become second nature
Set mini goals
When saving for an event many years into the future, such as retirement, it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture.
It can help to break things down into mini goals. Smaller goals seem less daunting than larger ones, making it less likely that you’ll abandon them.
For example, right now, given the impact the cost of living might be having on your finances, your goal could be to simply maintain your current pension contributions.
You can review whether this will be enough to give you the retirement you want once your situation improves.
Don’t panic if you slip up
After giving up a new year’s resolution, it can be tempting to is resign yourself to failure and wait until next year to try again.
But clearly, setting targets to better yourself isn’t restricted to 1 January, and learning as you progress towards your goal is very much part of the process.
As the saying goes, ‘old habits die hard’ and instilling new ones may be uncomfortable at first.
Whether you’ve dodged the gym for a couple of weeks or failed to save any money during the month, appreciate that this goes with the territory, and try to get back on track as soon as you can.
Frequently assessing where you are in relation to your goal can foster the required motivation to keep things going.
For instance, if your aim is to quit smoking, using an app which shows the number of days you’ve managed to abstain, plus the amount of money you’ve saved given how ludicrously expensive cigarettes are these days, can make a real difference.
The same applies when saving for your financial goals. Once you start seeing your savings pot grow, and you move closer to whatever your target is, you’ll be more incentivised to stay the course.
How can Unbiased help?
If you’re worried about reaching your new year’s financial goals and would like some assistance, you’re in the right place.
We can connect you to a financial expert who will take the time to understand what’s important to you, as well as what you want to achieve in life, and put together a plan tailored to your specific circumstances.
Click below to match with a regulated financial adviser and secure your financial future today.