Usually around this time we all begin the year with a resolution. We hope to lose weight, take an exotic vacation, get more organized, or to save money. Unfortunately, in most cases, the saving money bullet ends up being the most boring on the list. This bore ends up leading us to think that by saving we miss out on everything we want to do. Like take a second vacation. Or instead of being really exciting and moving money into your savings account we go to the amusement park. Twice. Statistically, 62% of Americans make resolutions every year. The list usually includes 10 resolutions for the entire year. What percentage of any of those 10 are achieved? A staggering 8%. That’s less than one goal a year.
So, with all of these statistics stacked against us how can we trump the odds and make our savings goal this year?
- Make them obtainable
If your goals are not obtainable it is likely you will not only fall short but you will defeat yourself mentally making the next attempt that much more difficult. The mental toll that missing a goal from it being unobtainable will make it far less likely that you will gain positive motivation from the defeat. Allow yourself to fail but do it on terms that are feasible within your budget. It is only damaging your morale when you set your goal too high thus leading you to fall short.
- Give them a purpose
When you set your savings goal don’t set it just to save. Save for something. Or better yet, someone. If you do want to shoot to take the family to an exotic global destination that everyone has been craving to see – save for it. Take a picture of the destination you are shooting for and make it your computer wallpaper. Print out the purchase that you are saving for and hang it on the wall. That way every time you put away money for it you are constantly reminded of your end goal. It makes that act of saving just a little bit sweeter. It is an increasingly great feeling when you set out save up for something large that you know is outside of your budget and alas are able to finally grab it. Furthermore, when you are able to make the purchase in tandem with the peace of mind knowing you didn’t overextend yourself. Buyer’s remorse will always take away the joy of that purchase.
- Focus on one at a time
Oftentimes it can be very easy to get carried away with setting to many goals. I know, it seems counterintuitive but it has been proven.“[People who multitask] are not being more productive — they just feel more emotionally satisfied from their work.” Researcher Zhen Wang mentions that by multitasking we allow our brains to feel more emotionally fulfilled. In her study students who multitasked felt great, but in fact performed more poorly than students that did not multitask. Clifford Nass, a researcher at Stanford, went as far as thinking that multitasking would produce outstanding skills such as organizational qualities and filtration in the brain. He was wrong. “We were absolutely shocked. We all lost our bets. It turns out multitasks are terrible at every aspect of multitasking”, Clifford said after his study was concluded.
With a few of these tactics in mind you will be well on your way to conquering your savings resolution and achieving any financial bearing goal you set for yourself. Remember, a goal cannot be achieved without setting a goal to achieve. Focus not on the goal itself but on what that goal will bring you. You can do this. Now go do it.