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New Year, Old Debt: How to Set Goals You Can Actually Meet This Year
Fact: 60% of the time, the holidays hurt your checkbook every time.
Are you starting to feel the sting of last year’s debts? Like new gym memberships, New Year’s resolutions may start strong, but they often end up stuffed behind your sock drawer.
The holidays are a time when budgets, moderation and diet plans tend to go out the window, and the months that follow are when people try to erase all the damage they accrued. Did you make any resolutions this year? If so — and even if not — here are a few stats you may want to keep in mind.
According to Statistic Brain, the percent of people who…
- Always make New Year’s resolutions: 45%
- Actually achieve their New Year’s resolutions: 8%
Want to know how long these resolutions typically “stick”?
- One week: 75%
- Two weeks: 71%
- One month: 64%
- Six months: 46%
The moral of this little exercise? A lot of people make resolutions, but most don’t see them through. The same applies with debt. Paying off debt is never easy. If it were, over a third of us wouldn’t be in it. That’s why we’ve decided to dedicate an entire blog post to helping you meet your New Year’s goals. After all, there’s no point in making a resolution if you can’t muster the gumption to see it through, right?
4 Simple Tips to Help Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick
1. Make Your Goals Reachable
One of the main reasons people fail to meet their resolutions is because their goals are too far-fetched. Aiming to become debt-free in a year may be a stretch, but setting a realistic amount you wish to have paid off may make it easier. Remember to reach for something you can actually achieve—not something you simply want. Ideas like saving an extra $100 a month are a good place to start, as they’ll help ease you into the idea of saving. Try setting both long- and short-term goals. The key word here is “progress.” There’s nothing wrong with starting small because, after all, small steps are better than no steps at all.
2. Budget (More) Wisely
Do you actively keep a budget? Be Honest! If you said no, you’re in the majority. A recent Gallup poll found nearly two-thirds of Americans don’t properly budget. Want to know the biggest difference between someone who’s on time with their payments and someone who’s behind? Those who are on time budget. Simple as that. It’s not rocket science, but it does require a careful, continuous amount of detail. If you’re not ready to budget for every single expense (don’t worry—few of us are), then try budgeting for a few items. Make a list of specific spends and work to maintain that budget. You’ll be surprised how easy it’ll be for you to save after a few weeks of practice. And if you need a little “oomph” to help you get started on budgeting …
3. Drink Something Sweet
Wait, what? That’s right. Studies show drinks that have a high sugar content can help increase your motivation, meaning they can help you stay on track with your goals. The reasons why aren’t exactly clear, but the thought that exerting willpower, i.e. saying no to a fatty snack or deciding not to make that impulsive purchase, drains your body of glucose, which is a simple sugar needed to help your brain function. In fact, new studies show you don’t even have to eat (or drink) sugary snacks to enjoy the welcome benefits; swishing is simply enough.
4. Enroll in a Debt Management Program
Maybe you’re already budgeting. Maybe you’re already making your monthly payments. And maybe you’re still finding a way to save a little every month. If so, congratulations. But maybe it’s still not enough.
If so, a debt management program may be able to help you see the light. When you enroll in our program, we’ll work with your creditors to help devise a solution that works. We’ll work to lower your interest rates and consolidate your various unsecured debts into a single monthly bill. And here’s the best part: under our program most of our members are able to totally pay off their debts within 3 to 5 years.
Don’t let last year’s mistakes become this year’s problems. Start implementing these tips today to help get a grip on your debt.