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The holiday season is a busy time for everyone, and doubly so for moms. With so much happening in the month of December, setting New Year’s resolutions often gets overlooked.
For those who do take the time to set goals, many don’t make it past January 17th. Regardless of busy schedules, moms can and should set goals for themselves.
Whether you’re looking to improve your finances or boost your well-being, you deserve to focus your energy on keeping those resolutions.
Let us show you how with 5 easy ways you can make and keep your New Year’s Resolutions! We’ve also included a FREE printable financial advent calendar to get you going!
1. Plan Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals
One issue that comes up with New Year’s resolutions is tracking long-term goals but not short-term ones.
Let’s say you decided you want to save $2,000 in the New Year. Many people stop after that statement, but going further is actually crucial to accomplishing your goal.
Break down how much you’d need to save per month, even per day, to reach that goal. Then look at your finances and see where you can take that money from. You might decide that your family eats out a bit too much, or that you haven’t been budgeting your groceries in a way that helps you cut down on costs.
You don’t have to shave off ALL fun activities or even the occasional pizza night, but it can help to realistically look at where you’re overspending and make a resolution as a family to only order takeout on special occasions (or when you’re truly just too zapped to cook).
Too many people focus on the long-term resolution, or where they’d like to be by next December. To get to that point, however, you need to set short-term goals for yourself.
Not only will this ensure you’re making regular progress toward your goals, but it will help you develop positive habits. You can’t go wrong with that combination!
2. Track Measurable Resolutions
An essential step to keep your New Year’s resolutions is by making them measurable. Sure, you can say you want to save money or eat better in the New Year.
However, without setting a clear number for yourself, it’s hard to stay accountable. Declaring that you’d like to save $2,000 by August 15th, for example, offers a more clear idea of what you’re up against. It also makes it easier to track your progress.
When it comes to resolutions, you always should track your progress, whether daily, weekly, or monthly.
Find a moment each day to write down how you’ve moved toward your goals regardless of whether or not you’ve hit them during that stretch of time.
Try this 31-day New Year’s resolution challenge for attainable day-to-day financial goals to try (and track!) in January.
Click the image to download this 31 day calendar of New Year’s Financial Resolutions to help kickstart your goals!
3. Find a Support System
Setting and tracking goals is one thing, but sticking to them is something else entirely.
So many of us have difficulty holding ourselves accountable, but then we jump through hoops to make good on promises we make to other people. Why not take advantage of that?
Find a support system. This can be a partner, a group of friends or even an online mom community with similar goals and values.
Share your plans for the new year with your support group and ask them to help you stay accountable. It’s also been shown that sharing intentions increases the likelihood of following through on them!
4. Reward Yourself!
Another incentive to remain on track with your New Year’s resolutions is to set up a rewards system.
Let’s be honest: we perform better when offered positive reinforcement, and you can use that to your advantage this new year.
Choose milestones on the way to your long-term goal and then decide how you’ll reward yourself when you reach them. These milestones can be small treats like getting a babysitter to go get your nails done, or spending a little more on a bottle of wine to enjoy after the kids go to bed.
Celebrating your wins will motivate you to keep going.
Just remember, it’s better if your reward isn’t counterproductive to your goal. For example, your reward for hitting your weekly saving goal shouldn’t be spent on a lavish item for yourself. Instead, spend a small amount or treat yourself to a night of relaxation with your partner.
5. Be Realistic & Kind to Yourself
One of the most important things to keep in mind when setting resolutions — especially for those of us who are busy — is to keep those goals realistic.
There’s no problem with dreaming big, but if your resolutions are too difficult to achieve, you’ll become easily discouraged.
When we see that we aren’t making immediate progress, the temptation to give up can be strong. Setting smaller, easier goals can be a lifesaver, especially if you only have a minimal amount of time to dedicate to them as a busy mama.
Likewise, it’s important to be kind to yourself on your journey through the New Year. Yes, you should hold yourself accountable, but don’t beat yourself up whenever you backtrack!
You might find yourself having to buy your four-year-old yet another pair of shoes, which means that you can’t put that $40 in your savings account, but keep in mind that these things happen.
Even if you have to spend money on necessities that you hadn’t planned for, you still deserve credit for pushing toward your goals! Being too critical can bring that progress to a halt, and that’s the last thing you want.
What New Year’s Financial Resolutions are YOU making? Tell us all about them!
Sarah Creel, PhD, is the editor of Undefining Motherhood, and Director of the Research Communication Certificate in the Graduate School at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Sarah loves to be with her family (including eight nieces and nephews!), friends, boyfriend, and animals (she has two cats and one weird dog. Wait, who is she kidding? They are all weird). At Undefining Motherhood, Sarah brings new perspectives by shedding light on nontraditional ways of being a mother.