It’s that time of year again. I feel like we just wrapped up making our 2016 resolutions, and here we are looking to make resolutions for 2017!

Time flies when you’re having fun!

I’ve read some posts recently on how you shouldn’t really make a New Year’s Resolution. A couple of reasons given are that they can be very hard to maintain and that they are too broad to be worth it.

I say that anything worth doing will be difficult, and the issue of them being too broad is easily fixed.

Why You Should Set a Resolution

A resolution is defined as “a firm decision to do or not do something.” A New Year’s Resolution is basically just a fancy term for setting a goal (or goals) that you want to focus on in the New Year.

I have a few goals for AtypicalFinance next year. However, I wouldn’t keep growing my blog if I didn’t set goals. It gives me something to measure and keeps me focused.

And that’s exactly why you should set a resolution or goal for yourself as well.

Simply put, if you don’t set a resolution, you won’t reach your goal. A goal not set is a goal not met.

Setting a goal will give you something to focus on, just like with me and my blog. It will let you keep your eyes on the prize and keep you moving forward.

Setting a resolution is a good idea, but they can be very tricky to stick to. In order to make it easier to attain, some changes need to be made to the normally broad goals so common this time of year. But how exactly do you do that?

Here are four tips.

Be Specific

Are these resolutions familiar to you? “This year, I’m going to lose weight.” “I want to travel more this year.” “This year, I’m going to make more money.”

Don’t make one of those broad New Year’s Resolutions that can mean 100 different things. A good rule of thumb is the more specific the resolution, the more likely you’ll be able to stick with it and attain it.

Take a resolution of making more money as an example. It isn’t very specific so you won’t know when you actually hit the goal. You could get a $1,000 raise, and while technically you will be making more money, you won’t feel like you’ve hit your goal. It may not be much of a difference than what you making before.

Instead, set a more specific resolution such as getting a promotion, or bringing in a steady $500 a month from a side hustle. This will allow you to accurately measure it.

new-years-resolution-end-of-2016-pinterest

Set Milestones

It’s not enough to set a big specific goal and just hope for the best. Set some milestones for yourself so you can measure your progress. This also gives you little steps that you can use to reach your goal.

Think about this. Is it easier to get to the roof of a building using a rope or stairs?

If you said stairs, you’d be right on the money. If you said rope, then I hope to see you in the next summer olympics! 😉

Usually, to keep stairs compact, they will have a set number of stairs (say, seven) and then come to a landing where the stairs will make a 180 degree turn and continue up. Your milestones will be your psychological landings. Your goal is the roof.

You set the milestone, and then you climb the stairs until you reach it. Then, you keep going until you reach the next milestone. After a bit, you’re next milestone will be the complete goal itself!

What this does is tell your brain that you’ve already accomplished something, because you have! Try it! 🙂

Set a Big Reward for Reaching Your Goal, and a Small Reward for Each Milestone

Think, for a moment, about what jobs you’ve held that you’ve really enjoyed. Most of the time, a job is looked at fondly not only because you are fulfilled in what you do, but because you are recognized and/or rewarded frequently.

Apply this same logic to your New Year’s Resolution. When you complete the goal, the overarching, year-long goal, don’t be afraid to reward yourself. You deserve it!

At the same time, after you’ve set your milestones, give yourself a small reward when you’ve reached each one. I guarantee that it will keep you going to the next milestone, and the next. Sooner or later you will reach the finish line.

A reward is a great way to recognize how far you’ve come. Speaking of which…

Look at How Far You’ve Come

This is something that I am constantly in need of doing. For some reason, I struggle with keeping myself motivated. I have to consistently re-motivate myself.

For that, I remind myself how far I’ve come.

I mentioned that stairs have landings in the point about setting milestones and that each milestone was a psychological landing. Your milestones are a chance to reward yourself and regroup. They’re a time to encourage yourself to keep going, to briefly take a look at how far you’ve come.

For example if you’ve been trying to get out of debt in 2016, take a look at your starting balance. Even if you haven’t hit your goal and only were able to pay off half of what you wanted to, you still have come a long way. Paying off half your debt is amazing!

When you get to your landing or milestone, take a look at the ground level and see how far you’ve come. I bet you’ve made more progress than you think.

Being able to look at how far you’ve come also requires you to track your progress and write down your resolution. Writing it down will help you to always look forward to it and keep your sights on where you want to go.

Set a Resolution

Setting a goal or a resolution is one of the best ways to get where you want to go. If you’ve really been wanting to better yourself financially, or in any other area of your life, then why not make it official?

Write it down, track your progress, and move forward. Using the four steps above will not only help you to set better goals, but it will help you keep your resolutions as well.

Enjoy your New Year holiday! I’m looking forward to hearing how you are killing 2017.

Do you have any resolutions or goals for 2017? What’ll it be?

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