New Year’s resolutions are very easy to make. The difficult part is keeping them.
The New Year’s resolutions that you may have made will have to do with your personal life, your professional life, or a combination of both. As you try to keep your resolutions, remember that you must maintain a balance between the two.
With that being said, here are 7 money tips that will make a tremendous difference in your financial position for 2017:
Pay yourself first, before you pay anyone else
This personal finance tip simply means, setting aside a portion of every paycheck, and transferring it to your personal savings before you pay any bills or spend money on the pleasures of life. Develop a new habit for 2017, by depositing a consistent percent of your pay into a savings account. Although you may not realize it, this will begin your journey towards financial independence, and it will be a journey you will enjoy.
Plan your financial course
Sit down with a 2017 calendar and mark each month with all the major expenses you can anticipate for the new year. Examples are, rent, mortgage, car payments, insurance premiums, tuition, and vacations. Think of it as your map for getting through 2017, with the expenses as your major landmarks. Making a physical document to visualize your financial path is a great way to start when you plan a solid budget for the year.
Become aware of time
Start making better use of your time. The first step is to be aware of how you are using it now. Use a digital calendar to chart out your ideal week for the coming year, accounting for every minute, including the time used to sleep, eat, work and commute. Now spend a week tracking how you actually use your time in a notebook, and compare it to your digital calendar. Another step you can take, although not necessarily required, is to look at the differences, analyze them, and determine how you could have done things differently.
Take time out to exercise
To be financially secure, you must be able to maintain a balance between your personal and professional life. This is also a part of time management. Planning for three to four exercise sessions every week will help make you healthier, feel more alert and sleep better. You may find the time you invest in exercise every week will add both extra years and quality to your life. In addition, maintaining this balance, and taking time to exercise will help you to be more productive.
Never stop learning
This also has to do with balance. Learn new things, both personally and professionally. Tell yourself that you’re going to learn one new activity this year. On a personal note, consider learning a foreign language, picking up a new sport, playing a musical instrument, or taking up golf. Professionally, consider improving an activity such as affiliate marketing, web design, e-commerce, public speaking or bookkeeping. Learning something new will keep your mind sharp, add variety to your life, and expand your social network. On a professional level, it will also increase your diversification and expand your business interests.
Give yourself a reward
Adopting new habits and learning new things is not easy. However, if you reward yourself regularly, it will be much easier. This can be done for both your personal and professional life.
One famous study on motivation tasked participants with working out difficult puzzles. The first group was given chocolate chip cookies as a reward and the second was given radishes. To no surprise, the first group was able to do a better job solving puzzles, and for a longer period of time. The reason is, the motivation is there.
Take a long look at what’s going on
Most New Year’s resolutions fail because we have developed habits and are too impatient to change them. Allow yourself to pause, forgive yourself if you fail, and resume your effort when you feel stronger. As Mark Twain said, “Habit is habit, and not to be flung out of the window … but coaxed downstairs one step at a time.”