2020 was a challenging year in many ways, but the bright side is that many people have developed strong, positive money habits that make a favorable impact on their financial future. You’re getting it right! You’ve made a goal to get out of debt and you’ve taken the steps to make it happen. That’s a game-changer. It takes tenacity, commitment and a positive “I Can Do It” attitude to make strides in developing new habits.
Now that we're a couple of months into the new year, it can be helpful to keep that momentum going. You’re on the right track, and we want to give you the right incentive to stay the course with — and improve upon — what is working for you.
Our partners at GreenPath Financial Wellness have a few things to keep in mind in order to inspire and renew your commitment to financial health, including these tips:
- Write down your specific goals. You’ve made progress but for most people, there might still be more to do. Refresh those goals by:
- Laying out how much debt you have to pay off. Perhaps your financial situation has changed as you have begun paying off debt and making solid financial decisions. Take a good look at where you stand.
- Revisiting your monthly spending plan or budget. Perhaps you’ve paid off one credit card so you can devote more money to another. Take a fresh look at how much money you have to work with, what you need to set aside for other bills and living expenses, and how much you can devote to your goal from each paycheck.
- Asking yourself: How will I accomplish my goals? How much will I devote to achieving those results and how often? How will I set money aside?
- Giving yourself deadlines and setting mini-goals along the way. It’s important to break your goal into smaller milestones. This makes it easier to see your progress. It is also much less intimidating to reach for smaller, attainable goals. Those smaller changes over time are often easier to achieve than trying to make a massive change all at once. But in the end, you’ve accomplished the major goal by hitting minor milestones.
- Be Positive and Realistic. Making sure your goals are realistic increases your chances for success. Goals can challenge you and help you grow into a new future, however choosing a goal that is attainable is an important part of success. Ask yourself: “Is it realistic to spend $200 on my goal each month? Is it possible to pay it off even faster by spending $250 a month? Or does my budget only allow for $100?” Planning your budget each month can show you how much money you can devote to achieving your financial resolution.
- Keep Track of Your Progress. Researchers have noted that making a goal measurable will help it stick. Keeping track of your progress, and watching your pay off balance shrink, can help you stay focused and motivated. As you “check off” milestones and “to-do’s,” you will see your healthier financial future getting closer and closer, and be even more inspired.
- Celebrate Milestones. Achieving a financial goal is cause for celebration. Take time to observe your successes along the way. Being your own cheerleader is actually a good way to reinforce your new habits, which in turn makes it easier to stay on track if you hit a bump in the road at some point.
Finally, it can be helpful to remind yourself that you can do this! Eliminating debt, learning new spending habits, and building savings are choices that can change your life. They can affect your overall well-being by reducing stress levels.
This is a great time to recommit to your goals and your financial health. Having a plan, using your resources, and keeping information at hand will help you succeed. And you’ve taken that important first step.
For making debt management part of your new habits, see Your 2021 Debt Repayment Strategy.