It is human nature to want to improve ourselves and January 1st seems like the perfect time to begin this journey. A fresh start, a new year, a point of beginning work toward new goals and aspiring for vast achievements with feelings of hope and optimism.
Begin with a goal in mind. Goals have to be reasonable as well as a challenging. For example, saying that your goal is to become a millionaire in the next year is not reasonable for most people. But saying that you want to save at least $1,000 dollars in the next year for a vacation might be a more reasonable goal.
Then, make a list of steps you can take to achieve that goal. Using the example above, perhaps you stop eating out once per week, or don't order that special coffee in the morning on the way to work, and put that savings toward your vacation fund. If your goal is to lose weight, perhaps you list that you walk at least three times per week, maybe you stop drinking soda, or drink more water.
Begin to build systems around the success of your goal. Perhaps you become more aware of your spending habits and start making more financially sound decisions concerning your bills, your spending habits, your investments. Maybe you take a financial planning class, or meet with friends who specialize in finance to chat. Maybe, if your goal is losing weight, you join a gym, meet a nutritionist, or educate yourself on healthy meal preparation.
Remember to forgive yourself. The biggest reason that resolutions fail is that most people cannot sustain them over time, so the goal must be sustainable and you must allow room for error. This means if you do spend $100 of your vacation fund on a new pair of shoes in February, you cannot give up, you have to get back on track and keep saving. Or, if you drink soda on January 2nd all is not lost, you just get back on track and continue towards your goal.
Goals are a series of small steps taken to reach a larger destination. Remember, the more small steps taken toward something the closer you get.