Setting and sticking to New Year Resolutions

financial Feb 27, 2021

ver set your New Year goals with the best intentions but when Jan 17 comes around you back to your old ways and those resolutions are already long forgotten, if YES then you're not alone.

January can be full of good intentions, but the restrictive nature of “paying off your credit card debt in record time” or “saving more than you have ever been able to save before”, all start to wear thin by February.

Financial resolutions need to be “SMART” goals in order for you to have a better chance of achieving them. SMART stands for – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Based.

In Paul J Meyer’s 2003 book “Attitude is Everything: If You Want to Succeed Above and Beyond” it is broken down as follows:



The goal needs to be clear and specific. Can you answer the following questions

a. What do I want to accomplish?

b. Why is the goal important?

c. Who is involved?

d. Where is it located?

e. Which resources or limits are involved?

Now, not all of these questions are going to be relevant, but I usually find the “why” one the most difficult to define but the most important one to help me to get under the skin of what I am actually trying to achieve.



This will help you to stay on track and to know if you are progressing.  Can you answer the following questions?

a. How much?

b. How many?

c. How will I know when I have accomplished my goal?

if your goal is not realistic, you will give up. A goal should stretch you, but it is important that it is possible. You should ask yourself the following questions.

a. How can I accomplish my goal?

b. How realistic is my goal?

This step is important so that you know that your goal is important to you. It allows you to align the goal with other appropriate goals. Can you answer “yes” to the following questions:

a. Does this seem worthwhile?

b. Is this the right time?

c. Does this match my other efforts/needs?

d. Am I the right person to achieve this goal?

e. Is it my goal or someone else's?

f. Is it applicable to the current socio-economic environment?



Every goal needs a start and end date to keep you focused. Does your goal answer the following questions

a. When?

b. Where will I be in 6 months from now?

c. Where will I be 6 weeks from now?

d. What can I do today?

I will have achieved my savings by 31st December 2021. I will be halfway (or more) to achieving my goals by the end of June 2021. Today I will set up a savings account that is “out of sight and out of mind” and I will set up a direct debit into the account for the day that I get paid.

This is a very similar to a goal that one of my clients set in 2020. She felt very trapped in a high earning job and she wanted a baby. However, her employer offered very limited maternity pay but she felt “something was better than nothing”.

Instead we turned this logic on its head and things worked out for the better. We decided that for three months that she would “extreme save” and this would give her the ability to take a full year off work if you took into account her share of the basic bills. She started to look for an employer that was aligned with her ethics. '

She found a new role is April. Her existing employer was devastated that she was leaving and offered her £10K extra per annum to stay. Having felt underpaid for may years, this ended up actually being the final nail in the coffin – why did they only offer her a pay rise when under duress? It did however have a positive impact on her new job. They offered to match the pay rise and she started in early June. She loved the new job and fell pregnant at the end of the summer.

At the end of the year, she told her new employer that she was pregnant and conversations are ongoing about what they can do to support her maternity wise. Having those savings enabled her to be brave and to take a leap of faith. When we had her annual review on Teams this December, she looked radiant and happy! For me this is a great example of how good financial planning should support you in getting the life that you want (and deserve).


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