January 18, 2019. By Olga Okaty:

As a financial planner, January is always an exciting and inspiring time for me as so many of my conversations with clients center around setting financial resolutions for the year ahead to bring them closer to achieving their aspirations and bringing positive change into their lives.  This is the part of my profession that I love the most.  Together our discussions delve deep into their values, dreams and challenges, last year’s hurdles and successes, new priorities and opportunities for change.  All of these factors inform the financial strategy we develop together which we continually refine and update to take stock of progress made, adapt to new circumstances, and provide a fluid, dynamic path to achieving each client’s vision of success.

Of course, this is the fun part, but as the day-to-day juggling of family schedules, work commitments, mounting errands, and what’s-for-dinner panic intervenes, strategy implementation and actually seeing your plans through can get tricky.

Below are 4 plan implementation tips to help your financial resolutions stick and maximize your chances of success this year and well beyond.

    • Start Small: Whether it’s paying down debt, saving for a large purchase, or planning your next big travel adventure, setting manageable goals towards which you can make frequent and ongoing progress is key. Approach your goals realistically, carving them into manageable pieces and setting attainable targets in weekly or monthly intervals.  If expectations are set too high, failing to meet your targets is sure to generate recurring error signals that will leave you feeling discouraged and frustrated.  Frequent progress, on the other hand, can create an immediate sense of accomplishment and establish a positive feedback loop to build upon.  Success begets success and making frequent progress, however small, will keep you driven and will fuel the motivation and momentum that will compound into larger achievements over time.
    • Pay Yourself First: If saving more is your top resolution for 2019, prioritize this goal by setting up recurring automatic transfers to your savings or investment accounts from each and every paycheck. (The same could be done with automating extra recurring payments towards debt to avoid the temptation to only make the minimum required payment.)  Funding your goals first, before any resources have a chance to find their way towards extra discretionary spending, will help you stay the course and consistently meet your weekly or monthly goal targets.
    • Don’t Go It Alone: Staying the course is often hard; it requires sacrifices and tradeoffs, and there are many temptations along the way. Surround yourself with people who will support and encourage you in your efforts. Seek an accountability partner in your financial planner, who is ideally suited to provide ongoing coaching, guidance, and support.  Your planner can help you track progress, keep the impact of your actions in view, and regroup with new ideas and solutions should you hit a roadblock.  Having someone to share in your journey, celebrating the victories and working together through the detours, will inevitably make the path less solitary and more rewarding.
    • Celebrate: Take the time to acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments.  Pop open some bubbly and treat yourself to something nice when you’ve stayed the course for three to six months towards your annual financial resolutions.  Perhaps buy something new for yourself that you’ll enjoy often and which will serve as a constant reminder of your achievement, or perhaps consider investing in an experience that will make you feel refreshed, recharged, and ready to tackle the next three to six months.  Rewarding yourself every now and then will lessen the burden of the sacrifices you’re making and will re-energize you to keep advancing towards your goals.