Now that we are 5 days into 2017, there is no better time than right now to ask yourself how are you doing so far on those New Year Resolutions which you promised yourself you would keep this time. Be honest with yourself. Have you taken any steps towards achieving your goals? If you have not yet taken any steps to kick those bad habits, then there is a very good chance that you are well on your way to completely missing the mark on this year resolutions….AND ITS ONLY DAY 5!!
The challenge with most resolutions and the reason that most of us fail at keeping them, is that the resolutions we set are way too large in scale for us to achieve in a reasonable time frame. Resulting in quick failures or that we lose interest too quickly in the “work” it takes at achieving them. There are however, those few select individuals that seem to always manage to keep at it. The trick is to break that big, scary resolution into short term attainable goals…which is what we are going to do right now:
So here is what I would like you to do right now.
Step 1: Find that list of resolutions that you jotted down on the cocktail napkin at your New Year’s Eve Party, crumple it up, and toss it in the recycling bin (its 2017 after all and if you don’t already recycle, let’s make that resolution #2 on the new list).
Step 2: Next, grab a pad of paper and pen then find a quiet place to think. In big bold letters, write down “Reduce High Interest Debt”.
Step 3: Now, we take that big lofty goal and break it down in to 3-5 more manageable goals.
Goal #1 – Set up an automatic monthly payment for each of your credit cards. Taking this step will ensure that you will never miss a credit card payment (great credit management that is vital when it comes to managing your credit score). Try to set automatic payment at an amount higher than the required minimum payment, this way you start making some positive headway right off the start.
Goal #2 – Review/Reduce your spending – This is often much easier than we might think. Take 30 minutes right now to review your monthly spending habits. Create a monthly budget of all your spending from last month. It does not have to be anything special. Simply list the items you spend money on and how much (ie. Cable TV = $150.00, Netflix = $8.99, Cell Phone = $95.00, home phone = $35.00, and so on).
Goal #3 – Next, start thinking about what you are using vs. not using. For instance, we live in a cell phone world. When is the last time you used your home phone? Can it be cancelled? Instant savings!! Or how about the fancy (and expensive) Cable TV package? Do you actually watch it or do you spend your TV time on Netflix? Can the Cable TV be cancelled? Instant Savings!! Have you shopped around for Home/Auto Insurance lately? Possible Savings here as well. Make a short list of expenses that could be cancelled or adjusted to improve your spending habits, then act on making those changes!
Goal #4: In the scenario outlined in Goal #3, if you do cancel the home phone and cable TV package, there is a monthly expense savings of $185.00. Here’s the trick…do not do what the average person does which is to simply find other ways to spend that “new-found” money. What you, the person trying to keep their resolution does, is set up a second automatic payment towards one of your debts for $185.00 (additional annual debt reduction of $2,200, not including the interest savings).
Goal #5: Leave the plastic at home!! If you tend to use your credit card and find yourself regretting those purchases down the road, leaving the credit card at home can help address that extra spending. If your credit card is not readily available, you will not be able to use it for those miscellaneous purchases that you would come to regret later.
Goal #6 – Assess your overall financial situation to see if there are any opportunities to restructure which could help improve your monthly cash flow or save interest. Your mortgage is the first place to start. Some simple adjustments could end up saving you a large amount of interest over the life of your mortgage.
Breaking that large, overwhelming resolution of “Reduce High Interest Debt” into much more manageable tasks makes it a very attainable resolution. If you managed to complete even just a few of these 6 goals, you will find yourself in a better position this time next year!! Not to mention the fact that better control over one’s finances will likely increase quality of life and reduce stress….so in fact, you’ll knock two additional resolutions off your 2017 list in the process!!