A Fresh New Year. A Brand New Opportunity.

For many of us, the beginning of a new year means a clean slate and a chance to do things differently. It’s exciting! If you’re still deciding on your New Year’s resolution (or even if you already know), here are a few tips on ways to make it stick.

  • Be specific—and write it down. 

    Seeing progress is a powerful motivator, isn’t it? And, it’s easier to see your progress if your goal is specific. Instead of “This year, I’m going to spend less,” try “This year, I’m going to cut my grocery bill by at least $20 a week.” If you want to give your resolution even more power, include why you’re doing it. “This year, I’m going to cut my grocery bill by at least $20 a week, so I can save for a down payment on a car.”

    Then, keep up your motivation by creating daily reminders, calendaring “events” or putting a note or a picture where you won’t expect to see one. If you want to see your progress in black and white, there are many apps available.

  • Stick to one goal at a time. 

    It can be exciting to think of the many things you can change, but pick a goal that’s the most important to you. Then brainstorm some ways to make it achievable. You’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish by focusing on a single goal. Once you feel comfortable with that resolution’s progress, you can consider working on another one.

  • Start small. 

    There’s an old saying, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” You can make it easier to succeed by setting small, realistic goals. For instance, you probably won’t save enough for a down payment on a car in a month, but setting a target and creating a plan that includes small steps or adjustments is totally doable.

  • Automate what you can. 

    Maybe you’ve decided to start saving or spending less time tracking and paying bills. If you’re wishing there was something that would make it easier, there is. You can make automated payments or transfers right from your checking account. Set it up once, and it does the work for you. Best of all, you’ll be less likely to give into the temptation to put it off and more likely to achieve your goal.

  • Have a support network. 

    Lots of us find it helpful to share challenges or successes with someone else. In fact, a study on exercising found that people who had an exercise buddy tended to exercise more. So pick a friend to be your financial buddy. No friends and family nearby? Set up a Facebook group or try groups like Meetup® or stickK®, where you can find people with a similar interest or goal.

  • Forgive yourself. 

    It’s easy to forget or break your resolutions. Don’t quit just because you went over budget in one shopping trip, didn’t reach your saving goal one month or ate that doughnut. Think about where you went wrong and how you can do better next time. Then, let it go and keep moving forward!

If your resolution was to understand more about credit or building savings, check out Navy Federal’s MakingCents for tips, tools and articles.