After a long and indulgent holiday, most people are ready to leave the excesses of the season behind and start fresh in the new year.But that ambition only lasts so long. Despite their best intentions, only 20 percent of those who make New Year’s resolutions keep to them. The remaining 80 percent of goal-setters give up by the time Valentine’s Day hits. Unless you’re one of the inspired minority, then your motivation to keep on track is probably at an all-time low and you run the risk of giving up. If your tank is on empty, here are some tips to find the fuel you need to check off your overdue resolution.
Don’t be discouraged
There is no such thing as a perfect run at your goal. There’s always going to be an obstacle (or few) that stands in your way. It’s important you find the strength to stay committed to your goal despite them. So what you caved and upgraded to the iPhone X, the world’s most expensive phone? Don’t throw in the towel just because you made one mistake.
Take it slow
It’s human nature to want to wash your hands clean of all your debt as fast as possible, but this speedy repayment schedule can actually sabotage your success. Most people assume they can cut out every unnecessary purchase from their budget, so all their excess cash can go towards debt relief. While ambitious, this strategy is also unrealistic. Going cold turkey increases the chances of going back to your spendthrift ways with more intensity than before. It’s like trying a diet that cuts out every sugar and carb from your diet. At first you can follow your new healthy way of life, but two weeks later you’re binge eating that tray of Oreos.
To avoid overspending out of sheer boredom, start applying restrictions on your spending gradually. Begin by eliminating your daily latte if you grab one on your way to work. Get used to making your own coffee at home before you try cutting out your weekly takeout. When you give yourself time to adjust to these frugal ways, you’ll have a better chance at sticking to them.
Don’t be afraid to treat yourself
Though it may seem at odds with your savings goals, buying yourself small treats throughout your progress can help you stay on track. Rewards are a great motivator when used correctly. The trick is to keep them small, infrequent, and tied to certain objectives. For example, let’s say you aim to have half of your Mastercard balance paid off within seven weeks. Your reward for hitting this target could be treating yourself to seeing Black Panther in theatres, splurging on takeout, or purchasing a brand new pair of sneakers. Choose whatever experience or item would motivate you to keep to your goal, and only pay out if you’ve reached it.
Let’s say those obstacles from before aren’t of your own making but the result of a frozen pipe, a faulty furnace, or a broken suspension. These necessary repairs can’t be ignored for long, but your stressed budget may not be able to handle these emergencies on top of your debt repayments. If you used your credit cards as a back-up in the face of financial emergencies in the past, learn how to avoid extra debt before the next bill, fine, or household repair blindsides you and your budget. It may take some research but eventually you’ll find a solution that works with your situation. Whether it’s the addition of a part-time job or a personal loan, there’s a way to manage these temporary cash shortages.
The bottom line
Paying off debt from the holidays or any other special occasion isn’t fun. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication as you reorganize your finances and limit your spending. With such an focus on your budget, it’s easy to get bogged down by the negative aspects of your goal. If you do, it’s the fastest way to lose sight of why you’re cutting back: living a debt-free life. Instead, take a breather when it gets to much and embrace rewards. These tricks may be the only way you can successfully tick your resolution off your list.