New year, more physically and fiscally fit you? Join the party! Eating better, exercising more and spending less money are the top three resolutions this year, according to a YouGov survey. If you find your motivation waning just a week into January, here are a few quick tricks that can help you stay the course.
Enlist an Accountability Partner
What if I told you that when you team up, improving your money skills might be easier than losing weight?
That’s according to goal-setting website StickK, which analyzed the success rates of users who set personal goals related to money compared with those set on dropping pounds.
The site found that having an accountability partner meant a 61% success rate for financial goals, versus 47% for weight loss. And speaking your goal into existence can keep you on track — a resounding majority of people said they’d be more likely to stick to a financial resolution if they talked about it with others, according to the 2016 Money Habits & Confessions Survey by LearnVest. Choosing a partner can be as simple as checking in with a trusted friend or family member, or setting a goal as a group and working toward it together.
Put Money on the Line
It sounds counterintuitive, but hear me out! If you were to put money on the line — for example, having to donate to a cause you dislike — if you don’t meet your goal, your success rate could soar. For those trying to improve their finances, StickK found that 87% of people who included an accountability partner and had a financial stake within their commitment nailed their goals.
Think of the Immediate Reward
It’s hard to think about how “future you” will benefit from another brown-bag lunch when “present you” just wants to splurge at the new sushi place around the corner. One way to flip the script? Highlight the gratification you get from your current actions instead of focusing on the long-term goal — for instance, take pride in the culinary skills it took to DIY your lunch today instead of thinking how it’ll be another $15 toward your summer road trip.
Focusing on the immediate rewards of a long-term goal can make you more likely to see it through, according to a study out of Cornell University and the University of Chicago. It might require a little “fake it till you make it” effort, but it’ll make your actions in the here and now feel less like a tradeoff.