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Cracking the Code: New Year's Money Resolutions that Stick

  • December 26,2023
  • Abound Staff Authors
  • 7-10 Minute Read

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Hey there, friend! As we approach the New Year, many of us get excited about setting resolutions – those promises we make to ourselves to improve our lives. But let's be real, keeping these promises can sometimes feel like trying to figure out the dance moves in the latest TikTok challenge.

Have you ever wondered why it's so tricky to stick to our resolutions and why giving up seems easier?

Well, here's a secret: our brains play a big role in this! Our minds are wired in a way that makes it challenging to stick to new habits, like saving money or spending less. Sounds frustrating, right? Don't worry, understanding how our brains work can help us crack the code and achieve our money goals!

Understanding & Overcoming Challenges

First off, our brains love routine. They're comfortable doing things they already know. So, when we try to change our habits, like saving more or budgeting, our brain resists because it's not used to this new way of doing things. 

Then there's this thing called "instant gratification" - we want something nice right now, even if it's not the best for us in the long run. For instance, buying that awesome toy or fancy gadget instead of saving for something bigger later. Our brains really like immediate rewards, and saving money doesn't always give us that same quick thrill. 

On top of that, when we hit bumps along the way, like overspending or not meeting a savings target, our brains sometimes tell us, "See? You can't do this. Give up!" It's that little voice inside our heads that discourages us. That voice doesn't always tell the truth. It's just our brain being cautious.

We recognize that financial challenges vary among different communities. For instance, some might face additional hurdles due to systemic inequalities or cultural differences that impact your approach to money management. It's important to understand we each have unique challenges and work toward tailored solutions that resonate with our diverse backgrounds and circumstances.

Consider your own financial aspirations, whether it's saving for significant events, supporting family members, or investing in community-driven initiatives. Your goals might revolve around a family celebration, investing in community-based projects, or supporting your family's financial stability.

It’s not always about how we can save for a rainy day or big purchases. We all have unique goals and aspirations for our financial wellbeing and none of us should make it more difficult by self-sabotaging.

Making Money Resolutions Stick

Start by setting realistic goals. That's a biggie! Instead of planning to save a huge amount in a short time, start small. Tell your brain, "Hey, let's save a little bit every week." This tricks your brain into thinking it's not such a big change, making it easier to stick to the plan. 
Pro Tip: Try starting our 52 week saving challenge with us in January – See our Fall Cornerstone Newsletter for details or follow along on social media.

We’re sure you’ve heard them before, but SMART goals are a tried-and-true method for changing your brain and reaching your goals. They're like secret codes that your brain loves! Making your goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound helps your brain understand what you're doing. It's like giving your brain a roadmap to follow. 

Let's break it down:

  1. Specific: Instead of saying, "I want to save money," try being more precise like, "I want to save $20 every week."
  2. Measurable: Track your progress. There are some great apps out there, or a good old fashioned journal will do the trick.
  3. Achievable: Choose goals that you know you can reach. If you try to save too much money too quickly, it might be tough. Start with a small amount and work your way up!
  4. Relevant: Your goals should matter to you. If you're excited about the next shiny tech, making a big purchase, buying your first home or going on a trip, saving money for that can be a great goal!
  5. Time-bound: Give yourself a deadline. Make it definitive like: “I will save $100 by the end of the month.” That way, you have something to aim for!

Celebrating little victories is another awesome trick! Every time you get closer to your goal, treat yourself with something small or give yourself a pat on the back. This tricks your brain into associating good feelings with achieving your money goals.

Need a few more tricks up your sleeve?

Ask for Help: Don't be afraid to talk to someone you trust about your money goals. They might have good ideas to share. Abound has Financial Counselors ready and willing to help you reach your financial goals. When seeking guidance, it's valuable to connect with financial counselors who understand and respect diverse financial backgrounds. Organizations like Abound prioritize providing inclusive financial counseling to ensure that each person receives tailored support for their unique financial goals.

Keep Learning: Read books or watch videos about money. The more you know, the better decisions you can make about your goals.

Stay Positive: Even if things get tricky, remember that mistakes are okay. Stay positive and keep going!

Lastly, remember that setbacks are a normal part of any journey. If you overspend or miss a savings target, don't let that little discouraging voice win! Remind yourself that it's okay and that you can try again. It's like a video game – if you lose a level, you don't stop playing, right? You try again until you win!

So, there you have it! Our brains might make it tough to stick to money resolutions, but by understanding how they work and using these tricks, we can outsmart them and make our money goals a reality. Let's enter the New Year armed with knowledge and determination to crack the code of our money resolutions!


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