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A New Year - A New Financial Beginning

Each new year most of us set goals for the upcoming year. We make New Year’s resolutions.

The number one resolution usually involves health. Maybe that is because of our over indulgence during the holidays. Resolutions regarding health are usually to lose weight, exercise more, eat better, and the like.

Another top resolution involves finances. These include getting out of debt, not using credit cards, saving, planning for retirement, etc.

According to, “No matter the year, the new year's resolution cycle tends to look the same. Wake up on January 1 motivated and eager to achieve a set of goals for the New Year, work towards these goals for a few weeks or so, just to let them fizzle out come February. The short life cycle of New Year's resolutions is pretty common — according to one statistic, 80% of people give up on their resolutions in the first six weeks.”

It is not hard to find motivational quotes and talks on goal setting; even banks offer advice and counsel on financial goals. Compass Bank says, “Figure out what matters to you, prioritize, create a realistic budget, automate, check your progress, etc.”

So how do we make a resolution and make it stick for the entire year? Well, I am still working on my last year’s resolution involving health. That resolution has been revived again and again as the year progressed, but I never completely gave up – just had to restart a few times. My specialty, however, is finance. I am a bankruptcy lawyer (I know, I have heard all of the lawyer jokes); however, I did just restart my goal and leave the gym.

First, each of us must decide what it is we wish to work toward. One major problem with New Year’s resolutions is, as my father would say, we bite off more than we can chew. Your goals must be realistic, they must be attainable. For most of us we need baby steps, as Dave Ramsey says, short-term goals in order to reach the long-term result. The quote Rome wasn’t built in a day to most of us means you cannot lose 50 pounds overnight. It is the same with our finances. For most of us we cannot become debt free in three months.

One cannot simply state ‘will be out of debt by the 4th of July and truly know the meaning of independence.’ You must have a plan to achieve your goal. You must know exactly how much debt you have and realistically how long it will take to pay it off. Breaking down the big goal into smaller, attainable goals will result in ongoing progress.

Second, you must write it down. Writing your goals down, both short and long term, will increase your chances of sticking with them. I write down what I need to accomplish each day and mark it off as I accomplish each item. Silly as it sounds, I get satisfaction knowing my day is progressing as it should and that I have accomplished something – no matter how small.

Financial Goals