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Resolve Your Future in 2013

It’s fun to make predictions for the coming year. The only problem: once they’re in print, you’ll have to face it in January of the next year. Maybe you were right, maybe you weren’t.

Some daring types use a schtick. Len Penzo’s ‘Magic 8-Ball’ didn’t do so hot in 2012; nearly every one of his predictions, including the election of a Republican president, was wrong. Oops! On the other hand, Sam from Financial Samurai did quite well with his 2012 Predictions. Go figure.

Resolutions

If your Magic 8 Ball is on the fritz, you’ll do better to stick to resolutions, instead. “Resolution,” according to the Free Dictionary, has a triple meaning:

A firm determination to be resolute

     Resolving to do something

     The course of action that gets you there.

Divide and conquer

Do you want to change your life in 2013? A resolution is a great way to do it — provided, of course, that you really want to, and you’re willing (and determined, naturally) to take steps toward achieving those goals.

Separating them into categories helps:

Personal (or family)

    Financial

    Educational

    Travel 

resolve your future 2013

Achieve your goals

Next, how are you going to achieve these resolutions? Just wanting them won’t do it — you’ve got to have a realistic, usable plan. Tips that help:

*Brainstorm — what do you really want? Write down everything you can think of, both short and long-termWhatever isn’t feasible this year may well be accomplished in a few more.

*Ask someone you love to do the same thing — especially your spouse or partner. Attacking a goal together, particularly if it’s one you both want, is always better.

*Choose some goals from that list that you can truly resolve on this year. Add more “wannabe” goals, if you like. But a few are more easily accomplished than many.

*Break each of those goals into smaller steps. Want an extra $1,000 saved by year’s end? You’ll need to put by $20 a week. (Yes, I can count — 52 weeks x $20 = $1040. Miss a few weeks, due to sickness or vacation, and you’re still ahead.)

Now all you need to do is figure out some ways to save that extra cash. (Some of the earlier posts on this site can help, like 50 tips that save a buck or two…but add up to a lot more than that.) Don’t let the big amount scare you — it’s irrelevant. All you need is a 20-spot a week…much more doable.

     This bit-by-bit strategy works in other categories besides money. What if you’d love to visit Ireland by the end of the year, for example. Start with:

 *When can you go? (Choose at least two or three different periods, to give yourself more options)

*How much can you afford to spend? (Maybe you’ll need to save the money this year, to give yourself more freedom next annum. Ireland’s not going anywhere, after all.)

 *What are the best prices? Travelzoo, Kayak and other bargain sites are good places to start. Put in a Google search, using phrases like “Ireland travel bargain.” Patient sleuthing over a few months will give better results than one or two quickies.

 *Book during a sale. That money you’ve been setting patiently aside, week by week, comes in handy now. Finally,

*Cut yourself some slack. You’re human — you will mess up or sluff off somewhere along the way. Missing out for a week here or there doesn’t mean your goals should be abandoned entirely. It just emphasizes what the rest of the world already knows: you’re not perfect. Meeting your resolution in 60 weeks, instead of 52, is nothing to be ashamed of.

Want an example, to get you started? Joe at Retire by 40 has a good basic list of resolutions. Make your own goals this year: plan what you want, and how you’ll get it. It doesn’t take a Magic 8-Ball to know that you’ll succeed. Good luck and good fortune!

 

15 Responses to Resolve Your Future in 2013

  1. I love the part about cutting yourself some slack. Once people ‘fall off the wagon’ on whatever resolution they have, human nature is just to forget about it and watch any progress you see fall to the way side. Allowing yourself the occasional oops is not ideal compared to hitting the mark every time, but if you do so, just get back up when you’re ready and resume your goal.

  2. Where in the Book of Secrets (you know, that mysterious tome from the movie National Treasure) did it say that we were going to be perfect all the time?!? In our quest to Do Better, I think we forget to acknowledge that we are, after all, human. It doesn’t mean we can’t and won’t accomplish goals — it just means we may get to them more slowly than we wish.

    Thanks all of you, for writing. You’re making some great points here.

  3. Great tips on how to plan to meet goals. I agree whole-heartedly with cutting yourself slack. Does it really matter if you become debt-free or lose 50 pounds in x number of months versus a few more? Nope.

  4. I’m a big believer in breaking down goals into smaller steps. In the case of resolutions, I break it down into progress goals, on a monthly basis. This helps me keep focused on making progress toward the goal, rather than procrastinate and believe that I have many months to go before having to reach it.

  5. One thing I forgot to mention: have your partner or friend or trusted relative also keep you accountable. It’s more difficult for me to blow off goals, if I feel I’m going to disappoint someone I care about.

    Thanks, all of you, for contributing!

  6. It’s funny that your first section heading here was “divide and conquer,” because that is the new mantra in my household. IT has nothing to do with our financial resolutions, but everything to do with our parenting resolutions (two kids, two parents – you get the idea)!

  7. I am trying to keep myself on track so I am posting it all on line. I am attempting a No Spend January and everyone knows how poorly I am doing and that I only have about $17.00 left for the month. Posting successes and failures is a good way to keep you on track with the goals.

    My budget is stuck to the fridge for all to see.

  8. We have to take care of our future and 2013 is the best time to do this. It is not enough to make predictions or come up with resolutions. We need to make things happen. Planning our goals is one thing. Accomplishing these objectives is another. Let us all get started, now.

  9. Lakita, you’re right! But sometimes accomplishing something is a whole lot easier if you plan it, step by step, and follow through. Resolutions get you started on that road — but it’s up to you to keep following it.

    Thanks for posting, all of you. Your comments make this article better.

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