Stick with your resolutions

Checklist with woman using a tablet

As January winds down, hopefully your momentum to stick with your New Year’s resolutions is still going strong. However, if you find yourself falling behind, remember you are not alone.

Keeping up with goals and resolutions can be a challenge. As we settle back into regular routines post-holiday season, it might be harder to stay focused. Even if you’ve fallen behind, don’t let that set the tone for the rest of the year. There are many strategies that can help you crush your 2021 goals.

In part one of our new year’s series, OVB Vice President and Senior Compliance Officer Daniel Roush said his resolution for 2021 was to reduce his carbon footprint as well as to continue his journaling, which is something he has done consistently since 2005.

“We’ve been under a boil water advisory in my local area for a week now, which ironically has helped me with my conservation resolution. You never realize how much water you use until you have to bathe out of a three-gallon bucket for a week,” Roush said. “Other efforts to be more environmentally friendly are still in the works, but I am continuing to use my compost pile, and I am researching more options for recycling.”

To help others stick with their resolutions, Roush suggesting setting a broader goal or adjusting their current resolution.

“When you set a broader, less specific goal it gives you more flexibility in how you can accomplish it. By being less specific and giving yourself more to work with, you are less likely to get discouraged and quit all together,” he said.

Here are other helpful tips to make sure you stay on track this year:

  • Accountability. Hold yourself accountable by sharing your resolutions with close family and friends. Not only will they be there to provide support and encouragement, but this can also help you to feel a healthy level of pressure to keep working toward your goal.
  • Join support groups on social media. You might be surprised at the wide array of support groups available to help you achieve your goals. For example, is your resolution to exercise five days a week? Research fitness groups on social networks, such as Facebook. There may even be local groups already established where you can connect with people in your area. Having a shared goal and discussing progress with others can motivate you to keep going well past January.
  • Record your progress. Keeping a weekly or monthly record of progress made toward your resolution/goal is another method to make sure you stay on track. Go old school with a written journal or create a spreadsheet on your computer. Setting calendar reminders for progress checks on your phone is another helpful tool.
  • Research apps. With smartphones in nearly everyone’s pocket now, there are a wide variety of apps and online tools created to help folks achieve their goals. Trying to eat healthier? From calorie counting apps to food journals, you are sure to find something that works for you. Looking to save money and budget wisely? A selection of apps can help you accomplish that, including OVB’s Benjamin Tracker, which is free and available through NetTeller and the OVB App.
  • Be realistic. Now that January is almost over if you find that your resolution simply isn’t feasible, do not give up. Instead, adjust your goal to be more realistic to suit your needs. This doesn’t mean you need to make your goal less of a challenge. However, by working toward realistic standards, you will avoid setting yourself up for failure. It’s ok to dream big, but when we make a resolution we need to do so with the mindset that we will be able to achieve it mentally and physically. For example, if exercise is your goal it might be more attainable to work toward consistency rather than committing to workouts every day. As you get comfortable with your regimen, consider doing more.
  • Don’t give up when you slip up. Sometimes things beyond our control happen, which can throw us off our goal progress. There will always be bumps in the road. If you quit after the first roadblock, you are not doing yourself any favors. Instead, give yourself some grace and readjust your plans. For example, if you wanted to walk four times a week, but fell ill and/or had to take a week off to care for a sick family member, don’t let those obstacles stop you from continuing your goal throughout the year. Did you accidentally go over your budget spending limit? Try again and perhaps focus on saving to prevent future overspending. As long as effort is continually put forth, you should have an easier path to sticking with your goals/resolutions this year.
  • Make sure your resolution is not a punishment. Remember our goals and resolutions should never make us feel bad. Instead, they should be motivating. Does your current goal feel more like a punishment? Do you feel no joy in your steps to accomplish it? If so, readjust your mindset. For example, if your resolution is to stick with a diet, perhaps changing it to “eating healthier” might be a better approach. If you want to enjoy a weekend “cheat meal” or a bowl of ice cream every now and then, you won’t feel as though you have failed.
  • Mind over matter. A good attitude can make a huge difference in how you not only approach life, but also when it comes to sticking with resolutions and goals. Even if things do not progress as quickly as you hoped or you find yourself struggling to stay on task, that doesn’t mean you should quit. Determine the root of your problems, adjust accordingly and try again.

We hope the first month of 2021 has treated you well. If not, remember there are 11 months left to make it a good year. For helpful advice to reach your financial goals this year, check out part two of our New Year’s series here. Information on scams to watch for in 2021 is available in our part three series, which features advice from OVB’s Ryan Jones and Frank Davison.

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