posted on February 03, 2017 10:23
With January in the rear view, you may have fallen off of your New Year’s resolutions by now. To be honest, however, that is not necessarily a bad thing.
If you’re like the average person, you are probably not counted in the 9.2% of people that actually achieve their New Year’s resolutions each year. In fact, a study compiled by Statistic Brain shows that more than 40% fall off their resolutions by the end of January.
While making New Year’s resolutions are a sign of your willingness to commit to improving, they often set you up for failure early on. New Year’s resolutions have a tendency of getting old very quickly, and most persons’ commitment to them are as fleeting as saying Happy New Year within the first couple of weeks in January.
So, for those of you whose New Year resolutions have essentially gone south by now, it doesn’t matter. Set yourself up for ‘real’ success in 2017 by shifting your focus from resolution setting to goal setting.
What’s the difference between a goal and a resolution?
Goals and resolutions are very similar. They both are a result of wanting to make a change (usually for the better). However, resolutions often prove to be overambitious and idealistic. They usually take the shape of a grand aspiration detached from a means of actually achieving it.
On the other hand, goals (when set correctly) are more realistic and actionable. They are carefully calculated and are attached to a plan for realising each goal.
To get a better understanding of the difference between a goal and a resolution, we have listed one of the most popular financial resolutions below:
“To save more money.”
While this is a respectable resolution, it is really nothing more than a wish. In its current form, it includes no indication of how much money is considered “more money”. If, at the end of this year, you save $5 more than you did last year, you technically would have saved more money. But is that the increase you really envisioned at the beginning of the year?
Now, to be honest, many persons who set goals come up with a savings goal very similar to the one above. They “wish” to save more money without determining how much money they want to save, by what date and by what means.
A SMART goal is a goal that is Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. An example would be:
“To save $500 by 31st December, 2017”
With this SMART goal, you know exactly what you are working towards and by what date. Throughout the year, you will be able to measure your progress towards that goal, making adjustments where necessary. (Note: Committing to saving $500 only proves to be realistic if it is something that you can afford based on your financial situation. Someone working towards this goal would need to be able to afford to save approximately $46 over the next 11 months.)
Financial Improvement in 2017: What it can look like for you
With January now in the rearview mirror, 2017 no longer seems quite new. However, success in 2017 is still possible. This is a new month, and today is a new day filled with the promise of fresh start – a shift towards making 2017 your best year yet! For those of you who may have fallen off of your resolutions, there is still an opportunity to set yourself up for success in 2017 by turning those resolutions into SMART goals.