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It’s almost Valentine’s Day; do you know where your New Year’s resolutions are? Are your resolutions printed, laminated and posted on your bathroom mirror so you see them first thing in the morning and at the end of the day? Do you have reminders set on your phone to make sure you don’t forget? Or are your resolutions lost like a permission sheet on the morning of your child’s field trip to the zoo? If you need help finding your resolutions again, here are 4 simple steps you can take. As far as finding the permission slip, remember that it’s going to be in the last place you look!

  1. First, make sure you set an effective resolution. Saying you want to handle your money better in 2018 is too broad; you can’t easily measure it to check your progress. Instead, make your resolution more concrete and, most importantly, understand the why behind your resolution. For example, you might resolve to be intentional about where you spend your money so you can model good spending, saving and giving to your children.

2. Once you have a concrete and clear goal, schedule time on your calendar to monitor your progress. Using the example of being intentional about spending, you could track your expenses using a tool like WealthVision, which is Bridgeworth’s financial planning software, and then schedule 15 minutes a week on your calendar to log in and see where your money went. Then take a few minutes to think about whether your spending reflects your goals and values. If you want your children to understand the importance of giving back, do they see you making charitable gifts? Or you may be giving in a way that is not as visible, perhaps by giving appreciated assets to charity, and could talk with your children about why you selected the charity you support and explain the work that it does.

3. When you’ve made progress toward your goal, by reviewing spending online or by sharing your charitable giving habits with your children, give yourself a healthy (keyword!) treat. You don’t want to take steps backward by clicking on the sale email from your favorite shoe store and ordering 2 new pairs! Rather, you might walk with a friend, read a fun magazine, organize your closet (ok, I recognize only a few of us consider organization fun!), or pick another healthy treat from this list.

4. Depending on your personality tendency, it may also be helpful to share your goal with someone else. Ask that person to check in with you periodically about your progress to keep you accountable and to make sure you can still find your resolutions after February 14!

To help you take additional small steps throughout 2018, Bridgeworth will publish a series of financial wellness blog posts. The goal of each article will be to help you understand a topic, like how to set an effective resolution and give you at least one action step you can take toward improving your financial life in that area. At the end of 2018, we hope you will be pleased with your progress and find yourself financially healthier. To paraphrase Bill Gates, “Most people overestimate what they can do in a day and underestimate what they can do in a year.”

Bridgeworth, LLC is not affiliated or associated with Gretchen Rubin.