New year new goals: How to accomplish your New Year resolutions
3 February 2017
Big Ben has chimed and 2017 is here, along with it a raft of hopes and dreams for the coming year ahead. Along with those wishes it's that time of year to make commitments and resolutions to yourself and significant others about how you want to conduct yourself over the next 12 months.
Online lending firm 247Moneybox have seen quite a few New Years having been established in 2009 and know that of the millions of customers processed in that time, quite a large number will have set goals and targets that were overly optimistic.
Money and finances often crop up during personal goal setting sessions and we often hear budgeting and planning as key areas people want to develop. We have developed our Questions and Answers section to enable customers to get educated about our payday loan product but also about general credit and related personal finance issues. This can be found here at our Questions page.
The firm has engaged its staff to think about how they can help their customers create new healthy habits in 2017 and in turn kick into touch the negative ones. The staff have been encouraged to engage with customers via all touch points be that email, sms, on the phone or via social media and share their knowledge. It's not all about bad credit loans here you know!
Tim Biggar, Customer Champion, is excited by the challenge: "We've all been there, the clock strikes midnight and the booze is flowing, as the dawn rises so does the hangover and the determination to make the most of the year ahead. However, why do we so often fail? This is what we set out to rectify."
So what have the teams come up with? Check out the list of things to do to help you accomplish the goals you set for the new year.
- Set clear goals - The more specific the better in order to channel your focus. In addition, capture something you do want rather than what you don't want. For example, "I want to be fitter" is vague why not try "I want to run 10km by June". Instead of "I don't want to be overweight" why not try "I am going to eat 5 portions of fruit and veg a day".
- Be realistic - If fitness is a goal (very common at this time of year as any PT will tell you!), don't set a marathon as a goal if you struggle to climb the stairs. Aiming for the stars and hitting the moon is a nice idea but the team felt that it was more of a case of setting yourself up to fail which is very demoralising. Why not set interim steps instead? If the goal is to run that marathon and the journey there is long, why not set the goal of doubling your longest monthly run? Team member Ben Smith used this technique last year and hit 26 miles after 5 months. Prior to this his longest run was during a school rugby match!
- Talk about your goals - This will help with system setting which we will come onto later. The more goals are vocalised and discussed the better they can be honed in and become more specific. Other people that know you and indeed that don't know you, may be able to make excellent suggestions about what might work and what might not work. Additionally, by buying in a support network one is far more likely to achieve with the added pressure announcing your goals brings! Don't worry though, a support network is also likely to keep you on track and may help you "change everything" (also dealt with below).
- Focus on progress - A classic trap people often fall into when aiming to achieve their goals is ignoring the progress and focusing on the end goal. For example, if your goal is to lose 2 stone then every day week and month leading up to that event is going to fall short of that goal. The risk that this constant "failure" is demoralising and can lead to abandoning the effort. Take it one step at a time and be happy with each small step. So check off with pride each pound that falls away knowing that you are on the journey. A diary can really help here as it gives you something tangible to focus on. Bringing this into the now, there are loads of free apps out there to help with tracking and storing history.
- Change everything - This is a bit harder to define but essentially it means create a successful environment and success will follow including achieving your goals. Returning to weight loss as a goal, it may be easier to say just diet. However, you are far more likely to achieve if it's a small change in all the factors that can affect weight. It makes sense if you get your partner or family involved with the changes so in the case of weight gain, drop that takeaway on a Saturday night for everybody, get off the bus one stop earlier, take the stairs not the lift etc. etc.
- Give yourself a pat on the back - Determine before-hand what rewards go with what incremental milestones of accomplishment. Have frequent small rewards and a "grand prize" for completion. Back to the goal of losing weight (a common one in 247Moneybox Towers!), buy new clothes to replace the old (baggier) ones. The grand prize could be a lovely beach holiday to show off that toned physique! However, beware linking the rewards to the goal you are trying to achieve, so if it's losing weight then a fry up might not be the best reward but a trip to the cinema might.
- Don't worry about slip ups - This is not a nice linear path people. Everybody meanders their way through. Sometimes you will be up and sometimes down, the point is to not give up at each little set back. We loved the idea of a "Monday Reset". Weekends are when we are most likely to slip up. Use Monday to stop, regroup, refocus and reset. This should get you off to the best start for the week and help with sticking to the plan.
- Together everyone achieves more - TEAM right? Yes, we have all heard of this but it's really important when it comes to goal achieving. Whomever is in your team be that family, friends, a life coach, therapist, or mentor, lean on them to support you through tough times, when you need a pick me up to get back on the right path.
- Systems are your friend - Systems are great ways to execute the end goal. Break down large goals into smaller actions that are easier to process and achieve. Don't make the end or larger goals too vague, as it can lead to confusion. Similarly avoid chopping and changing goals or systems.