While January 1st is certainly the biggest day for new beginnings for many of us, by the end of February many people have lost that sense of optimum that came with the new year’s glow. I haven’t been a person firm on making specific resolutions each year, but rather give myself a particular focus or vision to work towards. I find that being non-specific makes it easier to fix things when I slip up, and work towards the same goal rather than giving up because I wasn’t perfect.
According to StatisticBrain.com, the most popular new year’s resolution involves losing weight and eating healthier (21.4%). Coming in third is the goal to make better financial decisions (8.5%).
I have found that, the easier it is to make your goals a part of your everyday life, the more likely you are to keep it. A strict diet and eating plan meal list sounds like a great idea in principle, but maintaining it month in and month out can be a challenge. Saving money is always a great plan, but when the latest shiny pretty thing comes along, you can blow your budget quickly. However, if you were to approach losing weight, healthy eating and saving money as more of a lifestyle change with small changes made over time, you can build long term success in smaller, manageable, goals.
Here are a list of my tips to help you reach those healthy eating, weight loss and money-saving goals (not resolutions!) in 2017. If you’ve slipped up a bit in the past few weeks, that’s OK. Focus and move forward while keeping these tips in mind.
Write Down Your Goals
Experts agree that there is a measurable difference between people who write down their goals and people who don’t. In fact, a Harvard study of graduate students found that a group who had written down their goals (3%) earned 10-times the amount of the rest of the class combined (made up of some who had goals in mind only and a group who had no set goals) when visited ten years later! When you don’t have a plan, you don’t have a way to reach your destination!
Take just three minutes using the stopwatch on your phone, recommends Matt Mayberry, Speaker and Maximum Performance Strategist, and write down your goals. The reason for 3-minutes? It will remove the tendency to worry, he says, and this way you can write your goals out before that little nagging voice gets a turn!
That old saying holds true – fail to plan, plan to fail. If your written goal, for example, is to save $5000 by the end of the year, your plan may be to focus on small measurable ways you can save money every single week on your grocery bill. If you’ve been shopping on Sundays at the same store every week – because it’s easy – consider what a difference using just 20 minutes on a Saturday morning to browse flyers, make a shopping list based on the flyers (not the other way around), can make.
I am a huge fan of the Flipp App. Flipp is a free shopping app that brings you all of your weekly circulars so you can easily plan your shopping, find the best deals and save more money each week. Flipp has a shopping list that automatically finds local deals for the items on your list and makes it easy to stay on track at the store.
New features on the Flipp App include:
Photo List – Upload a photo of your handwritten shopping list and it will appear digitally in the app.
Store Mode – Store mode sorts your shopping list by store aisle to help you find what you need and get in and out of the grocery store faster.
Sync – Sync your Flipp shopping list with a friend or significant other and stay connected. Cross off items as you shop and your partner see your updates.
If you’re heading out with the family to eat, and just go to ‘the usual spot’, you could be missing free food if the restaurant next door has a kids eat free deal that you’re not taking advantage of. Learn where to find these in your local area (I have a list of restaurants where kids eat free in Regina!)
Make It Public
Now, I don’t mean that you have to be that person that posts every sweaty post-workout photo on your Facebook (but go ahead if you want to!) When you tell your friends and family your goal, even just in casual conversation, it not only makes you accountable to them when they ask you how it’s going two months later, but it also may help find an accountability-buddy. Having someone who checks in with you daily or weekly helps keep you on task. As easy as it is to break a promise to yourself, (“I’ll just buy dinner three times this week, even though I promised myself it would be just once,”) it’s much harder to break the promise you made to a friend when they ask how the weekly budgeting is going.
At the end of the day – or perhaps better stated at the end of the year – it all comes down to making a change that’s best for you. We all know how to do it (well, mostly) but actually stepping up and doing what it takes is where many people simply give up. For once, for all, in 2017 I’d ask all of you to simply not stop, not give up, when you screw up.
I screw up. I overspend when I know I could have waited for a better deal. I order fries and gravy when I decided fries were a definite no going forward. I don’t workout because of a litany of excuses I can make up in my mind. But when that happens, I don’t throw all my planning, focus and work away. I simply decide to do better next time. And next time doesn’t have to be “next Monday” or “next month”. Start now.
Here’s a summary of all the tips shared in this post, in my segment this week at Global News Morning Regina! Can you tell I was excited about the Photo List and Store Mode features? 🙂
One of my lucky reader is going to win an awesome prize courtesy of my favorite App, Flipp: $100 MasterCard GC to help with your groceries, a Flipp Tote AND a Flipp Calendar which highlights the best times of the year to buy which foods to get the best value! Yay!