The new year is a fresh start and a great time to take stock of your finances—and some of the most common New Year’s resolutions are finance-related. Wanting to live more economically, save more money and make smarter financial choices are all admirable goals that we wholeheartedly support. But a study from the Journal of Clinical Psychology suggests that only 46% of resolution makers actually stick to the goals they make.1
And that’s where we come in.
We’re committed to helping you set the right kinds of goals—goals that are achievable and set you up for financial success. Our interest is providing insightful solutions and simple ways to put them to work for you year-round.
Do your research
Just because it’s not common to stick to a resolution doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. In fact, The Journal of Clinical Psychology’s study states that resolution makers are 10 times more likely to change their behaviors than those who don’t make a new commitment in the new year.1 It’s okay to set a big challenge for yourself, and you can reach it by shifting your mindset, focusing on something concrete and outlining a plan of action.2 One of the most helpful ways to stick to a financial resolution is by choosing the correct one—a goal that is specific, measurable, achievable and relevant.2,3
Make it clear
Outline your goals and be specific. What are your financial ambitions for the new year? Spell them out. Rather than stating “I want to save more money,” say, “I want to save $500 a month.” Once you’ve committed to a clear financial goal, you can start finding ways to make it real. Planning to save $500 a month could mean planning meals out, canceling unnecessary subscriptions or taking on side projects to make some extra money. It doesn’t matter how you decide to change your financial behaviors; what’s important is creating a plan of action and committing to it.
Make it measurable
Acknowledge your progress. Tracking your goals is a huge motivator. If there’s no way to note your progress, it’ll be hard to stay on top of your goals. Check in weekly or monthly to make sure you’re getting where you need to be. Find ways to acknowledge and celebrate your successes without breaking your resolution. And if you don’t have online access to Flagstar banking yet, be sure to sign up today. That way you can be sure to keep close track of your finances.
Make it realistic
Don’t set goals that are unachievable. Assess your finances and pick goals that make sense. Don’t be discouraged if you can’t reach your greatest ambitions within the year. Pick attainable goals that you can work toward and feel proud about each week or month. Goals that you can’t realistically reach will make you feel defeated before you begin. Meanwhile, small achievements add up and boost your confidence—and your determination.
Make it matter
Pick a goal that’s truly relevant to you. That means one that you care about. If you pick a resolution based on what you think you should be doing differently in the new year, it won’t matter much in the long run. Choose something that you know is important and will make a positive difference in your life.
And don’t forget, there are resources and tools that can help you—you don’t have to go it alone. We can help you stay on the path to success.
Snowball big changes with small steps
Big changes start with incremental choices.2 Consider adjustments that don’t feel overwhelming. Increase your retirement contribution by a percentage point or two or set up your electronic paycheck so a portion of it goes into your savings account. These changes might be small enough that you don’t even notice them, which will make your goals much easier to adhere to. This technique has been shown to keep people motivated when they’re trying to reach their aims.3 Setting small goals that you can accomplish regularly will allow you to see steady progress that can boost your confidence and keep you on track. And the more you accomplish, the more ready you’ll be to stretch your new priorities and achieve even more.
Finding people to help you reach your goals can not only help you be successful—it can make behavioral changes less difficult. Making the people around you aware of your plan can help hold you accountable and give you the extra support you need to stay the course.4 Work with your partner or spouse to reach a financial goal together and help keep each other motivated. Tell your friends and colleagues in advance that you’ll be bringing your own lunch to the office and skipping a few happy hours and dinners out so you can save a little extra. If they know you’re serious, they’ll encourage and support you so you don’t fall off the wagon. And don’t hesitate to reach out to a Flagstar banker or visit a branch—we’re always happy to offer you insights and solutions that can help.
Don't be afraid to reset
If you struggle with keeping your resolutions, don’t give up! Identify where you’re having troubles and figure out ways to address them. But remember to learn from past failures. If you’re choosing a goal you’ve made and abandoned before, consider the reasons you didn’t succeed. Are there mistakes you can learn from or new tactics you could try? Think about adjusting your aims and your approach so you can be successful this year.2
Maintain a healthy attitude by remembering this helpful quote: “Perfection is unattainable. Everyone has ups and downs; resolve to recover from your mistakes and get back on track.”5
And don’t be hard on yourself. New Year’s resolutions don’t have to happen just in the new year. You can resolve to make a change in your life anytime you want. Didn’t have a perfect week or month? Chalk it up to a misstep and keep moving forward.3 Success happens when you refuse to give up. Stay positive and eager to accomplish big things—a great attitude will help you get there and make you feel excited when you do.
We’re here to support your financial goals every day of the year. So if you need help, ideas or just a little bit of motivation, explore some of the resources we offer.
Flagstar Resources to share with your child: