It's no secret that New Year's resolutions aren't always the best way to accomplish a major goal. Depending on which statistics you look at, up to 80% of people fail to keep theirs by the second week of February.
That includes the resolution to save more, which is among the most popular resolutions for 2019. When it comes to saving, it's easy to talk about but difficult to put into action. So if you've already given up on your savings resolution or not feeling very confident, here are some tips I've seen work for getting back on track.
Adjust your goal
Setting goals can be an exciting experience. You're feeling optimistic, and your adrenaline starts pumping when you think about the possibilities. Unfortunately, that sometimes leads to setting unrealistic goals. Then once you come down from the high, reality sets in and you abandon them altogether.
Fortunately, saving for the future doesn't have to be "all or nothing." If you're starting to realize that you were a little too optimistic in your goal setting, take some time to adjust it to conform to reality. Don't take this as an opportunity to sell yourself short, though. If saving is important to you, make it a priority, and be honest about your ability to cut back to make it work.
Whether you're saving for retirement, a vacation, or a rainy day, automating your monthly savings makes it so you don't have to re-make the decision to save every month.
To do this, set up an automatic transfer from your checking account to your savings or retirement account each month. It's best to set the transfer date at the beginning of the month or after your first payday of the month.
With your savings out of the way, you can comfortably spend whatever you want without worrying if you're going to have enough to save at the end of the month — as long as you don't overdraw your checking account or go into credit card debt, that is.
Remind yourself of your "why?"
We all know saving money is a good idea, but that general positive sentiment isn't going to be enough to help you sustain your resolution.
Take the time to think about why you want to save. Again, this can be different based on what you're saving for. If it's retirement, for instance, you can think about how you want to spend your years after leaving the workforce.
If it's a vacation, do some research about your desired destination and the activities you want to do. And if it's an emergency fund, think about the peace of mind you'll have knowing that you won't need to resort to credit card debt or payday loans to get by if something goes wrong.
Whatever your goal, think about your very personal reasons for wanting to achieve it. Then make sure you remind yourself of these reasons on a regular basis.
Like any long-term goal, it can be frustrating when you don't see immediate results. Saving for retirement doesn't have much of a positive impact on your current life at all, other than the feeling of being prepared.
Saving for anything is a marathon, not a sprint, and it's important to treat it that way. If it helps, set up some way of keeping track of your progress, and update it over the coming months. As you look back, you'll be able to see and celebrate your wins, no matter how small.
You probably know that saving for the future is a key element of financial security, so it's important to make it a priority in your life. That doesn't mean it's easy, though. If you're unsure about whether you can achieve your savings goals, consider these tips to help you stay on track. Even if you can only save a little each month, it'll make a big difference over time.
Whether it's for covering medical expenses, or planning bigger investments, our Future Healthy column will help support your path to retirement, no matter where you are on the journey. And for the latest info about your health and financial wellness, be sure to check out our HSA Learning Center, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.