Back in 2017, Hannah Moore, lead Certified Financial Planner™ here at Guiding Wealth, was featured on her local Dallas radio station, KERA. The start of a new year is always a time when people want to get their financial house in order, so Hannah was asked to share some insights into how they approach their New Year’s’ resolutions in the right way.

Even though this interview is a few years old now, Hannah’s advice stands the test of time. Here’s what she had to say during his short interview.

Listen to Hannah’s full interview on KERA Radio.

Know the Reality of Your Numbers

On January 1, people tend to dive head-first into their New Years’ goals and resolutions. When it comes to long-term financial success, though, Hannah recommends that you start by looking at your current numbers — not just planning for future numbers. “Go back three months and don’t just estimate where you are spending your money but actually get the hard numbers,” she said. “Once you start seeing that on a regular basis, oftentimes that will help set you up for success.”

Don’t get ahead of yourself, or assume you’ll be instantly successful with a big lofty goal (like finally using a budget or paying off student loan debt). When you know what you’re working with, what your current spending is, and what you can realistically do to move toward your goal, you increase the odds you’ll be successful.

Make a Plan

Now that you know your numbers, it’s time to make a plan. “If you don’t have a plan for your money, it, most of the time, is going to get spent,” Hannah warned. Just think back to the last time you got an unexpected raise, bonus, or tax return… where did that money go? For example, Hannah said, “If you’re trying to pay off credit card debt, your tax return is a great place to start making significant progress on that.” But you have to plan to use that tax return to pay down that debt, or it will just get absorbed into your lifestyle.

More than anything, don’t plan to “just do what you can.” Plan specific actions, whether it’s saving a specific dollar amount more per month, checking in with your budget every week, or something more targeted to your unique goal. “Life doesn’t often go the way we want it to go unless we have some intentionality behind it,” Hannah said. “So being intentional about those changes and really implementing that plans allows you to achieve those things that maybe not everybody in their life can achieve.”

Planning is also a great way to increase the willpower you might need to achieve certain goals. The fewer decisions you have to make, the better. You already know what you’re doing with your money/time/resources, so it’s easier to just do it!

Don’t Forget to Check In

There’s one more thing Hannah thinks people should know about their New Years’ goals and resolutions: it’s never a one-and-done thing. You need to be checking in with yourself, your spouse, and your goals to make sure you’re doing what you’ve set out to do. It’s OK if you get off-track, but that’s the time to recalibrate. You don’t have to wait for a whole new year to roll around before you try again!

And if you want to really make progress on your financial goals and resolutions in 2020, working with a Certified Financial Planner™ can help. With a clear financial plan, accountability, and expert guidance, Guiding Wealth helps clients reach their financial and personal goals all year-round. Learn more about Guiding Wealth and the services we offer.