Sure-fire ways to make your New Year’s Resolutions a success

The turn of a new year marks the perfect opportunity to start a new chapter. Some people might aim to kick old habits, reinvent themselves or finally get around to doing that one thing they’ve been meaning to do. That could mean learning a new skill, pursuing a hobby or spending more time with the family.

For some, their list of resolutions for 2016 may sound a lot like what they wrote last year, and the year before that! But this year they can finally pull them off.

How?

Let’s look at some of the most typical resolutions:

Lose weight

This is without doubt one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, but all too often we fail miserably to stick to our diet plans and step away from the chocolate.

Why is this? Because simply planning to lose weight is not enough.

Goals need to be specific, measurable and time-bound. For example, rather than aiming to lose weight, someone could aim to start running several times a week and lose 5lbs by the end of February. This way they are more likely to succeed as they have set out a clear plan of how, what and when their resolution is achievable.

Losing weight may have a start and an end date, but leading a healthy lifestyle requires ongoing commitment and determination. Time and effort will need to be invested in a lasting food and exercise plan.

For example, people may decide to join the gym, drink plenty of water, eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, go jogging and walk the dog that little bit further. Although, with a list this long they are heading for disappointment!

Making too many commitments will put goals out of reach and people could become demotivated or slip back to their old ways.

It is far more realistic to focus on one or two key areas for improvement, especially those that are achievable and that they will enjoy most.

Become more organised

Getting organised is perhaps the easiest resolution to uphold. For some it can be as simple as using a weekly planner or a diary to keep on top of a busy schedule. Writing to-do lists and reminders can not only make them more organised, but can also make them feel more calm and in control.

Planning and preparation are key to good organisation and can be applied to almost anything, from making lunch the night before to packing a gym bag in advance. These may sound like simple tasks but they could make the world of difference.   

Build a financial plan

Sorting out finances is also among the most popular and arguably the most important New Year’s Resolutions, but what does it really mean?

For some it could mean improving a financial situation, such as tackling debt, and for others it could mean saving money for a big life event, such as a wedding.

Whatever the financial goals are, without a plan of action they are unlikely to become reality. There are a number of different ways to build a strategy that clearly outlines how to achieve financial objectives.

Considering the objective to tackle debt, one such strategy could be to increase the monthly loan repayments clearing the debt sooner. For example, if someone has debt of £5,000 at 17% interest and is currently paying back £120 per month it will take around 5 years to pay off the loan. If they were to increase their monthly repayments to £200 the loan will be paid off in approximately 2 ½ years, saving over £1,000 in interest. That’s £1,000 that could be accumulating interest in a savings account.

An alternative plan to tackle debt could be to consolidate the debts and refinance. For example, someone who has 2 or more different sources of debt at different interest rates could combine them to make the debt more manageable. Refinancing to a loan or credit card with a lower interest rate could significantly reduce the overall amount to be repaid.

For people over the age of 55, a third option could be to release cash from a pension. With this option they may be eligible to release up to 25% tax-free cash. This could be an effective way to tackle or clear high-interest debt as:

  • It could free up the money they currently spend on monthly repayments
  • They could be better off in the long-term as it might reduce the amount of interest they would have to pay on the loan
  • They may be able to retire debt-free

Not all pensions are eligible for pension release, so seeking regulated financial advice is essential.

The first step to using a pension release as part of a financial plan is to have a no obligation review to find out if this is a suitable option for you.

So there you have it: how to achieve four of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions, but for a sure-fire way to crack any resolution take a look at our 8 top tips:

 

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