A smarter idea: Before the upcoming season sucks all the energy and clarity from your brain, take a moment (like now) to breathe (in…out) and summon three personal and financial goals that really matter to you for 2012.
- Why breathe first? Being calmly resolved helps you to succeed—as opposed to being rushed and emotional, research suggests. (Yes, vowing to spend less because you’re panicked over your Visa bill feels do-or-die, but it’s not an effective way to make a plan.)
- Why three? Because the research done on resolutions suggests that you’re more likely to succeed with a smaller number. One is fine.
- Why “personal and financial”? By making your financial goals deeply personal, you’re more likely to stick to ‘em. Seems obvious, but it’s always tempting to fall back on vague promises: I will, er, save more! Yeah, but by making it personally specific, you up the odds that you’ll do it! Own your goals: “I will spend less on X, so I can do more of Y.”