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How to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Stick

Two simple steps to help you accomplish your New Year's goals.

“If you plan to make any New Year’s resolutions, will you be able to keep them through January and beyond?

Forty-one percent of adult Americans make resolutions. But 91 percent fail to achieve their goals, according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute.

New Year’s Resolutions: Think Quality Not Quantity

Why is it so difficult to stick with your resolutions throughout the year?

It’s because you’re making two mistakes. The first is that you made too many resolutions, thus making it hard to focus on any single one. The second is trying to go it alone — not reaching out to anyone for help or encouragement.

Correct just those two mistakes and you’ll have the formula for success.

You should make only one resolution per year — two at most. Wouldn’t it be better to succeed at one or two than to fail at a half dozen? So decide on the one or two things that are most important to you, and focus your energy and attention on them.

Next, enlist help from others. Here’s why that’s important:

Say one resolution is to exercise more often — a common goal. But when you manage to show up at the gym, you give the workout a half-hearted try. Soon, you stop going.

That is why you mustn’t go it alone.

So if you’ve resolved to start a workout regimen, try hiring a personal trainer. Setting the appointment will increase the likelihood that you’ll show up. And the trainer will push you to work harder during the workout. Result: achievement of your goal.

Make Your New Year’s Resolutions Public

Here’s another tip: Don’t hide your resolution. Instead, tell family members and friends about it. Try to get an “accountability partner” — someone who gently checks in with you from time to time. It can be easy to break a promise to yourself, but much harder when you’ve made a promise to a family member or friend.

Seeking help applies to your financial resolutions too. That’s why so many people engage us as their financial planner. They rely on us for help achieving their financial goals.

However, a study by FINRA’s Investor Education Foundation found that only 56 percent of Americans rely on financial planners for guidance. That group includes not only rich people, but also those who want to become rich.

We at Edelman Financial Engines have many clients who were wealthy when they came to us, but we also have many who weren’t. Both groups knew hiring a financial planner could be of value.

If you have family or friends who don’t have a financial advisor or are considering making a change, discuss these points with them and have them give us a call. We’ll be glad to help them.

And if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to increase your savings, and you have assets besides those we currently manage for you, consider allowing us to help you manage those assets as well.

Meanwhile, remember the simple formula: Make only one or two resolutions and get someone to help. If you do only those two things, you’ll make it easier to achieve your goals!

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