Thirty days.That’s roughly the amount of time the average American sticks to his or her New Year’s resolution.
If we’re honest about our financial New Year’s resolutions – like saving money, organizing our finances better, or laying off the credit cards – many of us will admit that we might not even make 30 days.
But what if there was a way to jump-start your finances in 2012 so that even if your willpower waned after a month or so, you’d still be enormously ahead of the game?
Actually, there are several steps you can take to greatly improve your chances of achieving your financial goals in the coming year.
Here are three powerful ways to turbocharge your finances in 2012. These strategies can also help you make the most out of just 30 days in the New Year.
1. Give yourself a one-month challenge
Behavioral experts say it takes about three or four weeks for you to do something repeatedly, and have that action turn into a habit that lasts. So give yourself a one-month challenge to do, or stop doing, something in order to improve your finances.
If you want to start a good habit, try logging your expenses daily to better track your spending. Alternatively, you could carpool to work or even just put every dollar you get into a savings jar each day. Remember, you only have to do it for one month.
At the end of 30 days, you can always stop or tweak what you’re doing. But you will likely be so satisfied with the benefits of your newfound habit that you will decide to stick with it for the long haul.
To eliminate a bad habit, like overspending, consider not visiting your favorite retail store for 30 days, not carrying your credit cards with you each day to avoid impulse shopping, or not eating out at all for one month.
2. Join a financial boot camp
For the ultimate month-long challenge, and to achieve financial fitness, join a financial boot camp.
One option is MyMoneyCircles.com, a free, four-week boot camp that guides you to financial health one step at a time. As aMoney Coach, I’m proud to lead this online boot camp, along with a team of other personal finance experts.
In just one month, we help you address some of your most pressing financial questions and concerns, and deal with your most stubborn financial challenges. For example, you’ll learn how to save money quickly on your immediate and long-term bills, including groceries, communications, housing and more.
You’ll get the skinny on how to manage credit and debt wisely. You’ll figure out what you need to do to adequately protect you, your family and your assets against unforeseen circumstances like a layoff or illness. And you’ll get a game plan to save more money for retirement and other future-oriented financial goals.
The boot camp includes community groups that let you to connect (anonymously) with other like-minded people who share your same financial goals. And while MyMoneyCircles is designed to keep you accountable and on track financially, a range of resources, quizzes and tools also make the process doable and fun.
3. Get started now
Why wait until January 1, April 15, or some other arbitrary date in the future to begin fixing your finances? Start taking charge of your money matters today just by adopting this motto: “Think-Do.”
Simply put, it means when you think of something you know you should do, or need to do, go ahead and tackle that task immediately. Think-Do.
For instance, if you’ve been too scared to check your credit report, you can order it online today from AnnualCreditReport.com. Done.
If you’ve neglected to buy much-needed life insurance, you can get life insurance quotes today from Insure.com. Done.
Of if you’ve put off organizing your tax records, you can start gathering your receipts and financial paperworktoday. Done.
Exactly what you do isn’t as important as doing something – and doing so today.
If you put the “Think-Do” strategy into practice for 30 days, you’ll be amazed at how much gets accomplished.
By taking just one small but powerful action step, you push past the inertia and inaction that cripples many people financially. Instead of procrastinating important financial goals month after month, you’ll be addressing many of those issues in just 30 days flat.
So instead of making and breaking financial New Year’s resolutions, this time simply put these three ideas into practice for one month – and watch your finances reach another level of success in 2012 and beyond.