Set yourself up for financial success in the New Year

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

The New Year marks the beginning of new goals, opportunities and exciting adventures. For some, it is a time of reflection on past experiences, accomplishments and failures. For most, the New Year is a time to determine and undertake new improvements and to set new financial goals. Staying focused enough to accomplish the goals you have set for yourself is often the hard part. In fact, research shows that 37 percent of consumers don’t keep the resolutions they initially set.

MMI offers a step-by-step guide to turning resolutions into action-oriented steps that make achieving financial success in 2011 a reality. New Beginnings: A Guide to Getting Your Finances in Order for the New Year is a free online eBook written to address America’s top New Year’s resolution: managing debt.

Below are some tips from the New Beginnings eBook to help you kick the New Year off right!

Be specific. Wanting to save more is great, but if you end up saving merely a third of what you initially intended, you really did not accomplish your goal. Focus on practical goals with measurable results. Clearly stating your goals and how you intend to achieve them will keep your resolutions realistic.

Have a strategy. Financial goals can be overwhelming. It is important to break the big goals down. If your target is to save $2,500 for the year, plan to put away $50 a week. This will help you create a realistic budget that you can stick to and help you feel less discouraged; you will actually see yourself making progress toward your goal.

Stay committed. Remind yourself of your goals on a regular basis. At the very least, you should write them down and post them where they can be seen everyday. If one of your goals is to buy a new car, or do some home improvements, it may not be a bad idea to surround yourself with photographs of what you are striving to achieve.

Budget, budget, budget. You cannot talk about financial goals without talking about the importance of budgeting. The first step in creating a budget is determining what will work for you. Being realistic about expenses and your spending is the foundation in helping to maintain a healthy budget. Consider tracking your expenses for two weeks so you can identify areas where you can cut back.

Finally, expect a challenge when trying to achieve new goals, but don’t give up. The opportunity to create new resolutions only comes around once a year. Once you have decided what you want to accomplish, be confident. Remember, a little discipline can help you enjoy a happy and prosperous New Year.