Have you made a New Years Resolution this year?
If you have, then just have a think about it for a moment – have you set realistic targets for yourself or are your goals going to be a real stretch? Because if your resolution is too difficult and you struggle too much then you’re going to get disheartened in no time at all and you’ll just give up completely.
I’m going to use the savings challenge that’s doing the rounds at the moment as an example? You start in week one saving just £1 which is totally achievable but every week you’re supposed to save an extra pound, so week two would be £2, week ten would be £10 and so on until you get to week fifty two which would be £52! Really!
I get that the idea is that by gradually building up the savings you’ll not miss the money as much but how many people can say they could put £52 in their savings account when in the previous three weeks they will have already saved £49, £50 and £51? That’s £202 saved in the most expensive month of the year!
It certainly wouldn’t happen here so that’s why I wouldn’t set something like that as a target because when I think about it, I’m honest enough with myself to know that I would probably struggle by month 3 or 4 and would just end up giving up and using the money I’d saved so far for something else.
BTW I have my own affordable savings challenge if you are looking for something similar to this one that is much more manageable. That’s not why I mentioned this as an example but seeing as I have… 😉
Shopping budgets are another thing that people often set targets on that are very difficult to achieve. You see people online sharing their budgets for shopping and randomly decide that you can reduce your budget to that straight away but it’s not that easy.
I know my shopping budget needs reducing because it went out of the window after my operation last year but equally I know that if I was to set my shopping target too low that I would struggle to reduce what I’m spending now to what I would want to be spending. When my weekly shopping budget was at it’s lowest, I was cooking from scratch, spending time looking for reduced food bargains, batch cooking and being generally much more organised with what we have in the freezer. I do want to be doing all that again but I’ve only just gone back to work after having most of the second half of last year off ill so I know January is going to be a busy busy catch up month where I will be all over the place and probably more than a little overwhelmed.
For that reason I know that, for me at least, there’s no point trying to achieve a super low target because I just won’t but I do want to do something to get me moving in the right direction. I’ve looked at how much we spend on food shopping in November by checking my bank statement (December’s would be higher for Christmas) and I’ve set January’s target to reduce that by 10%. I could set it a little lower but I’ll be trying to do some batch cooking too for the freezer so I’ll be buying more than I need on some weeks. I’ll reassess every month and at some point in the not too distant future, I hope that our shopping budget will be back to what it was.
Weight loss, getting fit, learning new skills, travelling – they’re all things that many of us set ourselves hard to achieve targets on. See what you’ve resolved to achieve this year and then really think about whether it’s achievable.
I’m not saying that you can’t achieve absolutely anything you want to achieve because you can, you really can. What I’m saying is that you need to work at it and if you set realistic targets, you’re more likely to stick to them and achieve your goal in the long run.
Does any of that even make sense to anyone but me? 😉
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