Young girl with glasses planning her new exciting future in 2018

New year, new you? How to create (and stick to) a financial resolution.

If you’ve ever made a New Year’s resolution, you’re probably well aware that more than 50% of all resolutions fail.

But yours doesn’t have to. Here’s how to set the right financial resolution for you and create a plan to stick to it so you can join the ranks of people who successfully achieve their goals.

Be SMART about it

Before you start making a list of all the things you want to improve in the new year, take a step back to see where you really need to focus your attention. If making resolutions isn’t something that you’ve done before, or you haven’t successfully stuck to a resolution, then it’s best to start with just one.

Think about your long-term financial goals, what you’d like your finances to look like in 12 months’ time, or any big-ticket purchases you need to save for.

Once you’ve figured out which financial aspect of your life needs attention, it’s time to make a solid plan - and it’s as easy as using a simple acronym: S.M.A.R.T.


“I want to save more this year”, isn’t too helpful if you’re working towards something specific. Instead, decide exactly how much you want to save so that you’ve got an exact number to aim for during the year.


This aspect should be pretty easy when you’re making financial resolutions. Set milestones to split your goal into manageable sized pieces. Instead of directly aiming and focusing on saving a total by the end of the year, create a mini goal that you need to reach each month or week, to help you track your progress throughout the year. Consider aligning your mini goals with when you get paid.


Many people make unrealistic goals and only realise later that we may not be able to meet them in time. Unless you’re confident you’re going to win the lotto this year, make sure that the goal you set is reasonable for your current financial situation.


Your resolution should be centred upon the main financial issue that you’re currently facing. By easing yourself of financial stress according to highest priority, you’ll find yourself in a better financial position quite quickly.


Most importantly, you need to set a due date for yourself. Without a deadline, you might be tempted to let your goal slide and make excuses for not achieving it. Whether it is in few weeks or several months, setting a specific due date will help you to be proactive with your financial decisions so that you reach your goal in time.

What does a SMART goal look like?

It’s easy to put SMART together to create your goal. For example, if you want to save $10,000 your goal might look like:

By 31 December 2023, I will save $10,000 towards a house deposit. To reach my goal, I will need to save $192.30 each week.

Give yourself an extra push

A key aspect to developing good habits is to set reminders for yourself. It may help to stick your goal to the fridge or onto your door so it will always be visible.

If your goal isn’t something private, tell a friend or someone close. This will keep you accountable and make sure you keep yourself on track. Your friend likely has a goal too and you can motivate each other. If you have any concerns about your financial situation, a free chat with a financial counsellor may provide you with guidance and help as you work to reach your goal.

Make a plan

If your financial goal is to do with saving more money, the best tool you can use is a budget.

This will give you an idea of how much you spend day-to-day and what you might need to change to meet your goal in time. Our Budget Planner Calculator can help you to work this out. To give your savings an extra push, make sure your savings account is earning a higher interest rate so you can save a little extra.

Making automated payments into your savings account, as well as extra payments like your tax refund or when you have money left at the end of a pay period, can help you to reach your savings goals quicker than expected.

Don’t forget to celebrate

Working towards a goal can sometime feel like hard work so it’s important to celebrate your achievements. Set milestones every month or so, and decide on what your reward will be ahead of time so you won’t be tempted to do any unnecessary splurging.

It’s never too late to start making positive changes to your financial situation. It doesn’t matter if you’ve missed 1 January, today is the day you can get back on track to reaching your financial goals.

Important information

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