New year, new me, new resolutions

Think back to this time last year—did you make any resolutions? Better yet, did you stick with any of them? As the year closes out, people look forward to starting fresh, but the plans we make to better our lives are often hard to follow through with—especially when it comes to our finances. 

Driving the news: A new survey found that 22% of Canadians are looking to reset their financial habits in the new year, focusing on investing, saving more money, and sticking to stricter budgets.

  • 6% are looking to earn more money by moving up in their careers.

Why it’s happening: People are prioritizing financial resolutions in 2023 because all signs point to another “r” word that’s been thrown around a lot lately—recession.

  • Here’s the tricky thing about a recession—it’s defined by what economists call “lagging indicators,” meaning we won’t know we’re in one until after it’s begun.

Why it matters: Whether we officially enter a recession next year or not, Canadians feel squeezed, searching for ways to regain control over their finances. Establishing resolutions for the new year allows you to reflect and focus on what you’d like the next 12 months to look like. 

Yes, but: They sure are hard to stick to—almost 70% of Canadians who made resolutions for 2022 weren’t able to follow through, citing a lack of motivation as the main factor.

  • If you’re going to make resolutions (and the effort to see them through), try making them realistic and attainable.

Here’s how to set yourself up for success:

  • Think about why it’s important. It’s easy to say, “I want to save money by shopping less.” But if you connect that to a deeper value like “I want to shop less because financial security is more important to me than a new watch,” that goal will have more meaning. 
  • Establish how you’re going to make it happen. Maybe you want to invest more this year? Unless you bump up your salary, you’ll have to re-evaluate your spending habits. Maybe you need to finally cancel that gym membership you don’t use or delete delivery apps.
  • Think about what could throw you off track. I think this is one of the more complex parts of resolutions—life happens and sometimes throws a wrench in your plans. But taking the time to reflect on past failures can help you avoid them this year. 

Bottom line: The key to sticking with your resolutions is recognizing that persistence is more important than perfection. Reward yourself when you achieve a goal (or mini-goal) and leave room for failure—it’s a part of learning.