Six ways to change the “January Blues” into a year of good news

January can be a challenging time due to financial stress over the holiday season. Find tips on how to reset the clock and address your money goals for the year ahead.

After the celebrations and cheer of the holiday season, the financial realities of the new year can have a dampening effect on any resolutions or plans. Follow these six tips to help you reset, recharge and achieve a positive start to the year, and promote increased productivity and happiness for the next 12 months.

1. Make a plan

Make a plan and write it down, even if it’s just a few lines in a journal. A plan will help to set a clear mindset of what you want the year to bring. Better yet, think how a successful year will position you for longer-term success. Creating a plan often reduces the anxiety and stress of dealing with the unknown. A clear plan will also help to keep you mindful of your money goals and keep overspending in check.

2. Create a budget

Financial stress can increase in January due to the higher expenses of the holiday season. Creating a budget can help reset and refocus on what you deem important for the upcoming year. A budget will also help to set goals and plan for things to look forward to in the future. For example, making a goal to take a family vacation in the summer will help you prioritize when and what you spend your money on throughout the year. And when you take that vacation, you will feel a sense of accomplishment.

3. Get the family involved

Getting everyone involved in family goal-setting is crucial. If you have kids, the new year is a great time to teach them about goal setting, budgeting and prioritizing. Ever since my kids were young, I would sit them down and talk to them about their plans and what their goals were, and what they wanted for the future. Being the CPA that I am, every year I would ask each kid if they wanted to take some of their money and invest it, offering to match whatever they invested. Most of the time I couldn’t get them to invest, but I think they got the message for later in life.

4. Start small

Thinking about something in its entirety can often be overwhelming. Small steps over time can lead to bigger impacts than most people realize. If your goal is to save more money, this can be achieved by prioritizing your spending and eliminating things you don’t need daily, like bought lunches or specialty coffees. It can also be waiting to spend money on the important things you need when they are on sale or making the effort to accumulate and use loyalty rewards to buy what you need.

5. Record your success

Part of sticking to a plan is setting milestones and recording when you achieve them. Keeping track of your success is important and will motivate you moving forward. The thing to remember is to be mindful of where you are and what your future goal is. Keep your mind on the prize, do well on your plan and be mindful where there are opportunities for improvement. Remember it is easier to achieve a lot of small successes rather than a few big ones, and you can still get to the same desired outcome.

6. Stay positive

One of the things I have learnt over the years is that a positive attitude will carry you through the year and open up door after door. I have tried to teach my kids there is always a “plan b” and hidden solutions are found when things don’t go according to plan. You may not always be able to control the outcomes, but you can control how you react to them. Be positive and thrive by recovering from the things that didn’t go according to the original plan. It helps me to stay positive by recognizing that the best outcomes, those that put you on a new and better path, often occur only after you experience a failure.

KEEP THE CONVERSATION GOING

Do you plan for the year every January, and do you think of contingencies if things go wrong?  Post a comment below.

 

Disclaimer

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect that of CPA Canada.

About the Author

Tony Canapini, CPA, CA

Tony worked in the corporate world in telecommunications and financial services for over 25 years. He opened his small business consulting firm in 2008, specializing in financial and management consulting, mobile software development and turnaround management restructuring.