Whether your goal this year is to save up for something special, or to improve your health, we’ve looked at a range of techniques to help you succeed at two of the big New Year's resolutions.
1. Set a specific savings goal
Generally putting money into savings is never a bad idea, but it helps to have a specific goal in mind. Even if it’s not for a particular event or purchase, it’s good to have an amount to aim for. It can also help to tell a friend or loved one about your goal so you’ll be more likely to stick to it.
2. Create a timeline for your savings goal
Some saving goals will have a natural end point, but even if there isn’t, set one. A deadline will help you focus, whereas an open-ended goal may never happen.
3. Set smaller monthly/fortnightly saving targets to keep you on track
Breaking your overall goal into smaller chunks can make reaching it easier. To keep yourself on track for the mini-milestones, set up automatic transfers to your savings account (every pay day for example) so you won’t forget. Making other small changes to your routine can help too. For example, instead of buying a morning coffee, you could transfer the equivalent amount into your savings.
4. Use the right savings tools
We’re not talking about piggy banks or swear jars (although every little bit helps). You might reach your goal faster by trying things like:
- A bank account that gives you various options to save automatically, for example by having money automatically put into your savings when you use your debit card
- Setting up youth accounts so the kids can save and your family’s savings aren’t all in one account
5. Regularly review your progress
Set a reminder to check your progress regularly. That way you’ll know early on whether you need to pick up the pace, rather than waiting until further down the line when it might be too late to catch up.
With a solid savings plan in place, reaching your goal can be a much easier task. And if you need a hand getting your savings plan up and running, including setting up accounts and automatic transactions, we can help you find the right options.Compare savings accounts
Important information: Please note that this is only intended as a general guide in relation to issues you may want to consider when saving. It is not intended to be an exhaustive list of all relevant issues and you should take into account your own particular circumstances, and obtain independent expert advice where needed, before proceeding.
How many times have we adopted a New Year’s resolution to get fit or lose weight, but lost focus a few weeks in? We asked top healthcare experts how to succeed in developing a new, healthy habit that’s both achievable and sustainable.
1. Identify the current habits you need to change and why
Kate Pollard, dietitian and nutritionist at the Centre for Integrative Health in Brisbane, recommends asking the question: “What does this habit give me that I don’t get otherwise?” For example, regularly snacking on unhealthy food might provide comfort from sadness or loneliness. The next question is: “How can I get this comfort without resorting to that habit?”
2. Set a specific goal
Kate’s advice is to focus on a specific aspect of your health you would like to improve. Examples might include increasing energy levels, being more active, improving sleep patterns or your diet.
3. Take simple, positive actions focused on your goals
Kate offers simple measures to get the ball rolling, such as taking lunch to work at least three times a week, thinking and talking positively about your body or committing to regular exercise.
4. Make time for relaxation
It might be for two minutes or two hours and involve an activity you enjoy such as walking or meditation.
5. Get supportive people on your team
There’s nothing more encouraging than having empathetic, non-judgmental family and friends supporting you, says Dr Peta Stapleton, associate professor in the School of Psychology at Bond University. She says it can also help to share new activities with likeminded friends.
6. Keep a journal
Writing down your thoughts or daily activities, no matter how brief, has been linked to a range of health benefits, including those related to anxiety and depression.
7. Reward yourself
Dr Stapleton says it’s okay to reward yourself for adopting and maintaining a positive health habit. “Get a massage or listen to your favourite music,” she says. “Do something you enjoy that acknowledges and reward your efforts.”