Siddhartha Gautama, better known as the Buddha, is quoted as saying, “The mind is everything. What you think, you become.”
It’s sage advice that’s as true with your finances as it is with every other aspect of your life. Whether you’re heading into 2023 with specific resolutions or just a general goal of whipping yourself into financial shape, your chances of success are only as healthy as your money mindset.
Even the loftiest of financial goals are within reach if you’re willing to make just a few subtle tweaks to your mental relationship with the almighty dollar. So, do you want to change your life in 2023? Then change your money mindset first — here’s how.
Anything Worth Doing Is Difficult, so Prepare for Hard Work Ahead
The most common New Year’s resolutions deal with fitness and money, and they both share one common trait — there is no pill, no app, no gadget and no secret trick that can get you where you want to be if you’re not willing to put in the work.
“Accept that it won’t be easy,” said consumer finance expert Kyle Enright, president of Achieve Loans. “It’s good to have a positive attitude, but it’s self-defeating to think that changing habits will be easy. If it means sticking to a budget or cutting expenses, chances are that it likely will require some sacrifices. While it doesn’t mean you must live in anguish, it usually does require accepting some lifestyle changes, belt-tightening and commitment.”
People make resolutions when they’re overfed, overweight and overextended after the mad rush of the holiday season. They often set unrealistic goals based on promises of total financial or physical piety that most people won’t — and probably shouldn’t — maintain over the long term. Keep reality and your own nature in mind when you set your financial aspirations for the coming year.
“Keep goals small,” said Enright. “The goal to eventually cover at least six or nine months of base living expenses can be overwhelming to many people, who then give up on it. Instead, start small — even just $10 a week — and build gradually.”
If you’re serious about reaching your goals, you’ll start the new year with a budget. Here, too, you should base your mindset on the realities of your income, debt and lifestyle — not the image of the person you dream of being at this time next year.
“If your goal in the new year is to stick to a budget, ensure that the budget you’re creating is realistic,” said Jake Hill, CEO of DebtHammer. “Too often, people set unrealistic goals for themselves and then are surprised and disappointed when they can’t follow through. Instead, create a budget that reflects your income and expenses, including all your fixed and variable costs. Be sure to account for unexpected expenses and emergencies, and ensure that your budget is flexible enough to allow you to have some money left over for fun.”
Chad Willardson, a certified financial fiduciary for high-net-worth entrepreneurs and founder of Pacific Capital, believes you’re much more likely to achieve your money goals if you race to achieve them with someone who shares them. There are few things more valuable when the going gets tough than a partner to keep you on the straight-and-narrow path when your inspiration wanes.
“The number one shortcut to seeing your goals through is having an accountability partner that will hold your feet to the fire,” Willardson said. “This will always hold true whether it’s money, business, or health goals.”
He recommends two books by Dr. Benjamin Hardy — “Be Your Future Self Now” and “Who, Not How” — which outline why those with accountability partners are more likely to realize their financial resolutions.
“Determine who it is that will help you achieve your goals,” Willardson said. “Most of the time we set goals and start wondering how we can achieve them, which is why we stay stagnant. If we knew how to achieve them, we would have already.”
Cody Candee, founder and CEO of Bounce, agrees. “Your like-minded friends can help egg you on and become accountability partners,” he said.
“Saving money with friends makes it somewhat of a less boring and tedious initiative — it may help motivate you to follow through on your goal to change your spending habits for the better if you do so alongside people you trust and whose company you enjoy. Think of it like you and your buddies are planning a group vacation. You all come together to clarify financial expectations and make sure everyone keeps to the agreement. You call each other out in the process if someone is slacking. That’s what your friends can do for you and your financial goals this upcoming year as well,” said Candee.
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