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Posted on January 02, 2008

The New Year marks the beginning of new goals, opportunities, and exciting adventures. For some, it is a time of reflection on past experiences, accomplishments, and failures. For others, the New Year is a time to determine and undertake new improvements and to set new financial goals.

Setting financial resolutions and keeping them are two different issues. It’s easy to know what you want and to get excited about your New Year’s aspirations. The hard part is staying focused enough to accomplish the goals you have set for yourself. In fact, research shows that 37 percent of consumers don’t keep the resolutions they initially set. With this in mind, plan carefully, stay focused, and make this New Year’s commitments stick by taking a little advice from the experts at Money Management International (MMI):

Be specific. Wanting to save more is great, but if you end up saving merely a third of what you initially intended you really did not accomplish your goal. Focus on practical goals with measurable results. Clearly stating your goals and how you intend to achieve them will keep your resolutions realistic.

Have a strategy. Financial goals can be overwhelming. It is important to break the big goals down. If your target is to save $2,500 for the year, plan to put away $50 a week. This will help you create a realistic budget that you can stick to and help you feel less discouraged. You will actually see yourself making progress toward your goal.

Stay committed. Remind yourself of your goals on a regular basis. At the very least, you should write them down and post them where they can be seen everyday. If one of your goals is to buy a new car, or do some home improvements, it may not be a bad idea to surround yourself with photographs of your goals.

Budget, budget, budget. You cannot talk about financial goals without talking about the importance of budgeting. The first step in creating a budget is determining what will work for you. Being realistic about expenses and your spending is key. Consider tracking your expenses for two weeks so you can identify areas where you can cut back.

“Expect a challenge when trying to achieve new goals, but don’t give up,” said Cate Williams, vice president of financial literacy at MMI. “The opportunity to create new resolutions only comes around once a year. Once you have decided what you want to accomplish, be confident. Remember, a little discipline can help you enjoy a happy and prosperous New Year.”

For additional tips on how to achieve your financial goals for 2008 attend MMI’s free Webinar, “New Year’s Resolution: Put your debt on a diet,” on January 8 at 9:00 p.m. EST. Simply visit www.MoneyManagement.org and click on “Live Webinars” on the left hand navigation. Webinar attendees will learn how to prioritize financial goals, develop budgets and pay down debt.

About Money Management International

Money Management International (MMI) is a nonprofit, full-service credit-counseling agency, providing confidential financial guidance, financial education, and counseling services; including housing counseling, bankruptcy counseling and education, and debt management assistance. MMI has been helping consumers trim their expenses, develop a spending plan and repay debts since 1958. Counseling is available by appointment in branch offices and 24/7 by telephone and Internet. Services are available in both English and Spanish. To learn more, call 800.432.7310 or visit www.MoneyManagement.org.