A few days ago, I discussed why so many New Year’s resolutions fail: it comes down to excess resolutions and a lack of a realistic plan filled with milestones. With that in mind, I have defined three resolutions for the coming year, along with plans for being successful in following these resolution.
I resolve to give up fast food.
While I reduced my fast food eating in 2006, the convenience of it made it difficult to give up entirely. I’ve been trying out various methods for replacing the convenience of fast food in my lifestyle and I’ve hit on a variety of little things that work. I believe that using them in concert will eliminate the expense of fast food in my life.
The plan: The metric here is impossibly easy: did I eat fast food or not? If I’m ever tempted to eat, I’ll just turn away and do something else.
I resolve to buy a house with a minimal interest debt.
To do this, I need to consolidate a number of different investments, plus borrow some funds from my retirement account (you can take a loan from your retirement, then pay it back at a low interest rate). The goal is to maximize the down payment so I can minimize the overall interest rate.
The plan: I’m meeting with a financial planner next month to get all of my funds straight, then we will do our home shopping in the spring with a budget already in mind. It looks like we have a strong 20% down payment for our first home, which is a true blessing.
I resolve to double my investment in my Vanguard 500 aside from its earnings.
Just recently, I dove into my first mutual fund, the Vanguard 500. Right now, I’ve invested $3,600 of my own money in the fund. In the coming year, I plan on at least matching that amount. Plus, once I reach the $10K mark, I no longer have to pay the $2.50 quarterly maintenance fee, so I would like to cross that mark as early as possible.
The plan: $3,600 over 12 months means $300 per month. I’ve already set up an automatic investment plan for more than that amount ($600 a month, right now) so that later in the year (for example, around the time of my home purchase), I can reduce the automatic deduction.
So, what are your resolutions, and what is your plan for making them successful?