Monday Motivation: Tools for Keeping Your Financial New Years Resolutions

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motivationmondaysmEvery year, it’s the same old New Years Resolution story: start the first week January off with a bang, slowly taper down as the weeks go by, and lose complete steam in February. By the time March hits, you may be asking yourself, “What were my resolutions again?”

But this year is different. No, really – it is! Because this year, you’re going to take advantage of all the great apps, websites and strategies out there to help you change your behavior and actually stick to those good habits beyond the big New Years Resolution push in January.

If you’re looking for a boost to get you past the 30-day mark on your resolutions, here are some tips and tools to help you stick to your 2014 New Years plans:

Lift – Lift helps you build better habits, one small step at a time, through a sleek habit-forming app available on iPhone, Android and the web. Simply select a small habit you’d like to create (like taking a 10 minute walk everyday after dinner) and then plug your goal into Lift. You can then track your progress by checking off each microtask after you’ve completed it. Cleaned out your inbox to zero before hitting the hay at night? Took time to write a journal entry or meditate in the morning? Check that off your daily Lift list. You’ll be able to monitor about how well you’re sticking to your habits with neat graphs and you can even invite your friends to help keep you accountable and cheer you on.

Accountability Buddy – Okay, this isn’t technically an app or a website, but getting an accountability buddy is one of the most effective strategies to sticking to your New Years Resolution. Finding someone that is willing to help keep you accountable, review your progress and motivate you to stick to your goal combines two very powerful forces: 1) a public declaration of intent (making you more accountable than just to yourself) and 2) the intense peer pressure to not fail in front of your friends. Finding a buddy that also has a similar New Years resolution – like weight loss or money management – can be an especially powerful strategy to keeping you both committed.

Level Money – Level is like the digital personal trainer for personal finance. This real-time app helps you frame your everyday spending decisions – like grabbing a latte before work – into the broader context of your long-term financial goals. Level automatically updates your daily “money meter” with the amount of cash you can spend based on the purchases you make daily, weekly and monthly. It provides a simple picture of how your small purchases impact your big picture financial future. If you want an easy-to-digest, real-time snapshot of your financial health, Level is the app for you.

Announce your resolutions to the world – Again, this is technically not a product or website that provides you with a magical solution, but it’s a very powerful force to help you stick to your resolutions. Like an accountability buddy, there’s something about saying your goal aloud, even to just one other person, that helps you commit to seeing it through. Multiply that effect across multiple people (or even your entire social network) and you have a large group of peers that are now ready to cheer you on – or kick you in the butt if you need the extra motivation.