Did you make a New Year’s resolution for yourself this year? Of course, you did! Everybody does.
Now, did you make a New Year’s resolution for your business this year? Maybe not, but you should, and here’s why.

The start of the new year is a trigger for most people to change their behavior patterns, and it’s a pivot that can lead you to increased financial success.

So, what can you do to tilt the odds in your favor to remain on track the entire year?
According to Entrepreneur Magazine, here are 5 keys to making your New Year’s financial resolutions stick.

1. Real, permanent change comes from within rather than from outside pressure.
We all know this is true, so what we need to do is take the concept upon ourselves and internalize it. It takes 3 weeks to make a good habit (or break a bad one!), so internalize the belief and then make processes around it.

It’s about breaking old patterns, gathering new thoughts, and changing your trajectory.

A lot of this is rooted in psychology, but from a financial standpoint, it really matters. Where your mindset is has an impact on where you take your business.

2. Enlist friends to help you stay on track
Friends help friends stick to their plans. This is your outside support network – not only friends, but also your advisory team. So, if you’ve got a board of advisors or other accountability partners that can help you, share with them what your goals are so you can have regular check-ins. Maybe it’s a monthly coffee, or a monthly phone call.

What’s going to help keep you accountable to your goal? Usually sharing it with others (your business partner, your trusted advisor group, whoever it happens to be) helps you stay on track.

3. The carrot-and-stick approach to staying on track
This means setting incentives (the carrot) and consequences (the stick) for either sticking to your commitments or breaking them. Figure out what that looks like – if it’s something that helps you stay on track, put it in play.

For some people, having accountability partners is good enough, but some people need this extra incentive to build discipline and help them stay on track through the year (after all, this is a 12-month commitment!)

4. Skip the pity party when you fall short
Don’t forget that sometimes you will fall short. Remember – you’re in it for the long haul. Get back on track, get back on the horse, and keep moving forward.

Don’t say “Oh no, I can’t do this, because one day I fell off the wagon.” It’s not that bad. You can always set a course correction to put you back on the path to success.

5. Don’t set yourself up for failure by insisting on an all-or-nothing change
All-or-nothing is dangerous, because it gives you an excuse to get off the wagon for good and never achieve what you set out to achieve previously. You want to keep that 12-month timeline in mind.

If you have a couple of little failures along the way, that should not derail your progress, and it should not be an all-or-nothing proposition.

The goal is to achieve what you can and keep moving the trajectory upward, whether it’s profitability, sales, or something else.
If you fall short in the end – say you wanted a 20% increase and you achieved 15% instead, pat yourself on the back! That’s still an improvement. You may not have actually made your budget, but what you can do is take a step back and learn from it. What caused you to have that gap, that underachievement?

Maybe you’re holding yourself back, maybe something happened along the way that was outside your control. If circumstances turned around, would you be able to take that 5% miss and turn it into an additional 5% gain over the next year?

Analyze and dissect each failure in order to better understand what caused it, and then take that into consideration when you’re building your next set of goals and objectives, as well as your budget.

Your CPA Shouldn’t Be Your CFO!

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