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Forget the gym! Here are 2 New Year’s resolutions that can last

Sebastian Bowen

I think joining a gym has to be, without a doubt, the most popular New Year’s resolution out there – it’s bordering on cliché. Accentuating this cliché is the equally well-known fact that the gyms around Australia are usually about half as full by February compared with their 2 January numbers.

That’s why I save my annual trek to the gym for March – less competition for the rowing machines.

In all seriousness, I think there are better ways to spend your mental capital this New Year’s than a fleeting gym membership. After the excesses of Christmas, tightening the financial belt is something well worth spending early January doing, in my view.

So, here are two New Year’s resolutions that have the potential to give your bank account a welcome flex.

Take control of your debt

As we all know, Christmas is a time of full bellies and empty wallets. Many people might have even resorted to using the ‘emergency’ credit card to help bridge the gap. But a pile of debt attracting an interest rate north of 20% is one hangover you won’t want on New Year’s Day. You can’t hope to build wealth if you’re losing money on high-interest debt.

Thus, I think clearing all of your December debts (outside the mortgage, of course) would be a great way to kick off the 2020s. Don’t let your last legacy of the decade be a mountain of bills!

Make a regular investment plan

One of the greatest obstacles to long-term financial freedom is an exhaustion of willpower, in my opinion. Making sudden, severe cuts to your spending on the back of a new budget is one of the quickest routes to failure – its like starting to train for a marathon by running 40 kilometres on the first day. Spoiler: it’s not going to end well.

So instead of deciding to cut $1,000 from your weekly spending, a better idea (in my view) would be to set up an automatic transfer of say $100 or $200 a week into an out-of-sight account. That way you can check it every few months and be surprised at how you didn’t miss that $100 in the first place. After that, you can increase it even more.

Foolish takeaway

Although it might be trendy to join the 2 January queue at your local Muscle Beach, I think a far more productive New Year’s resolution lies in the 2 suggestions above.

I’m not taking away from the importance of keeping fit and healthy of course (and I have nothing against gyms either). Just don’t make the same mistakes as many did last year and have nothing to show for New Year’s Day 2020 when 2021 rolls around.

The post Forget the gym! Here are 2 New Year’s resolutions that can last appeared first on Motley Fool Australia.

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Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

The Motley Fool's purpose is to help the world invest, better. Click here now for your free subscription to Take Stock, The Motley Fool's free investing newsletter. Packed with stock ideas and investing advice, it is essential reading for anyone looking to build and grow their wealth in the years ahead. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson. 2019