thinkmoney's 2013 resolutions challenge: could you do it?
Published 27 December 2012 by Helen Gradwell
Making New Year's resolutions could help you to save money and live better. thinkmoney carried out some research into the subject. Plus, we've come up with a 2013 resolutions challenge for you.
If you're wondering how you can improve yourself during the New Year, we might be able to help. We've come up with a 2013 resolutions challenge for you to try - based on our research.
So here it is: if you're finding it difficult to pick a New Year's resolution, why not try them all?
This may sound daunting, but we don't mean all at once! When we did our survey, we noticed that although 21% think they're going to keep their resolution for the whole year, 15% reckon they will probably last three weeks to a month.
This has inspired us to come up with our 2013 twelve-month resolutions challenge. You don't have to follow it exactly, but it might prove a handy guide when you're drawing up your own challenge.
The basic idea is to try each resolution for as long as you can (but ideally a month), and then if you don't like it - or you want to try a different one - move onto the next. Once you've tried all of the challenges you'll have a better idea of the kind of resolution you actually want to follow for the rest of the year - and perhaps beyond.
January: quit drinking
After going all-out over Christmas, you might be feeling a bit 'delicate'. So why not follow the example of the 9% of our respondents whose plans for 2013 involve cutting out the booze?
While you're embracing sobriety, you can also take advantage of great charity events like the Dryathalon. Get your mates to sponsor your efforts and you're probably much more likely to be successful.
You might feel better by the end of the month - plus you'll save some money too. For example, if you usually drink an average of eight pints per week at £3.00 per pint at your local pub, you could save around £100 by quitting in January.
Click here for some handy tips from Drinkaware to help you cut down.
February: sort your budget out
When asked how they're going to manage their 2013 finances, 55% of those surveyed said they want to budget better.
We think that February is the perfect time for this - as it's cold outside and there's nothing much else to do. Sit down and draw up your New Year budget. Look at how much you earn compared with how much you spend, and identify areas where you could realistically cut back. Perhaps, like 41% of our respondents, you should shop around to find the best deal on your gas or electricity, phone tariff or insurance.
Once your budget is up and running, you might find that you can save some money each month - so make sure you set up a savings account like 30% of the people we surveyed plan to.
March: run every day
For 19% of the people we surveyed, getting fit was the main priority for 2013. So we suggest trying to run every day during the month of March. March is a good time to run, because the weather is cool but not (usually…) too vile. Start off small - with whatever you're comfortable with - and try and build it up as you go along. For example, either try and run for a longer distance, or try to run a certain distance without stopping at all.
See how far you can run by the end of the month! The best thing about running is it's totally free, so it won't dent your budget.
April: it's sports month
The 19% of respondents who said they wanted to get fit partly planned to do it by engaging in more sports.
So as it gets just a little warmer (in theory) try and do one different sport each week. As an example you could hire out a football pitch or have a kickabout in week one, play badminton during week two, try a martial art in week three and go cycling during week four. You don't have to do sports every day, but try and do four different sports during the month.
May: quit smoking
7% of the people we asked said that they want to quit smoking in 2013. We think that May could be a good time to do this, as it might be quite nice outside and there will be more distractions.
If you want to kick your smoking habit, click here for NHS advice that could help you.
If you manage to stop smoking, and you usually buy four 20-packs of £6.50 cigarettes per week, you could save over £100 in May.
June: eat more healthily
29% of the respondents to our survey said that they want to go on a diet to lose weight in 2013.
June could be a good time to do this, as you can pair up your healthy eating with some nice walks.
Cut out takeaways, ready meals and other unhealthy stuff, and try making your own. Use fresh produce and keep an eye on fat levels, calories, sodium, etc. in your food - and cut down on your portions if you think it's sensible to do so.
Buying ingredients to make your food from scratch is often much cheaper than getting a takeaway or ready meal, too.
July: improve yourself
This sounds dauntingly vague, but don't worry. We noticed that 17% of our respondents are determined to improve themselves in the New Year in one way or another.
Some of them (12%) want to learn a new skill or hobby in the name of self-development. Others (5%) want to educate themselves and/or get a qualification to further their career.
It's likely that you'll only want to do one or the other, so it's up to you to choose.
Dedicate the month of July to learning about something you've always wanted to - whether that's playing the guitar or operating heavy machinery (in a safe environment from a qualified instructor, obviously).
Depending on what you're learning, you could motivate yourself by either:
- Thinking about how your new skill/qualification/knowledge could get you further in your career, perhaps to a new position or new salary.
- Planning a performance. If your hobby/skill is something that can be 'performed' (like juggling or playing the piano - or both at the same time), promise your friends a performance at the end of the month. This might be a bit terrifying (if it's too terrifying, then perhaps you should give this tip a miss) but it will motivate you to practise. Plus, it might be fun.
So, in the first seven months of 2013, you'll have tried all the main resolutions that people tend to make (according to our survey) in turn.
For the last five months, you should pick your 'favourite' resolution and try to see it through to the end of the year. Which one saved you the most money, made you feel great or improved your life most significantly?
If you're feeling ambitious, you might even try and stick to more than one - but try not to overwhelm yourself. Who knows how your life could change by the end of next year?
Are you planning on sticking to a New Year's resolution this year? Are you considering trying our challenge?
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