Three words guaranteed to make you roll your eyes…New Year’s resolution. No need to double check your calendar, yes it is still September and no, I haven’t lost my mind.

I’ve accepted the fact a NYR regarding weight loss just isn’t cutting it anymore. In fact, the results are pretty predictable at this point, sometime around mid-February I start thinking “Kale salads taste like I’d rather be curvy”. So, this year I’m going to change it up, I’m going to get financially fit instead of cutting out all the carbs that make me smile.

Similar to physical fitness, it’s never too late to start getting healthy. The first step is always recognizing the need for change before you can set your goals and come up with a strategy. Although everyone has different goals; there is a common routine to reaching your financial goals.

Find your “WHY”

Your reason for wanting to become “financially fit” will differ from everyone else, even your family and friends. Identifying your reason why will keep you motivated to work towards your own dreams.

Some ideas; to have financial freedom, have a stress-free marriage, send your children to college, or save for retirement

Hop on the Scale & Set your Routine

If you don’t know where you stand today, how can you know determine what you’re shooting for? Take a good hard look at your finances today to identify your spending habits, then figure out if that number is in a safe zone for your family

Adopt a regular saving routine by automatically putting 10-20 percent of your income into savings and paying off debt. If you want to really challenge yourself, trying limiting your expenses to 75 percent of your income.

Related: How to Budget with 4 Easy Steps

Have “Workout” Buddies

Just like going to the gym, having a workout buddy makes this fitness task more enjoyable, plus who else is going to hold you accountable when you’re caught with that pumpkin spice latte from Starbucks?

Finding support from friends and family that are already financially fit will help keep you from falling back into old spending habits. Even better, would be setting up an appointment with a financial advisor for professional advice.

Push Yourself

No one can force you to become financially fit, you are the only one who can decide to make this change. It’s a mindset and you must overcome the challenge of being comfortable with poor spending habits in order to find financial discipline.

Just like getting physically fit, sometimes diet changes (cutting out mindless spending) may not be enough, if you are not getting enough cardio (revenue potential), you need to find ways to generate additional income.

Reward Yourself

Once you’ve reached a goal, treat yourself to something small. Similar to dieting, treating yourself to the occasional craving should keep you from falling off the wagon completely in bad habits. If you are tempted to spend money, allocate a small amount for something you enjoy after hitting your goals.

Set Attainable Goals.

Remember, being financially fit is a long-term strategy for life, not a quick fix. Talk with your financial advisor to help set attainable goals so that you don’t get overwhelmed. With their expertise, they can help create a financial plan custom to you and your lifestyle, making this process more manageable.

As a GHS member, you have access to many of our Investment Services, including one-on-one financial planning with your own financial advisor, who’s there for you. Whether you’re just starting out, thinking about your children’s college expenses, or looking toward retirement – a sound financial plan is key to success.  For more information call us at 607-723-7962, to schedule your appointment at any of our three locations.

Financial fitness means freedom; with good strategy, discipline and hard work, it is attainable. Just thinking about financial freedom gives me peace. It may not be easy, but we can all agree it will be well worth it. Start your preparations now so you are ready to conquer the money-monster in 2017.

If you are nervous about setting up an appointment with our financial advisor, stop into our casual “Meet & Greet” event happening on Friday, October 7th,  from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. -4 p.m.