GAINESVILLE, Ga. (BP)–We’ve begun a new year, and if you’re like me, you’ve set goals for what you’d like to accomplish before the year ends. Recent surveys have shown financial resolutions such as getting out of debt and saving more money are very popular this year. In fact, people seem to be more focused right now on their financial health than their physical health. This should not be a surprise given the economic pain many people are feeling.
SET A SPECIFIC GOAL
Many people do need to make improving their finances their resolution for 2010, and you may be one of them. To be successful, start by setting a specific financial goal. It could be to pay something off like credit cards, a car or even a house. Your goal could be to save $1,000 as an emergency fund, three months of living expenses, or to save for a major purchase. It could be to begin investing for retirement. Or, your goal could be to increase by a specific amount or percentage how much you give to the Lord through your church and Christian ministries.
Once you’ve made a specific financial resolution for this year, write it down. Then, begin developing a detailed plan for achieving it. Proverbs 21:5 says, “The plans of the diligent lead to profit.” Break your big goal down into small steps that, if taken, would accomplish it. If your goal is to save $1,000, you need to save about $83 a month. One way to do that would be to set up an automatic deduction from your paycheck that’s deposited directly into a savings account.
MEASURE YOUR PROGRESS
Also, have a way to measure the progress you’re making towards fulfilling your financial resolution during the year. This will give you information you can use to make any adjustments necessary to keep you on track. Be prepared to make sacrifices in order to be successful. As you see yourself making real progress, it will encourage you to keep going until you reach your goal.
Resolutions, whether financial or something else, can be hard to keep, and you may have failed at them in the past. But don’t let that discourage you from seeking to make improvements in your life this year.
SEEK GOD’S HELP AND INVOLVE OTHERS
If you’ve struggled with keeping your resolutions in the past, pray and get the Lord involved this year. Talk to Him about your finances. Ask Him to show you one thing that’s really important for you to accomplish in 2010 and to give you the motivation to do it. Don’t try to do it in your own strength. John 15:5 says, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Share your financial resolution with your family. Ask them to pray for you, encourage you and hold you accountable for faithfully doing your part to pursue what God has put on your heart to do this year. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help.
Whatever God is leading you to do this year, commit to doing it and don’t turn back. You may not have the same opportunity or liberty to do it in the future. None of us know what will happen tomorrow. James 4:14 says, “Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”
Remember that God is with you. He wants to fulfill His purposes in your life. Psalm 138:8 says, “The Lord will fulfill His purpose for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever — do not abandon the works of your hands.”
The Lord loves you and wants you to be successful in achieving the financial resolution He has given you. Look to Him every day and do your part to see the goal accomplished (Psalm 34:1-5). This is the year you can be successful in fulfilling your financial resolution.
Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries and executive producer of the new God Provides™ Film Learning Experience. (Learn more at Crown.org/GodProvides.)
Co-founded by Howard Dayton and the late Larry Burkett, Crown Financial Ministries (Crown.org) is an interdenominational ministry with 200 staff and over 10,000 volunteers dedicated to equipping people globally with biblically based financial stewardship tools and resources through radio, film, seminars, small groups and individual coaching.