15 attainable New Year’s resolutions

Set your sights on a couple of these reasonable resolutions for 2017.

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Setting a New Year’s resolution can be an inspiring endeavor each January — yet research from the University of Scranton suggests only 8% of people actually achieve their resolutions. Why? Because many of us create a laundry list of goals that can quickly become overwhelming or one goal that’s extremely hard to reach, like losing a ton of weight or getting a big raise. By January 30, only 64% of people are still pursuing their resolution, and the number continues to drop after that.

But setting goals is healthy, and not always doomed for failure. Experts generally agree that it’s better to set small, attainable goals throughout the year, so there’s not so much pressure to achieve everything in January. So what might these attainable goals include? Here are some ideas.

Professional goals

1. Subscribe to an industry-specific podcast. Listening to podcasts is a great way to learn something new, hear inspiring stories, and stay informed on a particular subject. The best part? You can listen at your own pace as you have time.

2. Set up informational interviews or find a mentor. If you want to make a career change, setting up informational interviews is one of the best ways to gain insight and advice from seasoned professionals. Already love your job? Identify a mentor at your company or in your industry who can coach you and help you advance to your desired role.

3. Establish your personal brand. A strong personal brand can help you find job opportunities, make important professional connections, and achieve recognition in your industry. Identify and refine your brand this year.

4. Have that conversation with your boss. Chances are there’s something you want to ask your boss about — whether it’s about a raise, a promotion, or even just moving your desk to that coveted, next-to-the-window cubicle. Plan your approach, then go for it.

5. Maintain a sunny disposition. Attitude is important: Research shows that when new hires fail at a new job, 89% of the time it’s because of an unfavorable attitude and only 11% of the time it’s because of a lack of skill. A positive attitude can not only improve your job retention, but also your relationship with colleagues, your job satisfaction, and your overall health.

Financial goals

1. Set up an automatic transfer to save money. 44% of young adults do not feel they are in a good financial position, and 48% are living paycheck-to-paycheck. Ease this financial stress by bulking up your savings. Set up a transfer to automatically move a set amount of money each month into savings — even a little amount will add up and create a cushion should you need emergency funds.

2. Keep tabs on your bank account. Do you know how much money you have in your checking account right now? You should — overdraft fees can be overwhelming. Develop a habit of checking in daily to keep an eye on your spending and to spot potential activities you don’t recognize in your bank statements.

3. Pull a credit report and check your credit score. The Federal Trade Commission reports that one in four people find errors in their credit report that could affect their score. Be sure to request your free credit reports from the three credit bureaus once a year through AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also visit wellsfargo.com/ficoscore to learn how eligible Wells Fargo consumer credit customers may have free access to their FICO® Credit Score.1

4. Do your taxes early. It’s easy to wait until the last day (which is Tuesday, April 18, 2017, for the 2016 tax year) to file your taxes. Avoid the last minute rush and get it over with early, in February or March. Plus, the earlier you file, the earlier you can get your hands on that tax return you may be getting.

5. Start your 401(k). If your company offers a 401(k) plan, sign up for it. Starting to save early is key to having a healthy retirement fund. In fact, according to NerdWallet, a dollar saved at age 25 is worth about 20 dollars at age 65. Already enrolled in your company’s 401(k) plan? Consider increasing your contribution by one percentage point.

Personal goals

1. Plan a trip. Have you been meaning to visit your former college roommate in Austin, Texas? Always wanted to see the Grand Canyon but just haven’t made it? Make 2017 the year you finally take that long overdue trip. Studies have shown that people get far more satisfaction out of spending their money on experiences rather than material possessions.

2. Prioritize sleep. This is a resolution everyone can get on board with: Sleep more! Researchers at the University of Chicago studied sleep patterns over time and concluded that we now sleep an average of 6.1 hours per night, almost two hours less than we did 60 years ago. If you’ve developed a bad habit of binge-watching TV until all hours of the night, take the time to course correct and get that much-needed shuteye. Not only will you feel better, but getting enough quality sleep is also critically important for your mental and physical health.

3. Pursue a new skill or hobby. Want to join a book club? Curious about yoga? Thinking about learning carpentry and putting your new skills to use around the house? Carpe diem and resolve to take up a new interest or activity. Plus, hobbies can have the benefit of increasing your creativity, sharpening your focus, and restoring your energy.

4. Stay hydrated. There are so many benefits to drinking more water — including ridding your body of toxins, reducing blood pressure, easing allergies, and helping you feel satiated, which means you’re less likely to overeat and gain unhealthy pounds. Buy a reusable water bottle, keep it filled throughout the day, and get your recommended 64 ounces.

5. Spend more time with family. This resolution is consistently in the top 10 New Years’ resolutions, yet it’s an easy one to dismiss. Whether you live with your parents or live across the country from the majority of your family, make it a point to check in and spend quality time with loved ones.

Get a jump-start on your financial resolutions by checking your account balances, setting up an automatic transfer, or checking your credit score.