They went through the process and have created a (great) budget, but then they put it into a drawer and forget about it very quickly. That is treating the budget like a New Year’s Resolution.
A 2007 study by Richard Wiseman from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people showed that 88% of those who set New Year’s Resolutions fail. To be fair, there is another study, the one from the University of Scranton, where 44 percent of those who make New Year’s resolutions are still hanging in there six months later, but that is still 66% that failed.
I have not found a study on how many people let their budget collect dust in a drawer, but from my experience it could be just as many (66-88%) Don’t let your budget be like a New Year’s Resolution!
If you want your hard work of creating a vision, strategy and budget to help you succeed in your business then don’t put them into a drawer but use them as an everyday tool (or at least once a week). Here are some tips on how to succeed:
Change your mindset
Everything stands and falls with your mindset. If you don’t change your negative thinking about budgets and tracking numbers no vision, strategy and budget can or will help you succeed. Whatever you start only half hearted will quickly be forgotten and will feed the stories you might tell yourself about how “you are just not good with numbers”.
Instead, try to approach it with an open mind and be creative. Find ways how this whole topic of budget and tracking finances can become more fun for you. You could create a vision board for your budget, this might encourage you to look at your numbers on a regular basis. Which brings me to the next tip:
Even if your budget did not disappear in a drawer, if you don’t check your progress on a regular basis creating a budget was a waste of time. Make sure you compare your actual numbers at least once a month with your budget to see where you stand.
You might even have to adjust and update your budget during the year. A budget is a roadmap, a guideline, but it is not set in stone. Circumstances can and do change and assumptions might turn out to be wrong. This is not a reason to throw the budget out the window, instead make adjustments and move on.
When I worked for corporate we had to make our budgets in August and the first round of revision was already done in January followed by quarterly revisions.
Break it down into smaller bites
You made your budget most likely for a whole year but when you look in January at the big number of sales you hope to achieve for the entire year it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Break your yearly numbers down into monthly or even weekly numbers by dividing them by 12 or 52 respectively.This gives you a better perspective and actually helps you achieving your goals.
Accept help or support
It’s hard and requires a lot of discipline to implement new habits into your life. How about joining an accountability group or a mastermind to keep yourself on track? Especially in the beginning it can help a lot when you commit to something out loud and to other people.
Another kind of help could come from your Biorhythm, specifically your mental Biorhythm that affects your ability to plan ahead and has an impact on logical thinking. By monitoring the highs and lows of your mental biorhythm and acting accordingly, you can make implementing new habits much easier.
For example: try to schedule tracking your numbers and comparing them to your budget during intellectual highs and avoid doing so during intellectual lows. (You can calculate your Biorhythm for example here)
Two steps forward one step back
We are all only human and implementing a new habit is a challenge. I heard it takes 21 days for a new activity to become a habit and six months for it to become part of you. If it is hard, don’t beat yourself up and don’t go by ‘all or nothing’. Accept ahead of time that it is part of the process to have temporary setbacks. This helps you focus on the light at the end of the tunnel and to push through when it gets tough.
Are these tips helpful? Let me know in the comments below what you think.