New Year’s resolutions fail because we rely on willpower to do too much, too fast. Research into behavioral finance tells us our brains are wired to defeat us: We value present pleasures over future gains (a phenomenon known as hyperbolic discounting), we resist change (status quo bias) and we don’t acknowledge the barriers we’re likely to face (overconfidence).
There’s a better approach: Circumvent your brain’s vulnerabilities with a system that has you tackling 1 important financial task each month. To make sure things get done, prompt yourself with calendar reminders that alert you to which task is due.
Here’s a month-by-month guide for the new year.