“I know I need to lose weight. If I just had a Peloton….”

“I bet if I got one of those food subscription boxes, then I could finally eat healthier.”

“Maybe if I get these containers from Ikea, my pantry could be as organized as those ladies with the Netflix show.”


Hey there, friend. I know we are getting *this close* to the turn of a New Year. This also means every screen in your life has somebody on it hollering about the latest-and-greatest gadget/gizmo/service that is “guaranteed” to solve the exact problem the bully in your head won’t shut up about.

Before you whip out your wallet, let’s talk.

First, I want to tell you: I believe in you. I swear it on Mr. Rogers…I mean it with all my heart.

Second, I want to see you achieve your goals without spending money on something that (most likely) won’t matter. And may end up collecting dust in your closet by February. Seriously, two-thirds of folks give up on their New Year’s Resolutions within a month.

Here are the tips I swear by to help me see my dreams to the finish line, even when it feels super hard. These five tips have helped me achieve BIG STUFF, and don’t cost me any money.

1. Get really clear on your WHY. 

Before setting any goal – big or small – you absolutely must get super clear on your motivation. As a financial educator and money coach, I can’t tell you how many people start off their coaching sessions with, “I know I should…”

Ok, sure. But so what?

Here’s the truth: we all have a limited amount of willpower; that amazing little control panel that keeps you from telling your boss what you really think. And guess what? Willpower really prefers to work with a buddy – your reason why.

You have the willpower to keep your mouth shut when your boss makes another idiotic decision because your why is clear and powerful. You want to keep your job.

But let’s say your “why” for saving up an emergency fund is “well, my dad said I should”. Sorry, babe. If you’re like me, my willpower will have taken a nap while that “emergency fund” went to happy hour.

Your willpower, when paired with a “why” that shakes you to your core…that’s unstoppable. So start by getting super clear on your why – if it’s not coming from inside yourself, give yourself permission to drop that goal.

2. Track progress you have control over. 

Things I can control:

  • How many times I go to the gym
  • How much/how often I deposit into my retirement
  • How often I talk about my coaching and courses on social media

Things I cannot control (even though I wish I could sometimes):

  • How many pounds I lose in a month
  • How the stock market performs each month
  • Other people investing in my coaching and courses.

What we measure matters. Sometimes we get so focused on the outcome, we focus on the wrong things.

Let’s take the first example. Besides tracking weight being super not good for our mental health, it’s easy to get discouraged if we suddenly stop dropping pounds (or start gaining). And then it’s easy to throw in the towel.

But if we instead say, “my goal is to go to the gym 20 times this month”, that is something we have more power over. Even if you miss your target (say, go to the gym 15 times instead of 20), you still have shown progress. You still did the thing! 

3. Automate or make it easy.

Before I start here let me be clear: YOU ARE NOT LAZY.

Go back. Read that sentence again. Say it out loud.

Automating your goals, or simply finding the easiest way to do something doesn’t make you weak, lazy, or any less worthy of achieving your goal. I would argue the opposite.

One of my clients knew moving money into her savings account each paycheck would never work for her. So I told her to make it as easy as possible. She marched into her human resources department the next morning and updated her direct deposit form.

Instead of battling with herself for 26 paychecks a year to move money over, she spent 10 minutes on a random Thursday to make sure $200 from each paycheck went into a high yield savings account and the rest went into her checking. BOOM. She’s on track to meet her savings goal within a few months without lifting a finger.

So ask yourself:

  • What is the easiest way I could accomplish this goal?
  • What resources do I already have at my disposal without spending any more money?
  • What part(s) of this goal can I automate?

4. Celebrate every dang milestone.

Here are my favorite ways to celebrate milestones or progress of my goals that cost ZERO dollars:

  • Text a supportive friend
  • Post about it on social media
  • Do a little dance
  • Take 3 minutes to think about all it took to reach this milestone

When you celebrate, you validate. So no more grinding and suffering through to the end. Honor how hard it is to achieve things and throw some emoji confetti in your BFF’s inbox.

5. Make it a game.

This is, by far, my favorite way to break habits, build new habits, and achieve goals. I will never shut up about how our brains like novelty and experiences. Here are some examples of what I mean:

  • Instead of ordering takeout, a group of roommates posts a sign with the number of days they have eaten their groceries instead of ordering DoorDash or UberEats (think, “this warehouse has been 100 days without an accident”). Planned and budgeted takeout nights don’t count against them.
  • Instead of buying coffee at the drive-thru, making unique coffee recipes at home and posting them on Instagram stories with ratings.
  • Instead of buying a gym membership, challenge yourself to walk every trail through your local parks and recreation sites. You could even make your own merit badges!

When you make achieving a goal fun, your willpower and your why get a third friend: whimsy. This trifecta is a force to be reckoned with.

When I have all three of these on my side, people take notice. I’ve had others join me on my goals because it looks like fun. It looks enjoyable because it is!

What are your goals for this new year? Send me a DM on Instagram – I’d love to cheer you on.