How to get your finances on track before year-end

NC) The end of year often comes with money stresses – and if you’ve been procrastinating about financial decisions in 2019 and now feel the new year rushing at you, you’re not alone.

It’s not unusual to put things off, even with important money matters, says Tim Pychyl, associate professor of psychology and head of the Procrastination Research Group at Carleton University in Ottawa.

Based on research Pychyl recently shared with online brokerage RBC Direct Investing about how consumers approach their finances, here are three of his top procrastination management tips:

  1. Face your emotions. Recognize you won’t always like everything you have to do, including how you take care of your finances. This “negative emotion” awareness can help you gain more control over your actions.
  2. Focus on taking a small step. With any task that raises negative emotions, redirect your attention away from “feeling” toward “doing.” Even a tiny action can help you get started. For example, if you find yourself procrastinating about working on your taxes, begin by moving your receipts box onto the kitchen table. You’re much more likely to follow through on “move box” than you are on “do taxes” – and then you’ve taken the first step.
  3. Don’t beat yourself up. Cut yourself some slack if you do procrastinate. You may find, as one of Pychyl’s studies did, that procrastinators who forgive themselves are less likely to put off the same task in the future than those who lack self-compassion.

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