The champagne is drunk, the count has been done and the holiday bills are starting to roll in.

That means there’s no better time to make a New Year’s resolution, especially one that might help ease the impact of those bills a little.

Experts say that it is really possible to take advantage of the start of the new year as an opportunity to turn the page, financially.

“There are certain times of year that are best for setting a goal, and one of them is definitely the New Year,” says Kerry Taylor, financial journalist and creator of the financial website , based in British Columbia.

That’s good news for the 38% of people who chose “to improve their finances” as their New Year’s resolution for 2024, according to Forbes magazine, which surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults in October.

Money-related resolutions are always a popular choice, second only to the perennial New Year’s commitment to “lose weight” or “get in shape.” But New Year’s financial resolutions seem especially timely this year, given that Canadians have spent the past 12 months grappling with the shock of grocery bills, rising interest rates and escalating housing costs. more unaffordable.

“I know people are motivated to have more money in their bank account, whether it’s tackling the mortgage or paying off credit card debt,” Taylor says. But January 1st won’t make the change for you. This does not guarantee success, and this is where many of us go astray. So in order for this goal to be met, you have to actually do the work. »

When it comes to resolutions, sticking to them is less about willpower and more about forming habits, argues Natasha Knox, a Vancouver financial therapist who helps her clients think, feel, communicate and behave differently with ‘money.

Knox advises resisting the temptation to rethink your entire financial situation at once. Instead, she suggests starting with an extremely small lens – what she calls a “micro or nano-lens.”

This means that if the goal is to save more money in 2024, a person can start by increasing the amount they automatically transfer into a savings account each month by a “tiny” amount, he said. -she declared.

And if the goal is to spend less, one might try a “no-spend day” rather than embarking on a more ambitious “no-spend January.”

“Measure it in small pieces. Try it for just one day, then maybe the next week, choose two days. And then in the spring, you might have a spending-free week, Knox suggests. It’s much more durable. »

Vanessa Bowen, founder of Toronto-based women’s financial coaching service Mint Worthy, says the new year can be a good time for people to sit down and think about why they make the financial choices they do. make.

“We talk a lot about money management, but we never seem to talk about money mindset,” she believes. So, let’s say someone says, “OK, my resolution this year is to pay off my debt.” It’s awesome. But if that person thinks they will always be in debt, or if they believe that getting out of debt is difficult and that they don’t have enough money to get out of debt, their actions will always align with this state of mind. »

To fully understand your own money mindset, Bowen recommends thinking about the financial beliefs you may have inherited from your parents, your own money triggers and habits, plus to visualize how you want to think and behave about money in the future.

“If you just set a goal and hope and pray that it will happen, it’s not going to happen,” she says. But if you have a plan and keep those weekly appointments, you’ll be more likely to keep your resolution going well past February. »

Among the psychological tips recommended by experts, it can also be a question of visualizing yourself as an elderly person. This tip, in particular, can help create empathy for your future self and encourage yourself to take care of yourself by saving for retirement.

Whatever the goal, it’s important that people don’t put too much pressure on themselves. Knox recommends finding a friend or family member with a similar goal, so you can encourage each other when things go well and commiserate during setbacks.

“It has a lot of value. We are social creatures,” she argues.

Even though these are tough financial times, almost everyone can benefit from taking the time to make small changes that help prepare for a more prosperous new year, Bowen says.

“It’s progress rather than perfection,” she emphasizes. This doesn’t mean you’ll reach 100% by the end of 2024, but I think small steps will help people make the incremental changes our society and economy need right now. »