Every day is a new day.
A chance to start anew.
I’m sure you hear that all the time.
But, do you ever stop to think what it means?
The calendar pages are getting torn off quickly.
The remaining days left in the year are getting fewer.
Many people start planning to turn the page to the new year.
With that comes lots of excitement:
- Family vacations during winter break
- Planning holiday/New Year’s parties
- The prospects of starting with a “clean slate”
And then there are the dreaded new year’s resolutions.
It is the last item that deserves more careful consideration.
The Definition of Insanity
You know…doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.
Yet each and every year, people make the same resolutions to begin on January 1st.
Doesn’t anyone ever get a strange feeling that the resolution itself isn’t the problem but the approach?
It’s funny because people absolutely love to share quotes exactly like that all over social media…yet no one has put 2 + 2 together how that specific quote may hold all of the answers to why New Year’s resolutions fail so often.
A Personal Tale
I’ll be honest with you.
It took me forever to quit smoking.
I tried countless times and failed.
The biggest reason for that?
I’m 99% sure it was doing it as a resolution.
Every time I would pick a date to “start quitting”.
Once it was my birthday.
Once it was Thanksgiving.
Once it was even on my mother’s birthday.
The rest were on January 1st.
And I failed every time.
Most of the time it was because I didn’t finish the pack and couldn’t bring myself to throw “money” away.
One time work got so crazy I just couldn’t see myself quitting in the middle of it.
A few times I just wasn’t in the “frame of mind” I thought I would be.
The one time when I was actually successful came when I decided midday on a Wednesday in October.
There was no planning.
There was no significance to that day.
The date itself wasn’t significant either.
I ran out of smokes and just decided that it was time to not buy another pack.
Was it hard?
Hard as hell.
Harder than anything I can remember attempting in my life.
But because it was fresh in my mind, and my desire was at it peak the process was easier to stick with.
Everyone Isn’t Me
This is SUPER IMPORTANT!
Sadly, so many people who write about any kind of personal experience fail to realize this one simple fact, and it can do a lot of damage to the author’s credibility as well as hurt the reader by giving false hope.
So I believe it’s of the utmost importance for me to be self-aware as well as anyone reading to understand that my story and the result of it may not be the typical one.
I may very well be an outlier in this scenario.
I’d like to think I’m not.
Honestly, I would love to think that everyone can find success in changing their ways simply by changing the approach.
Unfortunately, I may just be being overly optimistic.
BUT I will never say anything negative toward anyone who at least makes an effort to change what they don’t like.
Back To New Years Resolutions
Lots of people look for ways to improve their health:
- Lose weight
- Build muscle/get fit
- Start getting more active
- Get better at grocery shopping
- Eat cleaner
- Improve your mental health
A large number also go the quitting smoking route.
Some people want to improve their education or job situations.
A few even want to start a business and leave the 9-to-5 altogether or put more energy into their existing business.
Many people make financial health a big part of their resolutions:
With money and finances being such an important aspect of everyday life, maybe it is time to think about your money in just that way: every day.
Every day the state of the economy changes.
Every day the state of people’s individual financial health changes.
If you follow that line of thinking, then every day you should be making efforts to either maintain your financial position or to take steps to fix your financial position.
Making a resolution one time at the beginning of the year is great because you are at least making some concerted effort, but too often the luster of such ideas wears off and people fall back into their poor habits, forgetting about their “resolutions”.
Financial well-being is a step by step, one day at a time process.
It takes determination and persistence, especially in the beginning when attitudes and routines need to be reinforced.
But as time passes it gets easier until you get to the point where some tasks become second nature (transferring unspent cash into an emergency fund, clipping coupons from the Sunday paper, funding a retirement account, etc.)
Don’t get caught up in setting a “target date” on which to start implementing a new plan of action, as you will only open yourself to self-sabotage and failure.
By tackling changes and challenges immediately, you have a better chance of overcoming your biggest hurdle to achieving your goals: yourself.
Get out of your own way and allow yourself the chance to succeed in reaching those goals you set.
What that means is simply not allowing life to get in the way before even starting to make the changes you need.
Wasting time and putting those resolutions off only allows for other issues to arise and push those resolutions to the back of your mind, or for you to simply forget about them altogether.
Let’s be honest here, no one’s life is so simple that they don’t have to worry about work, family, health or anything else getting in the way of plans.
Make it easier on yourself, start today or at the exact moment that you have the realization that something is either working or not working for you.
Write it down, send yourself an email, tell a friend and ask them to remind you about it, whatever you have to do to get the process going.
The saying “Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today” holds true especially when dealing with finances.
Correct a problem today and you greatly reduce the chance that it will get bigger or reappear in the future.
Continue on with a course of action that is working for you today, and it will become more routine and easier to follow going forward.
Don’t put off dealing with a situation, thinking that it will be better to start fresh with the new year or even the next new month that comes along.
Problems don’t go away on their own, and the longer you wait to take corrective measures, the longer it will take and the more difficult it will become.
Even the smallest of issues may snowball into a major headache down the road, and you’ll be kicking yourself for not dealing with it when it was manageable like you had planned on doing.
The best thing you can do is to resolve to take action as soon as the thought pops into your head, otherwise, you may lose the idea within seconds.
Quicker actions lead to quicker results!
And please, check out this great resource on suicide prevention if you or someone you know may be having more serious issues…there is no shame in seeking out help.
For anyone looking to do anything related to their health: lose weight, quit smoking, get in shape, exercise more, eat/cook better there is a great resource called bodybuilding.com. It has exercise databases, articles, a store, guides, planning tools and a heck of a lot more to help with all of your health and nutritional goals–all free of charge (except for the store of course)!
The best way to start on the household finance front is with Personal Capital. It will empower you to take control of your finances by putting all of the financial info in the palm of your hand. You can’t improve your situation if you can’t see the whole picture and don’t know where your money is coming from or going! If your business is the main concern, take a look at QuickBooks Online which will do something similar for your small business finances. You’ll get a complete picture all in one place which makes it so much easier than flying by the seat of your pants!
Anyone with Amazon Prime and a goal of eating healthier may want to check out an Amazon Fresh free trial for quick & affordable food & supplement delivery (if it’s available in your area). You also have options like Thrive Market for organics and Shipt & Instacart as grocery delivery services from local stores. Each has its benefits depending on your particular needs!
What’s your history with New Year’s resolutions and life changes in general? Do you tend to leave them for the new year or do you prefer to start as soon as the thought comes to mind? Have you found one way easier than the other? Let’s help each other be more successful in sticking to our life goals in the comments!