2014: How Will Your Resolutions Help You Live Differently?
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As we near the end of 2013, it’s getting to be that time again for making New Year’s resolutions. People around the globe will be pondering, making and yet rarely keeping their New Year’s resolutions. Being an analytical type of person, I always do two things when making my New Year’s resolutions:
1. I try and make resolutions that are of high importance to me, to minimize my chance of failure.
2. I try to analyze the reasons why people might fail at their resolutions, and how I can maximize my chances of success at keeping my own resolutions.
I hate failure. Can you tell? It bugs the crap out of me. Not regarding you, of course – just my own failures. So because of that, I always ponder my New Year’s resolutions very carefully, picking the ones that, if they succeed, will make the most impact on my life, and picking ones that I know I can do without pulling my hair out or beating myself up in the process.
In other words, I work to plan my resolutions based on the ones with the most impact and with the highest chance of success.
The other tip I use in planning my resolutions is that I always make sure to not pick a number or a type of resolution that is going to overwhelm me from a psychological, time or workload standpoint. I challenge myself, yet not in a way that’s going to send me into nervous breakdown status.
For instance, in 2013, I knew we had to make a change and start our get out of debt journey. I also knew that this would be quite the challenge for our family, in that we’d never before worked on a budget, spend-tracked or limited our spending.
Because I knew that this would be hard, starting our get out of debt journey was the ONLY New Year’s resolution I made last year. And we succeeded.
So how can you make sure to pick the New Year’s resolutions that are best for you and that you have the highest chance of succeeding at?
Most of us have a rather long list of things that we’d like to change about ourselves and our lives. I could name ten things off the top of my head right now, and you probably can too. But since we’re going for the highest success rate here, it’s important that you think carefully about what on your list of resolutions is most important, and most meaningful, for you and/or your family.
For us in 2013, we knew that we were in a dangerous situation with our debt load that could easily cause very serious problems in a very short time if something like a job layoff or an injury happened. Given the magnitude of our debt situation, we deemed this as THE single most important resolution we could choose at that time.
Maybe for you it’s not your debt load, but maybe you’ve got a high stress job that you hate, and you know you’re not going to be able to handle it very much longer. This might be a great year to make a resolution to maximize your savings accounts so that you’ve got some choices when you know it’s time to leave your job.
Or maybe you’ve got some serious weight or health issues that can be changed by eating healthier and starting an exercise program, and you want to be able to be around for your family, so you decide that this year is the year that you will get healthier.
Both of these are important, yet challenging, resolutions. Now is the time to consider carefully which resolutions will have the most positive impact on your life, and to decide whether or not you’re ready for the work involved with keeping those resolutions.
Make a Plan for Your Resolutions
Now that you’ve picked the resolution(s) that are most important to you, it’s time to decide on a doable plan that will give you the highest chance of success. If your goal is to get healthier, don’t decide on a 5:00 a.m. before work exercise routine when you’re not a morning person. If your goal is to reduce debt, figure out what expenses you can reduce without going crazy, and keep the ones you know will help you deal with the other sacrifices. Maybe you can go without eating out, but you know you’ll go crazy if you have to give up your sports channels.
Don’t set yourself up for failure; make a plan works for you, even if it might mean it’ll take you longer to achieve your goal.
Over the past twelve months, we’ve often tweaked, adjusted and changed our plan and our path to debt freedom. For instance, we started out with a goal of $300 a month for groceries for our family of six. It became evident pretty quickly that we weren’t ready for such a severe budget cut in this area, so we gave ourselves some wiggle room and now aim toward $450 a month or so on groceries.
Allow yourself the ability to adjust and change your plan, just don’t let those adjustments turn into complete abandonment of your plan.
With 2014 just on the horizon, it’s time to start making your own New Year’s resolutions.
What past New Year’s resolution are you most proud of keeping? Or, which do you most regret abandoning? What will you do differently in 2014?
Photo courtesy of: Bayasaa