It always puzzles me when I see people write on social media about "how bad 2016 is". As if the crisis or tragedy that had happened to them would have been better in 2017 or 2018? People think in terms of years and I prefer to think in terms of moments.
Today I want to talk about New Year's resolutions and why they suck. Resolving to make changes is a positive thing. Our habits influence so much of our lives, it's a good idea to shuck the bad ones and build up the good ones. But January 1 shouldn't be your target date for launch.
Most folks don't understand the science of habits which is why less than 10% of New Year's resolutions actually work. Habits cannot be stopped, they need to be rewritten.
Financial habits are no different. You can't just stop blowing money on worthless stuff, you need to rewrite that habit by dedicating your hard-earned dollars to something that matters. That is why budgeting is so key to winning with money. Just saying, "I am going to do better with money in 2017" is too vague. There is no direction, no step-by-step plan, and no end game in that statement.
What would be better is if you said:
In 2017 I am going to dedicate the Flex Cash I have left every month to getting out of consumer debt. I have $8,000 in consumer debt and about $500 left every month after I pay all of my expenses. By the end of the year, my goal is to have $6,000 paid down on my consumer debt.
That is a measurable goal. Not only that, it is a goal that has a strategy for execution. Saying you want to lose 30 pounds in the next year is great, but how are you going to do it?
Financial habits are a big part of my 9 Moves plan. If you can rewrite your bad habits with good habits that are wholly intentional, your financial life will change forever. What's more, research is showing that people who make significant changes in one aspect of their life, find the change they made spilling over into other aspects. So if you are more organized with money, you may be more organized at home or at work. My financial wellness plan works long-term for more than just finances.
Lastly, before I wrap up. The best time to make a change is now. It isn't when that big bonus comes in or when tax season is approaching. It's today. Your spending habits, budgeting habits, and work habits are all key contributors to your financial success. You don't need an inheritance or a stroke of luck to start winning with money.
You just need to be motivated.
My advice, ditch the New Year's resolution nonsense and start making legitimate changes that overwrite bad habits today. If not today, then when? We both know that tomorrow never comes and those who push things off to a later date really have no intentions on follow through anyway.
Be different, make the change today. Get your financial life on track.
Not sure where to start?
Look at Move #1 of my 9 Moves plan.
Thanks for following along, everyone.
Happy New Year, all.