Avoid New Year’s Resolutions

Avoid the Resolutions TrapHi, my name is SavvyJames and I used to make New Year’s resolutions. [Inaudible chatter and a collective, “Hi, SavvyJames,” is heard in the background]. It has been two years since I made a resolution.

You know, particularly as it relates to diet and exercise, I often hear people say that they will get serious and start meeting their stated goals ‘next Monday.’ I can relate; that used to be me. Even though I was guilty, I often wondered why – if someone was serious about making changes in their life – would they want to wait until the next Monday? And why is it always a Monday anyway?

If they honestly believe that changes need to be made, and the things they are doing – or are failing to do – will not help them reach their goals, why would they choose to do them for a few more days? Yep, these cigarettes are killing me, but I want to finish this pack before I stop damaging my lungs. Yep, I could choose to have a fresh fruit and vegetable smoothie this morning instead of a soda, but I really hate to see the last of that six-pack go to waste.

New Year's ResolutionsWhen you consider the impacts of compound interest, waiting is absolutely detrimental to meeting your financial goals. During the period in which I kicked the habit, I have come to realize that ‘starting next Monday’ and resolutions are really just ways of putting off what should be done today until some tomorrow in the future. The keys to success? First, starting today – right after you finish reading this – establish a long-term plan supported by short-term goals.

Second, focus on the progress and not the occasional slip-up. Instead of throwing in the towel the first time you miss a workout, eat a candy bar or buy a new phone – that you really don’t need – instead of contributing to your IRA, recognize the error in your ways, refocus and keep working toward your next short-term goal.

Ultimately, waiting until ‘next Monday’ or creating New Year’s resolutions is just a way of playing mind games with yourself; you are establishing a false sense of hope. The idea that you will be more motivated, more focused and more apt to achieve a goal … if you simply wait until some point in the near future to start, vice right now, is silly when you think about it. Now’s the time, the time is now.

Blogger-in-Chief here at RetirementSavvy and author of Sin City Greed, Cream City Hustle and RENDEZVOUS WITH RETIREMENT: A Guide to Getting Fiscally Fit.

8 Comments

  1. I’ll start after the Holidays is one that I hear often. Never a better time then now, even if you slip up as least you begin the process and break bad habits.

    • Exactly. If you know you need to do something to improve your mental, spiritual, physical or fiscal well-being, why would you want to wait? There is absolutely no better time than right now!

      • Greats points and very motivational!

        • I’m a firm believer in the idea that the best time to do what needs to be done is now. Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation.

  2. Okay, I’ll admit it. I’m using today as an excuse to eat what I want (within reason) since tomorrow is a new start;0) I hadn’t heard the Monday thing before but I won’t keep indulging!

    • I’m surprised you have never heard anyone say, “I’m going to start my diet (or start exercising) next Monday.” It seems to be a pretty common approach. I believe it is often a Monday – vice a Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. – because Monday is viewed as the start of the week and a good time to commit to doing something new. Best of luck with your new start, my friend!

  3. I am adopting this philosophy this year. I have already started my “new life choices” even before New Year’s Day or the 5th of January (because it’s a Monday). There was a lot of candy left from Christmas and I threw it all away…that is a giant step for me. I know I will slip, but I really want this and I will stick with it. Thanks for the post SavvyJames.

    • Good for you. There will always be the occasional slip; however, the key is to quickly refocus and continue toward your stated goal(s) and not start over every Monday or New Year.

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