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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

How And Why To Turn Your New Year's Resolutions Into Goals

Here comes 2017.  Let the countdown begin!  Are you ready to start and fail to achieve your New Year's resolutions once again?  I don't mean to insult your resolve: "I'm going to do it this year for sure!"  Over at StatisticBrain.com they have some sobering stats about New Year's resolutions.  Did you know that for 2015,

Only 8% of people were successful in achieving their resolutions.

24% of people who make resolutions (only 45% of all Americans usually make resolutions) never succeed and fail each time.



I can believe these stats.  After all, before I got a hold of Brian Tracy's, "Goals! How to get everything you want--faster than you ever thought possible," I was a statistic myself...




The year was 2006 and I was going to turn 30 in September.  I was having a mid-life crisis.  Laughable, but true.  I told my ex-wife, wife #1, that I wanted to buy myself a Classic car.  I verbalized my New Year's resolution to her: I will save more money each month until my birthday.

To make a long story short, I saved nothing, nada, zippo, but I still bought an $8000, 1965 Corvair Monza coupe.  I had to ship it from Las Vegas to California.  Filled with false emotion that this car would somehow make me feel like I was accomplishing a bucket list item, and with my ex-wife's permission, I tapped into our emergency fund within our Brokerage account to pay for the car.


Image result for 1965 corvair monza
Not my Monza.  Mine was white.


To this day, it is my dumbest financial move.  I sold the car to raise money for Jessica's, wife numero dos, engagement ring and I only got $3500 as we were dead smack in the middle of the financial crisis.  Lesson learned: never buy a big ticket item high on emotion to fill a void you "think" you have.  But the bigger lesson is that I failed to achieve my New Year's resolution, and it depleted my emergency fund as a result.

Why did I fail my New Year's resolution?  For starters, the resolution was very vague.  This is the one mistake all people make.  When you have a resolution like, "I will enjoy life to the fullest," you are bound NOT to enjoy life to the fullest.  That happened to be 2016's top resolution by the way, according to Time.com/money.  What does enjoying life to the fullest look like?  Are you skydiving everyday?  Are you climbing Mt. Everest once a month?  Are you visiting Venice and riding a gondola with your significant other?  What?!

See you don't have to be specific to fail at a resolution, but you do have to be specific to succeed with a goal.  In addition to being specific when re-writing your resolutions, because that's what I want you to do, you'll need to have a timetable of by when to have your resolution completed.  Lastly, make sure your resolution-goal is achievable.  If you want to "save more money," you wouldn't state that you want to save $2000 a month (specific) when your monthly income is just above $3000 (not achievable).

Let me help you out by giving you some examples of resolutions turned into goals.

Resolution: I will save more money.
Goal: I will save $2400 in 2017 by saving an average of $200 every month.

Resolution: I will live life to the fullest.
Goal: By January 31st, I will have gone on a hot air balloon ride with my significant other.

Resolution: I will lose weight.
Goal:  By March 31st, I will have lost 6 pounds (2 pounds a month on average) utilizing a combination of dieting and exercising.

Big difference right?  With goals, you can have benchmarks that let you know if you're being accountable.  Resolutions completely let you off the hook.  This is why you fail to achieve them!  There's no personal accountability in them.

Please don't do resolutions for 2017 unless you convert them into specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely (S.M.A.R.T) goals.  I mean, are you really going to make your resolutions happen this year taking the same approach you took last year, and the year's before?  Chances are that you're not.

Take a deep breath, get a piece of paper and a pencil, and write out your resolutions.  Are they lame?  If so, convert them to goals as I've shown you above.  And just try it out.  You may be surprised by the outcomes and 2017 could in fact be your best year ever!




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HAPPY NEW YEAR!!                

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