Well, it’s almost that time again when we reflect back on another year gone by and determine with a renewed vigor that things just have to change; this will be the year it all changes! You’ve been there, right? You say to yourself; this will be the year you will lose those extra 10 or 20 pounds, or this will be the year you get to the gym and regain that form of years ago, or you swear this is the year you’re paying off those damn credit cards!
So how many of you have had a New Year’s Eve resolution go something like this: Excited and energized, you believe this is the year you finally follow through. But instead, by the time February or March rolls around and you are a couple of months into a new year, you have already quit! Has this ever happened to you? I’ve been down that road a time or two!
So the next question we all have to ask ourselves is; why? Why do we continue to make resolutions every single year even though in the back of our minds, we already know we probably won’t follow through anyway?
Why We Continue to Make Resolutions Year After Year
I was watching my son play a new game on Wii the day after Christmas and he kept restarting the game. When I asked him why, he said he kept messing up and wanted to start over. If only life were that simple, huh? Without a doubt, psychologically speaking, the beginning of a new year offers us all the ability to hit the “reset” button. In essence, giving us a fresh start; or so we think!
Dr. Maxwell Maltz, author of the classic Psycho-Cybernetics, said that human beings have a built-in goal seeking “success mechanism” that is part of the subconscious mind. This success mechanism is constantly searching for ways to help us reach our targets and find answers to our problems. According to Maltz, we work and feel better when our success mechanism is fully engaged going after clear targets. Sounds like the definition of a New Year’s Eve resolution, right?
According to Dr. Maxwell Maltz, all we have to do to use this mechanism is to give it a target. The New Year’s Eve resolution is the “success mechanism” we set for ourselves every year and January 1st becomes the target date we fully engage!
Substitute the Word “Commitment” for “Resolution”
I think we can all agree the fact that we keep making resolutions every year, even though our past history shows we don’t always follow through, means that we intrinsically have hope and a belief in our ability to change. But now it’s time for you to stop hoping and start accomplishing by substituting the word “commitment” for the word “resolution”!
This year, take a moment to truly reflect on your entire life over the last several years. Would you like to live a life with more savings and no debt, better health and less stress, more time and less clutter, and with more joy minus the obligations? If you said yes, then here are 4 New Year’s “Commitments” that will change your life and ensure financial success in 2013:
1. Eliminate Debt Entirely: Now that the holidays are over, the bills are coming due! But piling up new debt on top of what you already have is not only stupid, it should also serve as a huge red flag that you are living well beyond your means! You can eliminate debt with these 3 simple steps if you commit to doing it:
- Stop Acquiring New Debt
- Establish an Emergency Fund
- Attack Your Existing Debt
Read more about how to eliminate debt here
2. Strive for Financial Independence: We probably all have a different idea of what financial independence looks like. For me, this is what financial independence looks like;
- Being Debt-Free
- Not Using Credit
- Saving Money as Priority #1
I haven’t used credit in over 2 years so one of my New Year’s Eve “Commitments” is to stock away as much cash as possible!
3. Make More Money: I could make an argument for this being commitment number one since without it, the other steps are nearly impossible to accomplish. Making more money could mean supplementing your income or finding a better paying job. It could mean starting a side business or having a partner or stay at home parent find a part-time job. Whatever your definition, the idea is to generate more revenue in order to achieve financial independence!
4. Take the “Consumer” out of Consumerism: Stop buying crap! Can this be any simpler? The next time you find yourself making a purchase, ask yourself these 3 questions:
- What are the reasons I am buying this; is it a need…or a want? If it’s a need, defined as you cannot physically live without it in order to have a safe and secure life, then go directly to question #2. If it’s a want, move along! In fact, for the entire 2013, why not commit to not making any purchases that are defined as a want? (seriously; give it a try)
- Is there another way to obtain the results or desired outcome that purchasing this need satisfies without actually making a purchase? Think re-purposing something not being used or headed for the trash-bin or asking friends or neighbors if they have something they are throwing away that you could use. The idea is to find alternatives that will save you money, prevent you from spending, and helping you accomplish your New Year’s Commitments!
And… if you absolutely have to make a purchase; can it be bought second hand? Here’s the Amish motto: “Use it up, wear it out, make do or do without.” Lorilee Craker, author of the book “Money Secrets of the Amish: Finding True Abundance in Simplicity, Sharing and Saving” says in an article written by Gregory Karp of the Chicago Tribune News that many Amish enjoy their frugality and many seem to benefit from an inner peace that other Americans will never find as they attempt to keep up with the Joneses.
“They’re not stressed out like we are. They’re not wondering; how am I going to make my car payment?’” she said. “They’re secure. They sleep peacefully because they know there’s money in the bank.”
Here’s the bottom line my fellow Amateur Consumers: if you are still making New Year’s Eve Resolutions this year, then remember to remove the R and the E and then commit to finding a S-O-L-U-T-I-O-N to what ails your credit and financial life!
May 2013 be the year you embrace frugality, kick debt in the ass, and find an inner peace! Happy New Year’s everyone!