New Year’s is one of those supposed-to-be-hopeful times that has become tinged with frustration, because you know how it’s all going to turn out. You’ve been through this before, and so has everyone around you — you make a resolution, you start the first few days or weeks with the best of intentions and some newfound energy, then you inevitably fall off the wagon by the time Valentine’s Day rolls around, if not well before. It makes the idea of doing yet another “it’s gonna be different” routine feel embarrassing, if not self-deceptive. It’s probably smarter to just promise to do nothing differently this year, because then at least you won’t be letting anyone down, right?
And that’s fair. I’m of the opinion that changes — especially huge things, like how one handles one’s finances or health — happen slowly, in tiny increments, and often are spurred on by events or circumstances we can’t foresee. We’re all on a very jagged path towards being the people we want to be, and expecting ourselves to suddenly run in a straight line because the calendar happened to turn over one day is ridiculous. I’m a huge supporter of the often-imperfect ways we get better with money, that may not happen on anyone’s ideal timeline or vision. And I don’t believe that we should buy into arbitrary holidays if we don’t want to, anyway. (The aforementioned Valentine’s Day has always been a pet peeve of mine — and not a day I choose to do something extra-special with my fiancé.)
All that said, I do think that part of the reason that resolutions in general, New Years’ or otherwise, is because they are heavily goal-oriented. We set ourselves a specific number or identity or habit, and focus on it as a kind of finish line, instead of making adjustments day-to-day. I believe that if you want to set any kind of resolution, it should be things that you can make a tangible, impactful start on today, something that will show results quickly and give you a boost on a day-to-day level. Humans are really bad at delayed gratification, and really bad at doing something that can only really be quantified down the road.
So we wanted to put together a few resolutions you can get a jump start on today, which are more about the individual acts than some big, quantifiable goal at the end of the race. These acts are not geared towards any specific number or income, so anyone can do them, and you can start them at any time. Best of luck on your 2017 financial journey, but remember above all, to start small!
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