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Why New Year’s Resolutions Still Suck

The New Year is upon us, which means, once again, you get to read my rant on the disdain I have for New Year’s resolutions – sorry if you’re looking for financial planning advice today, as this is my one blog of the year where I veer a bit off topic. So with that glorious intro, ENJOY!New Years Resolutions 2

It amazes me that the classic con of joining a gym in January still works today. It’s so baffling. It seems like all I see this time of the year are gym membership commercials and billboards.

I can’t fault them though, as I would be doing the same if it helped the bottom line… and it certainly does. On that same note, it’s also funny to see all the grocery coupons clearly centered on “eating healthy.” I’m guessing that also works – well, at least for the first week or so.

I think it’s so nice they’re looking out for us and trying to help us fulfill our New Year’s resolutions. I mean, what would we do without these advertisers looking out for our best interests?

I could go on and on, but you get the point. The advertisers know we’re suckers and, heck, most of us even know we’re suckers, but we still take the bait every year.

So, why do we keep making these grandiose resolutions every single year? Who knows; maybe it’s just in our DNA from doing it for so many years.

Regardless of why we do it, I think most of us can agree that it’s pretty pointless. I mean, how many people look back at all of the resolutions they accomplished in the previous year– uh, nobody.

But again, we still do it. We look at all of the “negative” things in our lives and vow to fix them over the next 30 days.

“I’m fat and need to lose weight” – better join a gym and start buying groceries at Whole Foods.

“I need to stop insert vice here” – better just quit cold turkey because that’s super easy.

All of the negative habits we have– at least for most of us – took many years form, but somehow, we’re going to make resolutions to fix them in 30 days. As we all know, it just doesn’t work that way.

Let’s face it; forming a new habit isn’t easy and usually takes a lot of time.

If you haven’t worked out in a long time, then going to the gym for longer than a few weeks is going to be HARD.

If you’ve been eating like crap for years, you’re not all of a sudden going to start pounding kale and almonds (unsalted, of course) all the time.

If you’ve been smoking for 20 years, you’re not going to kick the habit in the first week of the year.

Big grandiose resolutions are tough to accomplish over the long-term, let alone in just a matter of a few weeks. They take time and hard work.

Change and transformation don’t happen overnight. Whatever your goal is, you have to start with small accomplishments on a daily basis.

And, guess what? You’re going to slip up every now and then. It’s just part of the process, and you have to accept it. 

This is where most of us get it wrong. After slipping up just that one time, we just give up because “what’s the point anymore after I’ve already screwed up.”

The key is knowing you’re going to make mistakes, but not completely giving up after making them. You just have to get back on track and get better.

You may need to lose 100 pounds, but why not start with five… and then another five… and then another five… and before you know it, you’re 50 pounds lighter and already halfway to your goal.

Whatever you’re trying to accomplish, you just have to break it down into baby steps and know you’re going to screw up somewhere along the way.

I’m by no means a life coach guru, psychologist, or personal trainer, but I know what works for me and I know what’s worked for others… and this is the formula I see time and time again.

So, just stop making your crazy New Year’s resolutions and start with a small goal that you’d like to accomplish for the first week of January. Once you make it through the first week, then move on to the next.

But, most importantly, know that you’re going to screw up at some point. And, when you do, are you going to give in and give up or are you going to accept your faults and get back on track the next day?

Best of luck in 2018!

This is a post from Clint Haynes, a Certified Financial Planner® in Lee’s Summit, MO. He is also the founder and owner of NextGen Wealth. You can learn more about Clint at the website NextGen Wealth.

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