The start of a new year has many making resolutions: losing weight, working out, saving money, or paying off debt. Many resolutions pertain to ending bad habits or trying to start new, healthier habits. According to a study by the Fisher College of Business, researchers suggest that only 9% of Americans that make resolutions complete them. In fact, research goes on to show that 23% of people quit their resolution by the end of the first week, and 43% quit by the end of January.
Resolutions are good when you are trying to make changes towards a healthier version of yourself for the right reasons.
To be successful with these changes, we need to be motivated beyond selfish motives. One of my goals for 2024 is to work out three days per week. If I am honest, I would like to lose weight, but I did not make a numeric weight loss goal. The reason for the goal is to be mentally and physically healthier. For the past couple of years, I have put my focus on 1. my kids and running them around to all their activities and 2. my job and serving my clients. I recently had a couple of minor medical issues, which was enough to make me realize that I needed to make my health a priority. My health is what allows me to fulfill my calling to help others!
As a former college athlete, I have been programmed that unless I am dying at the end of the workout, I did not push myself hard enough. If I couldn’t set aside at least one hour for an intense workout, then there was no reason to exercise. I realize that may seem ridiculous to many of you, but it is a change of mentality that has been difficult for me to overcome and has held me back from my health goals. To make a change that will last longer than the end of the month, my oldest son and I are going to run/walk two days per week and do some light weight lifting together. I want to model healthy behaviors for my kids and teach them the importance of staying active. I want to be physically healthy so that I can serve my family, my clients, and my community to the greatest of my ability!
Resolutions around finances can be a struggle for some, just like exercising.
According to Phillippa Lally, a health psychology researcher at University College London, a new habit usually takes a little more than two months — 66 days to be exact — and as much as 254 days until it’s fully formed. You must be intentional for the first 66 days so that you can reap the benefits of the changes that you are making. If your financial goals are centered around having more, fulfilling an image of success, or any other selfish motives, it may be difficult to get out of debt and make the tough sacrifices to build up your savings.
One of my favorite quotes from Dave Ramsey is, “Live like no one else lives now so you can live like no one else lives later!” Make financial goals that are centered around supporting yourself and your family now and in the future. I see many people my age living their “best life” now but have very little or nothing saved for retirement. According to the Social Security Administration, the average social security benefit for 2023 was $1705.79. Are you going to be able to support yourself on social security alone? If you aren’t saving now, you will be a burden to your kids and your family in the future.
Just like I have my son as my accountability partner for the workouts, we recommend that you have an accountability partner when making financial goals.
Find that person who you can have weekly budget meetings with, especially in the beginning. The budget will help you tell your money where it will be used, not letting the money control you. If you need help creating a budget, here is a link to Dave Ramsey’s EveryDollar budget guide.
As a financial advisor, my job is to work with people to be good stewards of the financial blessings that God provides all year, not just at the start of the year.
We need money to live, to pay our bills, to purchase food, and to survive. But we don’t want money to control you. For those who are blessed, find opportunities to give to those who are in need! The Bible commands us to not love (idolize) money.
“Your way of life should be free from the love of money, and you should be content with what you have. After all, he has said, ‘I will never leave you or abandon you.'”
God will provide for you! We don’t want you to be obsessed with money, but you do need healthy financial habits. Having a budget, paying off debt, saving, and responsible investing are all healthy habits.
Spending more than you make each month and utilizing credit are not responsible behaviors.
Unfortunately, the world does not model how to be good stewards. God wants to bless you so you can bless others!
Resolutions must be personal and meaningful to you but also focused on God’s will for our lives.
Chasing an image you see on social media or purchasing the next best thing that you think will bring you happiness will never provide you true joy. Those are distractions from God’s true purpose for our lives.
2 Corinthians 4:17-18
“Our temporary minor problems are producing an eternal stockpile of glory for us that is beyond all comparison. We don’t focus on the things that can be seen but on the things that can’t be seen. The things that can be seen don’t last, but the things that can’t be seen are eternal.”
With the start of a new year, a new beginning, allow yourself the opportunity to truly reflect on the things that matter most to you. How can you be a better version of yourself in the eyes of God, not in the eyes of the world?
Make sure that your time and effort focus on those things that truly matter; be intentional! Don’t just make a new resolution that won’t make it past February; make an intention that will last and positively impact others!