Tuesday, December 01, 2015

Start Your New Year’s Resolutions Right Now!

Use this month to work out the bugs in your big audacious goals for 2016—it’s not just about willpower, it’s about the stamina needed to stick with it throughout the year and beyond.

It’s getting colder and darker in many parts of the country. Your inbox is constantly bombarded with last minute Holiday offers. The parties are starting. The late-season football games are on almost every night—and inevitably they’re going into overtime and keeping you up past your bedtime. Fruitcakes, cookies and chocolates are piling up in the office kitchen faster than the incomplete budget forecasts and year-end statements on your desk. Your nieces, nephews and grandchildren are texting you constant revisions to their Holiday gift lists.

And then those annoyingly happy family Holiday cards start rolling in. Perfect lighting. Perfect smiles. Perfect teeth. Now you’re spouse wants to book last-minute flights to New Zealand just so you can re-take your own “perfect family” photo at a deserted white sand beach at sunset. Can’t let anyone “out-cute” and out-smile your kids.

Ah, the Holidays! Just get me through the next month, you say to yourself, and you’ll start hitting the gym again, lose 10 pounds, get your desk and hard-drive cleaned up and back on track for 2016.


You have to start NOW on those New Year’s resolutions—Yes, during the very first days of December--and find a way to stick to them. Not only that, WRITE THEM DOWN and display them publicly….at least in your home, if not your place of work….to ensure extra accountability.

Not to be a Debbie Downer in December, but now’s the best time to test out your resolutions and work the bugs out so you can hit the ground running in January. You need to be brutally honest with yourself about your willpower, your stamina and how reasonable your goals are. The key is to own your resolutions; don’t let them own you.

Realistic goals

If you’re a couch potato, which resolution are you more likely to stick to—running a marathon in six months or walking/jogging for 20 minutes three times per week? If your goal is to be a published author in 2016, which plan are you more likely to stick to—having the first 6 chapters of your new book done by July 4, or starting a weekly blog that goes out each and every Thursday, even when you’re traveling? If can’t put off building a social media presence any longer, which resolution are you more likely to stick to—gaining 10,000 new followers in 2016, or making 1-2 really meaningful new contacts each and every month?

Trust us, the phased-in, consistent approach to behavior modification (aka personal resolutions) works. You’ll feel better about yourself and probably look better, too the next time we see you. And there’s nothing worse than seeing a new company blog with four to six posts in January, two in February, one in March and then not another one until June. Oops!

Why resolutions don’t stick

Harvard Business School professor, Amy Cuddy told Huffington Post that resolutions don’t stick because we’re setting ourselves up for failure. “We tend to set unreasonable aims for ourselves and then experience negative emotions and a lack of motivation when we don’t reach them,” she observed. “Failing to meet the unreasonable goals we set for ourselves can in turn take a negative toll on our self-worth.” 

We also have way too many options for what Ken Tencer, CEO of Spyder Works, Inc. calls self-innovation. “I don’t know many people who are completely content with themselves,” said Tencer. “Most of us have one or two things we’d like to improve, enlarge, reduce or re-invent. Either directly or through online course providers, we can now take thousands of university courses from esteemed institutions. Or we can find websites that teach us how to change the oil in our car, enhance our yoga skills or learn a new language. Being innovative with our own lives is an excellent complement to being innovative in our businesses.

Sound familiar?

According to researcher Richard Wiseman, half of all Americans set themselves a New Year’s resolution, but most who do (88%) fail. He agrees with Cuddy that we set goals that are too high or too audacious and that we also tend to be impatient, sprinting out of the gate in search of immediate “returns” rather than taking “baby steps” that will take some time before they move the needle.

Beating the odds

Trying to get your clients to modify their financial behavior in the new year can be quite challenging, too. But it can be highly rewarding if true changes result, said Dr. Glenn Freed of Los Angeles based Vericimetry Advisors LLC, who we’ve been working with for several years. “And you’ll further cement your status as a client’s most trusted advisor,” said Freed.
“Framing a legal, charitable or financial planning discussion around New Year’s resolutions can be quite effective for communicating with clients,” added Freed. “You can have discussions in person or through a client newsletter. The key is to use these resolutions as a way to check in with clients throughout the year.


Advisors help their clients follow up on resolutions not only in December, but throughout the year. Framing the financial planning discussion in this way at the start of the year and then following up consistently can be an effective way to help clients stay on the path to financial resolution success. Make 2016 a great year no matter what the markets, the economy and geopolitical factors throw at us.

But you’ve got to start NOW—not after the Holidays.

Our blog has more as well as the FREE Resources page of our website.

Tags: New Year’s Resolutions early, Dr. Glenn Freed, Vericimetry Advisors LLC, financial planning resolutions, Amy Cuddy, Richard Wiseman, Ken Tencer

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