It's the beginning of a new year, and like most people, you may have prepared a list of things that you want to accomplish for 2013. Whether you hope to get fit, lose weight, save more money, read a book each month or spend less time on Facebook, you probably have a strong desire to finally see your plans through to completion this time.
The reality is that the success rate for keeping New Year's resolutions is usually very low for many persons. Despite our best wishes and firm declarations of change, somehow it is just easier to continue along the familiar highway of 'same-old, same-old' than to traverse the often challenging pathway that leads to progress.
If you are one of those faithful readers who have followed my column for almost seven years, you might have seen me confess my own limitations with following through on important tasks. In the past, there have been several missed opportunities and projects that have been left undone, because of my lack of courage, determination, or patience.
As elusive as world peace?
When it comes to financial matters, many people have several key objectives that continually present themselves for attention like unclaimed suitcases on a revolving luggage carousel at the airport. If you look back on your money resolutions and think, "Hasn't action item #3 been on this list for the past five years?" you may be very disappointed with your efforts.
Some of the usual suspects in the money resolutions line-up may include: 'save every month without raiding my account;' 'prepare a budget and stick to it;' 'pay off my credit card,' or 'stop buying so many shoes/clothes/magazines.' These important goals will normally surface for air in January, only to sink into the deep for the rest of the year.
Even if you're frustrated at your repeated failures in sticking to your annual pledges, don't give up on your dreams and just resolve to not make any resolutions this year. Be encouraged that it is quite possible to actualise those lofty objectives that have eluded you in the past, by adopting a different approach to goal accomplishment.
Fewer resolutions, more actions
One of the obstacles I have encountered with following through on my plans is that I sometimes have too many things that I am trying to accomplish at the same time. Like a foodie faced with a smorgasbord of delectable fare, you can become overwhelmed with too many items on your plate that require your attention.
Ironically, making a long list of resolutions for the year might impede you from attaining all your objectives. If confronted with too many challenging tasks to complete, your brain may choose the path of least resistance and refuse to do any of them. Therefore, having too many plans may actually be sabotaging your success!
The concept of less-is-more to overcome procrastination and actualise your goals was discussed in an online marketing course presented by Stephen Pierce of Impulsive Profits. In the lesson, Mike Litman, best-selling author of Conversations with Millionaires, disclosed a simple method of getting ahead with your objectives.
Clarity can bring success
Litman explained that the first step in the process was to write down the question, "What is the one thing that I don't want to do today, but if I did, it would change my life and/or my business?" Instead of contemplating all the missing links in your money success, what one action item would have the maximum impact on your finances right now?
Step number two was to think, "How will I benefit from doing it?" Litman advised persons to be very specific and detailed when writing down this response. It is not enough to just list your objective; you have to really consider why it is important and see the benefits in black and white. This will help to motivate you to go after your goal.
Litman's third step was straightforward. "Do it now. If you can't do it immediately, schedule a time in writing to do it." If you're unable to act on your financial goal because you have no idea what to do, there are detailed instructions on how to accomplish various money objectives located on the website www.financiallysmartadvice.com.
Achieve, one step at a time
You may have heard the old joke, "How do you eat an elephant?" The answer is to take one bite at a time. No matter how big the task at hand, you can eventually complete it if you break it down into simple, smaller chunks which are not too intimidating or intense. There is wisdom in the words of Confucius, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."
Your mission for this month is to put aside that long 'things-to-do-to-with-money' list and focus your attention on the one crucial objective that will have the most immediate impact on your finances. Ensure that you carry out one little task every, single day that will keep the momentum going until your goal is complete. So, what are you waiting on? Just do it!
Cherryl is a money coach, business mentor, and founder of Financially S.M.A.R.T. Services. Her upcoming book, "The 3 Ms of Money" will reveal all the secrets she learned about financial success. Get more advice on money and business matters at www.entrepreneursinjamaica.com. Email comments to email@example.com.