SmartPlan Blog

A New Year and Endless Possibilities. What are You Creating?


Author: Jennifer Foster Investor Coach with SmartPlan Investing

With the beginning of a New Year upon us, many of us are dreaming of the endless possibilities a fresh start can bring. There seems to be so much optimism in the air this time of year, yet it seems to fade out so quickly. How many of us resolved to lose weight or to get fit just about every new year? We might start out strong, but within days or weeks we give up. Despite our best intentions our efforts don't last. Why is that? According to recent research by Static Brain Research Institute 45% of Americans say they usually make New Year's resolutions, but only 8% report successfully achieving their goals. How can we keep the optimism alive and achieve our resolutions and goals in 2022?

Do you want in on the secret I learned and have been applying in my own life? Let's explore how to create resolutions we can fulfill in 2022.

There I was sitting in a room with about 50 others, we had recently graduated from a course, and we were on to our next discovery in the world of transformation. Over the next ten weeks, we were going to embark on a very eye-opening topic "Commitments''. The leader began listing various areas of our lives- for example health and wellbeing, relationships, spirituality/faith, and so on. I don't remember her exact words, but this is what I recall.

Write down your commitments in each of these areas. I quickly began writing down my commitment to eat healthy and exercise and then went on to the other areas. After class, I went on with my week and hardly paid any attention to the things I wrote down. The following week I went back to class, and I had a HUGE wake-up call. I said I was committed to my health and well-being, but what I discovered is I was committed to eating unhealthy foods and watching television. I realized in almost every area I said I was committed to something, but that was not at all what I was committed to. Many people will say they have a commitment to good health, yet we often violate that commitment every day even before we get to lunch. Maybe for you, it's that sugar-filled morning Cup o' Joe or a donut from the breakroom. Oh wait, that's me. How can we take on fulfilling our resolutions and goals in 2022?

To have victory over unfulfilled resolutions I say we begin with asking ourselves this question. What would a person committed to being healthy and fit be doing? Maybe you want to grow in your faith - ask yourself what does a faithful person looks like? Perhaps at work, you want to be a leader, how would a leader be "being and acting"? When it comes to family, maybe you want to be a loving parent. What does a loving parent look like? Here are some other areas to consider: Friends and Family, Personal Environment, Career or Life Purpose, Relationship, and Community. You also want to take note of what is out of alignment with your commitment.

If you asked different people in your life for what you can be counted on for and for what you couldn't be counted on for - their answers may surprise you. Do you want to be bold? Ask them for what you can never be counted on for. Maybe they say they can count on you to go to work and make a living, but you can't be counted on to be home for dinner. Maybe you can never be counted on to be on time. I have someone in my life, they are always telling me they are going to do something, but they never actually do it. Then they'll tell me they are not going to do something, yet they do it anyway. This person cannot be counted on to be their word. Ultimately, I tune this person out because I don't ever believe they will do what they say or won't do what they tell me they won't do. Is that how people see me? Is that how people see you? Maybe you say - I'm going to go workout today and you never do, or seldomly do. Maybe you say you're going to stop ordering from food delivery services, yet you keep doing it. You will become known for not being a person who keeps their word. Those who find themselves in this trap simply have no integrity around what they say. In this definition of integrity, simply means doing what you say you will do, or not doing what you say you won't do. If we take on being counted on for what we say in 2022 - then we can take on being in integrity. This will take practice.

One thing is for sure, we will never be 100% in integrity all the time. Life happens. You may say I'll be home for dinner by 6:00 pm and on your way home there is a horrible accident. You get stuck at a dead stop and a trauma hawk must land to get the injured to safety. You can't do anything about this, it's just beyond your control. However, when it comes to being our word or having integrity around our word, we may take actions others might not. The story could have easily gone like this. You say you'll be home by 6:00 pm for dinner and instead of leaving with just enough time to make it home - you account for possible traffic and leave early. In this scenario, you instead miss the accident and show up home early and ready for dinner. Your family is so happy that you are there to join them and hear about each other's day. What if you showed up like that in the world around all your commitments? What if you were known as a person who is known to be counted on for whatever they say? This does not just happen by default. As humans, we have become good at excusing our actions and the actions of others. We say sorry I'm late and the other person says, it's ok. There is no integrity when we do this, and there is an impact on others when we are not in integrity. It's going to take practice for us to master this part of our lives as well as any resolutions or goals we create.

Do you know New Year's resolutions are said to first have been practiced by the ancient Babylonians, some 4,000 years ago? According to records, they were the first to hold celebrations honoring the new year. The Babylonians believed that if they kept their word, they would find favor with their gods. Consequently, if they didn't keep their word, they believed they would fall out of favor with their gods, and no one wanted that. The practice evolved in ancient Rome by reformed-minded emperor Julius Caesar. He also is known for establishing January as the beginning of the New Year from the former mid-March. January is said to come from the name Janus, the two-faced god who had a special significance to the Romans. They believed that Janus symbolized looking backward into the previous year and looking ahead to the future. The Romans would make promises of good conduct for the next year while making sacrifices to the deity. The early Christians adopted a similar practice of thinking about their past mistakes and making a resolve to do better in the future. Today the tradition is mostly secular where we mainly make promises to ourselves and are often focused on self-improvement. While I love the term resolve I believe if we change the term from resolutions and goals to "commitments" we may find a lot more power.

According to Oxford resolution means 1. A firm decision to do or not do something. I don't know about you, but I know for me I have made firm decisions and been determined and that made no difference in my actions. Some synonyms for resolution are intention, resolve, decision, intent, aim, aspiration, and design. Also according to Oxford the word goal means the object of a person's ambition or effort, an aim or desired result. When I hear a goal, I hear an option. Not a promise or guarantee but more like a hope.

However, Oxford cites the meaning of commitment to be 1. The state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc. 2. An engagement or obligation. I love the first definition as it states "of being" which is what we talked about earlier. How and who we are "being" rather than a target we might hit. A way of being is who we are, not something we have to check off. This does take practice, notice when you are out of integrity with your word and clean it up. Maybe you need to clean that up with someone else, or maybe just with yourself. Commit to being your word. There are some helpful steps to practice being in integrity with your word. I'm not teaching a transformational workshop and if you'd like information on the courses I have taken you can reach out to me, and I'd be happy to share the information. However, I have touched on a few things from my training without giving you the course and their trade secrets. What I'm providing is a simplified overview of things I've learned here and there and can share with you, but if you want the real transformation I'd strongly encourage registering for the course. In the meantime, here are some practices to help you get started.

  • Write down your commitments.
  • Write down the steps that you need to take.
  • Have a "by when" or due date.
  • Schedule time in your calendar.
  • Review it daily.
  • Share your commitment with others.

Make a practice of being your word, use whatever practice you can implement to ensure you will be your word. Here are a few ideas: put it on your calendar, set up reminders, set an alarm on your phone, name your alarms: i.e... workout, water, etc.., communicate your commitments with others, and do what you say you will do. As you can see, commitments can be a very powerful way to fulfill our promises. Now it's time to practice, practice, practice.

Have you made a commitment to your financial future and dreams? Spending less and saving more seems to be at the top of many Americans' New Year's lists. Understandably everyone is at a different place on their financial journey, so whether it's starting an emergency fund or funding your retirement, your dreams deserve your mindfulness and commitment in 2022. We understand financial literacy is a desire for many, but there are often conflicting views. In addition to so many steps, we can give up before we even get started. I get it, I was in this same space not that long ago. I don't like complicated and time-consuming. This is one reason I love our Investor Education workshops. Once a month for about two hours you can learn various aspects of managing and investing your money, all from the comfort of your home. Let me be clear. I'm not suggesting the workshop will teach you how to invest on your own; in fact, we strongly advise against that because we believe in the accountability and behavior control system that accountability can offer. However, you can learn how investing works, how our own biases can be a danger to our portfolio results, how to avoid common investing pitfalls, and how to harness the power of time-tested investing principles backed by awards such as the Nobel Prize in Economic Science.

In conclusion, if you want to be a prudent investor in 2022, ask, how does a prudent investor act, what do they do? What do they avoid? Make commitments around your money and investing for 2022. How much will you save and invest? By when? Want to gain financial knowledge, make a practice of attending the SmartPlan Investing Investor Coaching series. Cheers to making 2022 your most successful year!


Definitions from Oxford online.

This is not an offer or sale of securities. All investing involves risk, and particular investment outcomes are not guaranteed. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an offer to sell, a solicitation to buy, or a recommendation for any security, or an offer to provide advisory or other services by SmartPlan Investing in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation, purchase or sale would be unlawful under the securities laws of such jurisdiction. The information should not be construed as financial or investment advice on any subject matter.

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