Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

'Tis the season for New Years Resolutions to be made, and broken.  I have found (as many millions of others surely have) that while the concept of a New Years Resolution is fantastic - using the new year as a catalyst for change - generally it doesn't end up working out.

What I have found over the last few years is how effective it is to create the momentum for change not by vowing to dramatically separate from my vices on January 1st, but by making small changes throughout the year. By having ongoing short term and long-term goals, it makes it easier to stick with them (and the guilt isn't so bad when you take a step backwards because you can always try again tomorrow).

At first, making these small changes (having a $10 limit when eating out instead of ordering a $20 lunch, for example) don't really seem to make that big of an impact.  But as you get used to them, you will start finding new ways to make your new habits work to your benefit (like taking the $10 you're saving each time you dine out and putting it into a savings account).  As time passes, you one day wake up to realize that you actually enjoy the change, and start hunting for one more thing in your life to modify.

FYI - I made a "dining out" limit for myself and put all of the money I saved towards paying off my personal debt.  My reward: I paid my car off 18 months early.  It's amazing what a little change can do.

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