Feeling flabby? Already drinking again? And your financial resolutions for 2011 have gone by the wayside?
Then it’s time to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and make these resolutions work. It’s only you and your finances that will suffer from your lack of willpower.
If you need an excuse to stop an expensive habit in its tracks, Lent is on its way and it’s a great excuse to give something up (or try something new if it’s good for you).
For the past 12 years I’ve given up alcohol and caffeine for the 40 days and nights of Lent. This year Lent runs from Wednesday March 9 to Saturday April 23.
Financially it’s a great move. It saves a total of more than $300 (2/3rds on caffeine and 1/3rd on wine) for the seven weeks, which isn’t’ to be sneezed at – and the savings continue at a slightly lower rate for months afterwards.
The great thing about Lent is that it’s long enough to break a habit and you’ll often find someone to share the experience with. Ask around and you’re bound to find people who give up something for Lent.
If you’re wavering on your resolutions, consider these thoughts:
Excuses are for losers: if you hear yourself saying: “I’ll start tomorrow or next week”, or “it’s okay just this once”, or even “smoking is too difficult to quit”, then castigate yourself. Shame on you. Others succeed, so why shouldn’t you?
Success is 99% psychological: if you’ve already failed, are about to fail, or fail most years at sticking to resolutions and goals, then admit to yourself that the fault lies in the grey matter between your ears.
Keep a journal to succeed: keep a notebook with you or even a smart phone application to write down your feelings when you are tempted to break your financial and other resolutions and review your scribblings at the end of each month. There may be small triggers which can be overcome.
Be honest with yourself: dishonesty leads to failure. If you’re failing at your resolutions, you’re behaving like a loser not a winner. Get yourself a buddy to work with or someone to report back to who will keep you honest.
Make changes in small increments: don’t try to become someone you’re not overnight. Cut down your goal into bite sized chunks of a month’s duration each. It takes that long to overcome most habits. If, for example, it’s eating lunch out at $10 to $20 a time, start by making your lunch on Mondays, increase that to two days a week after a month and so on. But don’t be a monk. Plan to eat out once a week or fortnight, to make it a treat.
Cut yourself some slack: if there isn’t “me money” in your budget then you’re making a mistake. Give yourself a comfortable amount to spend on pleasures.
Financial prescription for the New Year
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