We stand at the brink of a new calendar, so what can we do to make our lives better in 2018?
I’m starting this column on Christmas Day to get it ready for you today. Therefore, let me start by saying I hope you had a joyous Christmas season and that you — and NOT your credit cards — are charged up to the max to grab the New Year by the horns! I hope 2018 becomes your best year yet. One tool to help you succeed hugely next year is a tightly targeted personal Resolutions List.
Two weeks ago I was interviewed on radio (BFM 89.9) on strategies and ideas for us to set viable New Year Resolutions pertaining to money. I remember one of the first things I said on air that Thursday morning was that money is NOT the most important thing in life.
For most of us, what’s more important than our wealth is our health. Money — like oxygen and food and water and shelter — is a deficiency need. We’re wired down to our DNA to miss or crave a DN (deficiency need) when we don’t have enough of that resource. But when we do, we stop fixating on it.
Health and fitness are also deficiency needs. When people are young and hale and hearty, feeling great physically isn’t something they focus on much. Trust me, though, as I trumpet a geriatric clarion call.
As we age and our various body systems start to strain, creak and erode; then what was once enjoyed in thoughtless abundance — heightened physical wellness — evaporates.
Thankfully, an improved diet, increased hydration, elevated mental stimulation and enhanced fitness can, to a large extent, decelerate and even reverse some anatomical and cerebral entropy.
If you aren’t familiar with the physics of entropy, just think of it as any physical system’s tendency to dissipate energy and thus migrate from a state of order to one of increased chaos (consider an untended garden or a typical teenager’s bedroom over time). Forcing elegant order back into such a system involves reversing entropy locally, which necessitates an injection of energy from outside the system under scrutiny.
This also applies to our relationships. For them to improve with time, we must pump focus and energy into them. We tend to take our loved ones for granted... until we lose them! So, before tragedy strikes we should resolve to be better spouses, children, parents and friends. What is more important than our hoarded piles of ringgit and sen is the love we dispense and receive.
So as 2017 winds down to oblivion, we should harness the power of New Year Resolutions to make 2018 better.
Interestingly, if we choose to set few (say two or three, no more than four) long-term resolutions, we stand a higher chance of reengineering our lives for the better than if we indiscriminately dissipate our focus across 20 or 50 or 100 resolutions!
As we narrow our focus, remember that while money is not the most important thing in life it tends to affect all other more crucial facets of life. Therefore, in your tight, targeted Resolutions list include one or two that will make you a better manager of your personal and family finances, such as establishing appropriate cash buffers or reserves, analysing insurance needs, purchasing appropriate policies, reducing debt, interviewing financial planners, investing logically or writing your will. (Toward that end, to listen to my interview on BFM where I also explained the dangers of gambling on bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, head to: www.bfm.my/rns-rajen-devadason-rd-wealth-creation-financial-resolutions-...)
The quality of our lives is determined by our goal-dreaming, goal-setting and goal-achieving abilities. The most valuable opportunity that a refreshed Gregorian calendar affords us each January 1st is to zero-in on aspects of our existence that we are unhappy about to initiate proactive change.
To grow better, though, we must squarely face the truth that most people fail in their resolutions, whether it is exercising, loving, reading or saving more; losing fat or bad attitudes; or learning a new language or how to invest rationally. Since we WILL see our resolutions peter out and lose steam by Jan 3rd or 7th or 15th, what can we do to accept our likely short-term failure yet raise our odds of succeeding in the long haul by December 2018?
Six-part formula for making your New Year’s Resolutions stick
1. Initially set about six resolutions you are keen on working on that span the various dimensions of your life like fitness, health, relationships, self-learning, work, recreation and finance.
2. Try to stick to your resolutions throughout the first week of January.
3. Don’t beat yourself up IF your resolve fizzles out in a few days.
4. Reset your resolutions list by eliminating two or three that you no longer care about.
5. On Feb 1, restart your streamlined Resolutions List. Try to stick to them for a few days longer than before.
6. Use March 1 through to Dec 1 as your monthly fresh starts to keep your resolutions.
As you persevere in sticking to and restarting your Resolutions List each month for longer stretches, your self-respect will skyrocket. Then, so will the quality of your life.
Happy New Year 2018!
© 2017 Rajen Devadason