Originally published at FixWillpower
Happy new year!!!
I hope you will have the best coming year ever!
Your year will be as good as you make it.
Achieve and exceed your goals in professional life and make some money. Love others and be loved in your personal life. Make new friends and fix old relationships. Help others, and when the year is over, you can say it’s better than any before.
Make a New Year’s resolution for 2019
New Year’s resolution is a great way to set yourself up for success. One study found that people who make a resolution to change their behavior are 10 times more likely to succeed.
If you want to ensure your success, then do not promise too much. Approximately 60% of people drop their resolutions by the 6-month mark.
If you want to succeed set yourself one or two goals and focus on those. If you want to tackle more areas, then you’ll deplete your willpower and fail to get the results you want.
Check out our huge list of habits that you can develop over the year 30 Ways to Improve Your Life, Get Results, and Be Happier.
Relationships take work. Even the best relationships can fall apart when you are not working on them actively. Here are some of the ideas you can implement in your life.
Be a better partner
Say “I love you” — For some, this comes naturally, but for others, it’s important to make it a habit. Show your love and say it, too. Saying I love you will make your life better.
Helping at home — Share the work with your partner even if you put in 12 hours at work. Sure, if you put in work-work, then it’s often more valuable than vacuuming the house. But, and it’s a huge but, if you don’t share home chores visibly with your partner, then it still blows up in your face. You can put in 500 hours of work-work and take your partner to 10 trips to faraway lands, and it won’t help if you don’t share chores.
Supporting professionally — If your partner works then show interest in what they do. If the work they do is far above you then simply marvel and encourage them. In the case you know something about the field they work on, have meaningful discussions and be a sounding board for their ideas. Help your partner grow.
Talking about the hard things before they explode — In every relationship there are the good times and the bad times. Defuse the bad times as soon as you become aware of the problems. Carrying the problems with you will not only make them bigger, but it will also put a mental load on you and your partner. More mental load means you have less willpower. Less willpower escalates the situation even more. Talk about the problems as soon as possible.
Listening openly — Listen without comments. Don’t think about what you are going to say next. Listen to your partner to understand them better. Listening when they are happy, to share the emotions. Listening intently when they are mad, so you understand their position. You get extra credit for repeating what they said and getting an honest “yes” answer.
Date nights — We are all busy! Time crunch makes us cut corners. We do it often with the closest people we have, as they will understand. Don’t shortchange your relationship. Commit to a date night every week. Seems impossible? Start with two nights every month. Put it in your calendar now and brainstorm ideas what to do. Use Google if you can’t think of anything.
These are the most common problems that drive people and the fixes that help you avoid them. Make a New Year’s resolution to implement at least one of these ideas in your life and make it a tradition.
Be consistent with your kids
Sometimes you are really happy. Sometimes you get tired. Sometimes you are angry or maybe hungry.
All these states of mind influence how you treat your kids. When you are rested, and in a positive mood, then you can bear the mental load of enforcing the rules and building discipline in your children. Next day, after a seemingly endless workday you don’t have the mental capacity to deal with the problem at hand.
Inconsistency teaches kids that the point is not in the principles but the circumstances. Being consistent with your kids may be one of the hardest things you have to do. Do it anyway, because the character you build this way is the best gift you can give to your children.
I will make the New Year’s resolution to be as strong as need be.
Stay in touch with the older members of your family
As you get older, you start to lose friends. Call your mom and dad every week. If physically possible visit them every week or as often as you can. You don’t have to spend a lot of time when meeting them, because if you meet and call often, then you have a lot less to catch up on.
Be there for other old members of your family. Grandparents and uncles and aunts and others who have seen you grow up. Call or visit them on their birthdays and invite them to events like Thanksgiving and Christmas. The attention you give them is a small thing for you, but an important part of their lives.
Remember special occasions
Birthdays are important for most people. Put all your family members’ birthdays on a calendar and call them. Send a physical birthday card, meet them. Let them know that you remember and you care.
Make a New Year’s resolution to contact all your relatives and friends on their birthdays. Now just create a note and write down all the people who should be on that list. More is better. Find out everybody’s birthday. Now open your calendar app and add all the people’s birthdays as recurring appointments.
Remember anniversaries. Use the calendar app! Although the word anniversary implies a yearly occurrence, you can do it more often. For example, we have celebrated countless milestones with my partner:
- 1 year
- 1000 days
- 2222 days
- 55555 hours
- 300 million seconds
4th of July, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Mother’s day, Father’s day and other public holidays are a great excuse to contact your relatives. But you can find even more thoughtful ideas. Maybe they like pasta? Let them know that October 25th is the World Pasta Day and you want to meet them at the pasta place next to their home. Or just call!
Random days of the year
When you want to stand out, call people on random days of the year and follow up on the last meeting you had with them. When you congratulate them on their birthdays, then you are one of many, but when you call them on a random day, then you make a meaningful impact.
Habits and traditions
Tie all the behaviors together into habits and traditions. The things that you want to do daily have to become habits. Create traditions around the more infrequent events like Thanksgiving or Christmas.
The primary health goal for most people is to lose weight. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, then your New Year’s resolution should be about your eating habits, not a specific weight goal. With enough willpower, you can starve yourself to your goal. But then the weight will not stay off.
Make a New Year’s resolution that you will eat healthier and focus on changing your eating habits. This way you will lose weight and keep it off.
Eat less fast burning carbohydrates. Sugar, flour, starch. Low carb diet means no pastry, nod potatoes, no milk (lactose is sugar). More veggies, meat, and fat. Yes, fat helps you get thin of you avoid sugars.
Do you know what is one of the most important things you can do to be more fit and healthier? It’s the daily walking habit. You don’t have to run or go to the gym. Just start walking in one direction for 20 minutes and then turn around and walk back.
Another thing you should remember is that exercise is not a weight loss tool. When you run 10k, then you lose 700 to 1000 calories. You lose weight in the kitchen, not in the gym or running trail.
Professional development resolutions help you expand your earning potential. When you are making New Year’s resolutions for professional growth, focus on processes. Goals are the outcome of well-executed processes. Here are some of the habits that you may consider:
- Writing every day
- Connecting with at least two work contacts every day
- Getting to and keeping inbox zero messages
- Reading 10 to 20 pages from one professional book every day
- Making one sale every day
There are countless other possibilities specific to your circumstances. Take a good look at where do you want to go and build a habit that helps you get there.
Your financial situation is very important. It’s the energy that lets you do all other things in your life. Money alone will not bring you happiness, but it’s much better to be unhappy with money in the bank than without.
Money is security!
The Debt You Have
You should strive to become debt free. Whenever you buy something with debt, you pay more for that item than you would when paying with the money you have. Interest rates can be as high as 20 to 30 per year. High interest means that your 500-dollar TV set could end up costing you 1000 dollars.
Debt to buy assets
There’s on an exception to taking on debt. If you buy assets that make you more money than the loan payment, then you can call it a leveraged investment. You still have to be careful. There are three big categories of investments:
You buy something that you think will appreciate over time. You can buy gold, bitcoin, Apple shares, old wines, art and so forth.
In some cases, it’s pure gambling. For example, when you buy shares of a company, then you bet that the company will do well, pay a dividend, and the share price will go up. Sometimes it will, and sometimes it won’t. Gambling with loan money is stupid.
Are you stupid?
Investing in your own business is sometimes a reason to take on debt. You are still gambling. Just not with the publicly traded shares. In this case, going bust is even more likely. It’s true that investing in your own business is one of the most profitable investments you can make, but please don’t do it with the loan money until you have had some real income from the business.
Don’t be stupid!
Real estate debt is a combination of the two previous options. Real estate prices tend to go up over time. You can make money of rental income from the real estate you buy with the loan money. These two factors combined should give you 5 to 10 percent of inflation-proof income for the foreseeable future. Even in the unlikely event of 2008 real estate crash, you will regain your value over the next decade or so. Not an ideal scenario, but not a total bust either.
Make sure you can service the loan from rental and other incomes. Make sure that you can do that even when central banks raise interest rates to 5 or 10 percent levels.
Make a New Year’s resolution that you only have debt or take out loans that pay for themselves.
Income goals are easy to set and hard to achieve. If you have a boss who pays your salary, then there may not be an opportunity to increase your income from that source. Then find something that you can do as a side project and increase you in com that way. It doesn’t have to be much, but take action and make some extra money.
I suggest that the money you make is a side project that could grow into something bigger and set you off on your path to financial freedom. Driving for Uber is not a viable long-term income strategy.
Resolve to make some extra money every month.
You may not be able to increase your income at will, but there usually are some expenses you can cut. If you are not destitute, then there are expenses you don’t need. Make a New Year’s resolution not to waste money.
When you manage to increase your income and decrease your expenses, then you have something to invest. Put all the money you save into index fund. Every time your income increases put half of that into an index fund.
When you have enough money in the index fund, then you could start thinking about investing in real estate. You can start by investing through a crowdsourcing platform that grants loans to developers. The key here is that those loans have to be mortgage-backed. Anything above 5 percent per year is great in this situation.
After you have saved enough, you may buy and manage your rental real estate. If you are successful, you may want to get into real estate development and take on larger projects.
Make a New Year’s resolution that you will invest some of your savings every month in index funds or real estate.
Invest for you kids
The other day I talked with my son how money crows. He’s 15 now. With my help he has about 1000 dollars invested in real estate. These real estate investments are mortgage-backed and make about 10% per year. (Yes you can do 10%).
I showed him that when we keep this up and invest 100 dollars more next year and 200 the year after that and so on then by the time he gets to my age he has 165 thousand dollars in investments.
OK, I get it that the value of money drops about 2.5 times over 30 years. The purchasing power of that 165 thousand dollars will be 66 thousand. But still, it’s a considerable backup reserve. Currently, most Americans have a problem coming up with 500 dollars in the case of emergency (Forbes).
If you are not investing right now for yourself or your kids, the do it now!
Put 100 dollars in an index fund and add something every month.
How to make New Year’s Resolutions that Stick
New Year’s resolutions are notoriously made but not kept. Here are the tips that help you increase the odds of following through with your promises to yourself.
Make a list of everything — When you are making the New Year’s resolutions go all out. Write down everything you want to accomplish in your life.
Priorities — Next, line your resolutions up in order of priority. What’s most important to you? Select the most important thing you want to accomplish in the coming year and start working on it.
One resolution at a time — Don’t work on more than one resolution at the same time. For example, studies have shown that if you try to quit smoking and lose weight at the same time, then you will most likely fail at both.
Go one by one — If you are making progress on your most important goal then squeeze more New Year’s resolutions in your year. Work with one habit change for 30 to 60 days before you start working on a new resolution. The time it takes habits to form means that the optimal number of resolutions for one year is somewhere between one and five.
Don’t overdo it! One habit that sticks is worth more than all the other goals that you set but do not achieve.
Everything worth doing takes time — One resource that gets depleted when working with many resolutions at the same time is willpower. The other is time. You will fail if you take on so many responsibilities that they will be impossible to fit into your schedule.
- Select 5 things you want to change in the coming year.
- Start working on the most important one.
- Do it at least for 30 to 60 days or until you feel the habit taking root.
- Select the next important resolution and start to work on that.
- Make sure you don’t fail on the first goal.
Repeat the steps until you have everything you want in your life. Sometimes you will fail. When that happens, stop doing the least important habit, and you will lessen the demands on your willpower.