With 2013 now upon us, many of us have made resolutions to do something better this year or to achieve financial goals. While we make these resolutions with the best intentions in mind, I am sorry to write that most of us will fall short when it comes to sticking with these. :( I do not mean to come across as being negative but, the sad reality is most of us will make a change for a while but then slowly revert back to our old ways. Unfortunately, by the time spring rolls around, many of the resolutions we made only a few months ago will be long forgotten.
Many times it is difficult for us to make a change because we have to get out of our comfort zone and do something completely foreign to us. Start a budget, anyone? :) This can be difficult and scary. The thing is, the actions that make us stronger and better people are usually hard to do and stick with. If they were easy all of us would be rich and skinny.
I was recently reminded of how true this is when my daughter Ava (age 8) completed her first 5K race. From past posts, you can tell that I am a runner. I never try to put pressure on my daughters to follow in my footsteps (literally) but know they are watching. In fact, the PE coach at our school (Ava attends the same school where I teach) let me know that Ava asked to re-take her timed 1 mile run two times to try and improve her time. This was not something she had to do nor even shared with me but it showed me that my actions are definitely being noticed by her.
A few weeks ago Tracy and I signed up to run a local 5K race and Ava asked to do it too. Tracy and Ava ran/walked the entire race together and Tracy let me know it was not pleasant. Like most kids, Ava did not pace herself and started out by running too fast. By mile 1 she was done and ready to quit. There were moments of “I can’t do this” and sitting down on the road. Tracy kept giving her encouragement until the finish line was in sight. I was waiting for them and, once Ava saw me, she lit up and sprinted to the finish.
After she caught her breath, I asked how it went. She had the biggest smile on her face and said it was very hard but she was glad she did it. I could tell how proud of herself she was. I used this as a lesson to illustrate that there are many other “hard” things in life but, if they were not hard, she would not feel a sense of accomplishment like she was at that moment.
When thinking of some of the changes you may want to make in your life, perhaps in personal finance, remember that often times we have to get out of our comfort zones in order to make these changes. Perhaps it’s reduction in spending and not eating out as much. Maybe it’s working extra to earn money to pay off debt or save more money. Or, it might be taking a step in faith and giving more. It will not be easy and there may be some pain and tears but, in order to have the same feeling of satisfaction that Ava did after running/walking 3.1 miles and achieving your goals, it is necessary.
What are some of your goals for 2013 and what will you have to do to achieve them?