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Why your resolutions will fail…

January 5, 2012

“You know how to TAKE the reservation…you just don’t know how to HOLD the reservation.”  – Jerry Seinfeld upon learning the rental car company ran out of cars.

Most of us know how to MAKE the resolution, we just don’t know how to KEEP the resolution.  No better time of year than to make some financial goals for you and your family.  But not to be too much of buzz kill, most of us will fail.  You might have seen the acronym SMART for making goals:

Specific
Measurable
Achievable
Realistic
Time Measured

If you’re making goals or resolutions that don’t meet these criteria, then you need to work on TAKING the reservation.  But that’s easy.  MAKING the resolution, TAKING the reservation, doesn’t require anything but a little thought.  HOLDING the reservation, KEEPING the resolution requires work.  And this is why most of us will fail.  But with a few adjustments, you just might have that car ready when Seinfeld shows up:

1.  Write down your goals – There’s something about putting to pen to paper (or letter to screen) that forces our mind to engage on a different level.  Then display those goals in a prominent place so it stays in your mind’s eye.

2.  Share your goals – Whether it’s a friend or your spouse, give them permission to ride you hard about your goals.  If they are important enough for you to set, then you should be fine with someone who loves you and wants the best for you to keep you accountable.

3.  Develop a plan – This might be the most important.  How do you plan to save $250/month?  How are you going to lose 25 pounds?  You must develop a specific plan for success.  For instance, we’ll cut $50 out of our dining out budget, we’ll cut $50 out of our clothing budget, and we’ll skip our big vacation this year.  These are actionable steps you can take to achieve your goal.  This is you HOLDING the reservation.

4.  Be flexible, not lazy – You will have unexpected events in your life this year.  It’s okay to adjust your goals accordingly, just don’t use it as an excuse.

So be SMART in taking the reservation, but HOLDING the reservation is what matters.  What goals or resolutions have you set for 2012?  Write them down.  Share them.  Develop a plan.  Be flexible.  Okay…so maybe you won’t fail this year.

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