New Year’s Day always brings the traditional rush to figure out what parts of your life you would like to change — financial or otherwise.
That’s a lot of crock.
We are all suckered into this idea that when the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve, everything from the previous year is washed away and we can start fresh.
Let’s be honest.
Whatever we’re dealing with from the past year is following us into the New Year until we take action, not pick a date.
I say that the moment you realize you have a problem, make the pledge to deal with it.
We’ve all heard of the epic failure rates of New Year’s resolutions.
So I ask you:
Why wait until 12:00 a.m. on the first day of the New Year to do what you know is right for you right now?
Start now. Begin changing your life when you get the initial urge — don’t wait. Reaching your goals largely depends on three components:
- Drive — You need the drive and focus to succeed.
- A set time frame — When you set your financial goals for the year, draw up clear and measurable benchmarks to get you where you want to be.
- Belief — Believe that you can set yourself up for success as you work toward those goals.
I’ve succeeded and failed at a lot of goals. Let’s go through some of my financial successes:
- Bought a home — I bought a home in 2007 right before the housing crash. Fortunately, I didn’t spend like a crazy person and it has been a great experience for me so far. How did I do it? I spent a lot of time reading about the process. I also looked at my income and had a come-to-Jesus moment and figured out what I was comfortable borrowing versus what the bank felt I should borrow.
- Studied abroad in France for six months — I should mention that I spent only $4,000 on everything — food, housing, fun, and my French language program. I was pretty skinny by the end of those six months, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I can’t share all of my secrets about how I rocked the cost of the adventure. But I will say that I worked 70 hours a week for around eight months to afford the trip. I didn’t wait.
- Aggressively cut my living expenses — I wanted to work for myself. I knew that the first year would be the hardest. I spent the year before I began working for myself aggressively cutting all of my expenses, and by thousands of dollars. In fact, I cut my spending for the year by $13,000 when all was said and done.
Don’t wait on your financial goals — they won’t fall into your lap like crumbs from the dinner table. It will take time, focus, and energy to achieve what you want for yourself. If I had waited, I could have procrastinated my focus away.
And please, don’t wait for the morning of Jan. 1 to dawn. Otherwise, all you are likely to achieve is watching that shiny ball dropping in Times Square on TV.