What do we mean when we say “Happy New Year” to someone?  Are these just words we repeat at the beginning of a new year, or do we sincerely mean “Best Wishes” to all irrespective of our own fortunes?

 

Besides wishing others a happy new year, we get to say to ourselves, ‘Happy New Me!  This year is going to be my best year ever!’  This is indeed an opportunity to leave the past behind and embrace the opportunity of today.  The beauty of this attitude is that you can apply this attitude to each new day, you don’t have to wait for a new year.

 

So what changes are you going to make this day to begin the creation of the ‘New Me’?  Where is your starting point?

Look beyond the low hanging fruit (weight, health finances, etc.) as these are usually symptoms of a larger issue.  Understanding your attitudes towards your weight, health, finances, etc. is normally at the root of these symptoms.  How can you tell if this is true for you?  Evaluate your history of trying to make changes in any of these areas, without first changing your attitude.  What was your success rate?  Did you experience success for a time, or did it change into a good habit that you still employ?

 

Where-ever you find yourself today, you can become the person you want to be, whether that be at a better weight, healthier, or in a better financial position.  You can make it happen!

 

Let’s suppose your 2020 goal is to be in a better financial position.  Knowing where to start to bring about the best success would be your first course of action.  Here is the first big question, “Where did your attitude and behavior about Money come from?”  What types of behaviors did you witness in your childhood?  We don’t have enough money; we can’t afford to buy that; one person dominated the finances; you were surrounded by the latest of everything, but drowning in debt; imbalance – always saving for a rainy day, and not enjoying the present moments.  There are many variations, but you get the picture, your attitude and behavior surrounding money came from your perception of your parents’ behavior towards finances.

 

With this new understanding, you are in a better position to make changes.  Remember, you are not an island unto yourself, enroll the support and assistance from a Professional to at least get you started on the right path.  Have an accountability partner, someone who is not afraid to let you know when you are varying off-course; someone you trust and who exemplifies the new habit you are striving toward.  “There’ll always be serendipity involved in discovery” (Jeff Bezos).  Embrace it.  Acknowledge it.  Move forward.

Organize, Simplify and Focus

Robert Quillen first coined this attitude we have about spending back in 1920.  He said, “Too many people spend money they have not earned, to buy things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like”.  According to Credit Canada, “The average Canadian household debt remains near record high levels with the average Canadian owing close to $1.78 for every dollar earned”.  You can drastically reduce your consumer debt by simplifying your life, and remaining focus on the things that matter most.

To illustrate – we found ourselves needing a new washing machine this past holiday season.  Before going into the stores, we decided to do a bit of research.  We first organized our thoughts by deciding what we were looking for in a new washing machine, and how much we wanted to spend.  We then researched brands, features, prices, and warranties.  Because we took the time to organize our thoughts, the process of deciding on the right machine was simplified, and we were free to focus on the purpose of our purchase – to efficiently and effectively clean our clothes.  We could have bought a high-end machine to say, “see what we bought” (to impress others), but it would have been more machine than we needed.  Instead, we purchased the best machine for our needs at a reasonable price.

As you organize, simplify and focus on your true purpose, you will make better financial decisions, and become stress free (a bonus).

 

Linda Amour Grant is a Certified Financial Planner ® – Linda works with clients in South Western Ontario and shares her knowledge with practical financial advise to help you achieve your goals.

Contact Linda at : lamourgrant@sterlingmutuals.com