Sunday, December 29, 2013

Getting the New Year off to a good start.

I've always thought that New Year's resolutions were vastly over-rated.  Studies show that only about 8% of people who make resolutions keep them.  Why?  I suspect it's because the resolutions are too ambitious, and/or, are entered into without a specific plan for how to achieve them. 

Don't get me wrong.  I think setting goals is a fine thing.  But they should be attainable goals.  Otherwise, they set you up for failure.  So along with a goal, you need a specific set of steps that you will take to make it likely that you will, indeed, realize that goal.

When starting a new year, I think it can often be helpful to think in terms of areas where we want to place out attention, rather than make hard and fast resolution.  What do you need to be paying more attention to?  How is the health of your relationship?  Does it suffer from lack of attention?  Are there things you could focus on to change that in 2014?

Whether it's your relationship or kids, health, job, friends, etc., going into the New Year with a commitment to pay more attention to the people and things that are most important to you might be a healthier approach. 

What do you want to pay more attention to in the New Year?  Share your thoughts with us, and have a wonderful, happy, healthy 2014.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Holidays! Part 2

Let's talk about money and the holidays today.  What are your family values about this?  Some people think they should go all out, run up the credit cards, and spend the next year paying them off.  Others have a set holiday budget and stick to it.  Problems can arise when you and your partner have different ideas about how much is too much.

Personally, I'm pretty frugal.  I've also lived long enough to learn that while a few thoughtful gifts are nice, loads and loads of "stuff" really is not what makes a holiday special.  How many gifts that you received last holiday season do you really still enjoy?  or even remember?  How about from five years ago?

And if you're buying for your kids, let me ask, "How many specific holiday gifts do you remember from your childhood?"  I'm guessing that you can maybe list two or three that stand out over your entire childhood - and they probably weren't the most expensive.  So, do you really want to break the bank for memories that probably won't really be remembered?

I'm not a scrooge.  I enjoy giving and receiving gifts - but I enjoy both ends of that equation more when they are few and thoughtful.  Two years ago, my favorite gift was a table item that probably cost no more than $10.  But it was something my friend knew I would really enjoy and use often.  I do.  And every time I do, I think of him.  He passed away less than two months after giving me that gift.

Quality time with family and friends is more important to me that the craziness of negotiating crowds at the mall.  How about you?  I'd love for you to share your thoughts.