Leave it to a money nerd to come up with one of the lamest, most uncommon family New Year resolutions.
My family was to keep track of every receipt from all purchases and bills. Then itemize the items on the receipt to track costs and taxes accessed. At the end of the year I’d be able to report my actual tax and inflation rate. I would no longer need to rely on government statistics on the average family, because I’d know exactly what macroeconomic impacts were affecting the family budget.
I write the last paragraph in past tense, because only four days into the New Year, I’ve scrapped the project. It’s just too time consuming.
While my New Year resolutions are nerdy, impractical and challenging to keep. The most common New Year resolutions are quite manageable and sane. I’ve located the top 5, according to branding experts, for 2012. As a bonus, I’ll give you a little advice for keeping these resolutions.
1. Spend More Time with Loved Ones
It would seem that the holidays make the heart grow fonder. 50% of surveyed respondents had indicated that they planned on strengthening their ties to family members topping the list as the most common New Year resolution.
This is the resolution that is best kept if you get a head start. Since the holidays bring loved ones together it is a great time to update contact information. Grab phone numbers, emails and social media contacts. Doing this around the dinner table takes far less time than figuring it all out, each individual at a time, later in the year. Be sure to arrive at the best way to contact that person too.
Plan first and work out the details later. If you are looking to get together, do not let a calendar get in your way. Plan a date, no longer than three weeks out, but leave flexibility to reschedule. If you do reschedule, set up another date no later than three weeks out. I’ve found if you leave hanging out ambiguous now, it will be ambiguous all year round. Even if it takes several cancelations, setting a specific date requires a greater psychological investment and will definitely increase the chances that you’ll be hanging out.
In fact, it is a great rule to always put exact dates on all potential plans.
2. Tame Debt and Get Control of Finances
I’m ahead of the class! I beat 47% of respondents and came up with getting control of family finances nearly 6 months ago. Here are some suggestions from someone who is already trying to conquer this resolution.
Start with a budget and stick with it. If it helps to call it a spending plan or to go with a paperless budget all that is necessary is that you state specific, attainable financial goals, look over your finances and devise a realistic plan to succeed. The last ingredient is an honest review and assessment of whether your budget is working.
The way in which you budget is not as important as activity of sticking to a plan for your finances. Also, don’t be afraid to ask advice from others.
3. Lose Weight/Exercise More
The waistline needs to go for about 42% of respondents. I’ll admit that a healthier lifestyle is one resolution that is difficult to achieve. There are books about how to achieve this goal, so I’m not going to give you a boilerplate suggestion. My recommendation is to plan to fail.
I’m not saying that you should expect to fail, but that you have a contingency should you run into failures. What are you going to try if your progress plateaus? What if you miss a week? What if you fall off the wagon?
Plan now while you have a positive outlook and you’ll find it easier to get back on track if you experience trouble down the road.
4. Quit Smoking
I simply don’t have the audacity to give any advice on this one other than to say, hang in there, it’s worth it!
5. Get Organized
This one is definitely on the family resolution list and I’ll be posting on the topic a little later.
Getting organized requires one part time and one part a plan. If you have both, you are on your way to success. If you lack one or the other, I’m afraid you probably aren’t going to make it.
Start with a plan, like organizing one corner at a time. Then think up a system that fits your unique personality. You should enjoy your organization system and if you don’t try something new.
40% of respondents reported that 6 months into these resolutions and they were still going strong. I hope that you are one of them.