Nine of the Most Popular New Year’s Resolutions

What New Year’s Resolutions Are Right for You?  Here’s an easy way to figure it out:

  1. Start thinking of some of the things in your life that you already know you want to change or that have bothered you for a while.
  2. Ask those who are close to you – your spouse, friends, co-workers, maybe even your boss – if they have any suggestions for you. If they’re honest, I’ll bet they’ll have a suggestion or two for you.

Chances are, one or more of these nine popular New Year’s Resolutions will probably end up on your list:

  1. Get organized
  2. Get out of debt
  3. Lose weight
  4. Quit smoking
  5. Quit drinking
  6. More time with friends and family
  7. Enjoy life more
  8. Learn a new skill
  9. Get a better job (or maybe just any job)

Once you’ve developed a list, ask yourself “Why is this goal or resolution important for me?”  Write your answer down, and then ask the question again.

Repeat this several times until you feel you’ve really gained a good understanding of what goals are important to you, why, and what difference it would make if you achieved them.

Next, pick your top three and make a plan for how you’re going to achieve them.

Lastly, take action!

Click to read ten tips on how to increase your chances for success in achieving your resolutions.

How to Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions

Ready or not…the New Year has arrived.  While I join with many who celebrate its arrival with a great deal of excitement and hope for what the new year will bring, I recognize that others face the New Year with feelings of anxiety, fear, and disappointment.

I can relate, as I’ve felt some of those negative feelings before – maybe you have too.  For me, they came as a result of not having achieved my New Years Resolutions in the previous year, and the changes I had hoped to accomplish in my life.

Have you ever wondered why only a few people succeed in making change in their lives – and how you can be one of them?

I think the difference between success and failure in achieving New Year’s Resolutions, and making any change in our lives, is the difference between wishes and goals.  A wish is something you hope for.  A goal is something you plan for.

In my estimation, the vast majority of people are really just making wishes, not goals, when they make New Years Resolutions.  And deep down, they expect to fail.  Why else would so many people joke about not keeping their resolutions?

To be successful in achieving New Year’s Resolutions, or change in any area of life, we need to set realistic goals, make step-by-step plans, and take action.

One reason people fail is because this process is foreign to them – it not a part of most people’s life experience.  Too many of us are content to largely just let life happen to us.  We respond to what comes our way, but we don’t knock ourselves out to try to make things better or be different.

If you struggle with achieving your New Years Resolutions, move beyond wishful thinking this year and make a plan for how you’re going to achieve them.

And if you are having trouble deciding what Resolutions are right for you, check out my next post, where I’ll share Nine of the most popular New Year’s Resolutions.

Gratefully, 2009 is Over

Today my wife, kids and I are wrapping up our 2-week Christmas holiday in Florida and the Caribbean.  It was a little “different” for us Northerners as this was the first time we celebrated Christmas without the cold and snow.  But we still took time, as always, to reflect on the real meaning and reason for the season. We had a blessed holiday and I hope you did too.

Earlier this week, I checked a few things off my Master Dream List, since we were able to accomplish them on this holiday:

  1. Take my wife and kids on a Caribbean cruise.
  2. Take the family to Disney World.

I also spent a few minutes looking over that list at what had been accomplished in the last year.

Gratefully, 2009 is over!  What I mean is that 2009 has come to an end, and I’m grateful for all that I’ve accomplished in this year.  A number of my dreams and goals were achieved, and I made progress on several others that are still in the works for 2010.

Some of these were achieved due to direct effort and planning on my part.  Others were total blessings that I had no control over at all – like the cruise and the trip to Disney World.

2009 has been a great year for me in so many ways. What about you?

My World AIDS Day Experience in Zambia

Zambia Kids

Children in Zambia

Today, December 1st, is World AIDS Day.  Two years ago, I was in the village of Jembo, Zambia on World AIDS Day.  It was my second visit there in a year’s time.  This time, I was with a group from my church, as part of a two-week trip to both Zambia and Zimbabwe.

We were there to gain a greater understanding of the devastating toll that HIV/AIDS has had in those countries (we visited several people who were dying of AIDS, and saw how orphans and widows are being cared for), encourage local pastors and leaders, and learn about the economic and community development projects we had sponsored, which provided a livelihood for many people.

On that day, the local church in the village of Jembo sponsored an AIDS awareness parade, which our group participated in.  We, along with dozens of locals, went through the village dancing, singing and holding signs to encourage people in the fight against AIDS, reminding them that it can be prevented, and encouraging them as they cared for those who had been widowed or orphaned because of AIDS.

While there, I learned that one in five people in Zambia are infected with AIDS, and I think it is one in four in Zimbabwe.  They have a saying about HIV/AIDS in that region: “You’re either infected or you’re affected.”  Because if you don’t have it, you likely know someone in your family or circle of friends who does.

I was impressed by one of the songs we sang in the parade, written by a lady in the village.  I can’t remember all the words, but it talked about the importance of moving forward and not going backward when faced with challenges or troubles.

The challenges I face in my life are nothing compared with the life-and-death situations many people in Africa (and other parts of the world) face on a daily basis.  Their courage to keep moving forward, no matter the obstacles, encourages me to keep moving forward.  I’ll always treasure the time I had there and the people I met.  I can’t wait to go again.

Giving Thanks

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States. A day for many to get together with family and friends and express thanks for the many blessings they’ve received.

I believe thankfulness, or gratitude, is a key ingredient for a successful life. In my observation, thankful people are happier and they go farther than unhappy people, and they have a lot more friends.

We don’t have to limit Thanksgiving to just one day of the year. In fact, I’m working on cultivating an attitude of gratitude every day.  But on this Thanksgiving Day, here are some of the things I’m thankful for:

  • My faith
  • My beautiful wife and five great children
  • Friends
  • Good health
  • The ability to do the work I love
  • The ability to invest my talents in causes and organizations I believe in
  • The mentors who have invested in my life and taught me much of what I share here
  • New friends who have encouraged me as I’ve developed this site:  Lynn Terry, Mark Mason, and Free Money Finance.

What are you thankful for?

Got Freedom? Thank a Vet!

Native Veterans

Native Veterans

Today is Veteran’s Day in the U.S. and Remembrance Day (or Poppy Day) in the U.K., Canada and Australia.  A day to honor veterans for their service, and to remember that freedom is not – and never will be – free.

Tonight, I’ll take my kids to the Veteran’s Day parade in our city.  They’ll wear their Uncle Sam hats, wave their little flags, and hold a sign they made that says “Thank You Vets!”

Sadly, we’ll be among just a handful of people, as few others have attend these parades in recent years.

Why do so few people come out to show their gratitude anymore?  I think it is because we have forgotten the high price that other people have paid so that we can be free to live the life we want.

Those who live in countries run by dictators don’t often get to pursue their dreams in life – many just scrape by from day to day.  In some countries, the government has told people what job they are to do – whether they like it or not.

If you live in a country where you can do what you want and be who you want to be, then thank a Vet!

And if you’re struggling to live a life of meaning and purpose, you owe it to yourself – and to the Veterans who have secured your freedoms -  to discover your life’s purpose today!  Let me know if I can help.