Are you one of those who had kept a New Year resolution as you stepped into 2021? If you are, don’t be surprised. By some accounts, at least 50% of us keep resolutions at New Year. As is wont, this New Year too would have propelled many of us to make fresh resolutions.
Resolutions are our way of forcing changes to our existing lifestyles, either by breaking bad habits or building new ones. And our making resolutions at the beginning of a new year is our way of putting an end to all the procrastination that happens through the earlier year, by starting with a clean slate in the coming one.
The most popular resolutions are usually center around fitness or health, such as “doing exercise”, “losing weight” and “eating healthier”. The reason why I think this is because of either that people are quite conscious about their physical appearances and wish be seen as smart or sexy, or importantly, they have got a warning signal on their health either through a recent visit to the doctor, or even worse, a health mishap in their near circle.
But are you one of those who has still kept up your Year Resolution? We are now in March and if you have not yet given it up, congratulations. You are one of the very few (less than 20%) who hasn’t! Again, surveys show that a significant number of resolutions made in January end up in the trash bin by end February or early March. Gym memberships spikes in January followed by steep drops by February/March are just one example.
The surveys show that there are many reasons for this significant “drop-out” rate, some of them being
Lack of specificity in outcome and timeline (“lose weight”, “exercise more”, etc)
Not relevant enough (eg. peer or family pressure causes people to sign up for resolutions, but they themselves don’t think it is important)
Not clear about impact (eg. “How is improving my work-life balance going to benefit me, if anything it could have an adverse impact on my career”)
But the one that stuck out for me was “Inadequate emotional connect”. ie. the resolution is likely to fail unless you yourself can feel the emotional tug towards the resolution, either because
you aspire strongly enough for the positive benefits (eg. getting this project completed in time could lock in my promotion, which will mean a move up to the next grade) or
more importantly, you just cannot afford the negative fallouts (unless I lose significant weight, my doctor has warned me that I am an early candidate for lifestyle ailments like blood pressure, diabetes, and even heart attacks).
The emotional benefits in the above two examples of resolutions are obvious here, and many a times are strengthened by real-life events around you. And the closer home it hits, the stronger the emotional connect.
The last few months are a perfect example of how people have been impacted severely. People have lost jobs, endured pay-cuts, have run out of cash, have had hospital bills to pay, and in some cases, have had losses in the family too. The emotional impact due to these events are immense, and at that time, am sure many would have sworn that as long as they and their family get past this crisis safe and sound, they will ensure that they are much better prepared for such an occurrence and their family would not have to go through such tough times again.
So, that being the case, did you decide to take on a resolution of a different kind this new year? And promise yourself that you would never again be caught financially insecure by another crisis like the pandemic?
Or, come New Year, have the financial lessons of the past year been largely forgotten and you have carried on as you were previously?
If you are one of the former and decided that you would take steps to ensure your family’s financial security, but still haven’t done much yet, its still not late. Start right now, seek the right advice and take the necessary steps, even if one at a time. And in case you are part of the latter, and had forgotten what it was during those harrowing times, then treat this as a wake-up call. Because, be sure, the next crisis will happen for sure, sooner or later. And in case you aren’t better prepared then, you might not be as lucky.
(The author is co-founder, Finwise Personal Finance Solutions. Views expressed are personal)
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