New year's resolutions are a funny thing. People often make them with the best of intentions, laying out their hopes and wishes on becoming a better version of themselves.
Gyms fill up in January. Many new downloads are made of Duolingo. And there are numerous subscriptions to services such as Masterclass, or Nutrition kitchen, or Audible.
Yet hardly anybody keeps the resolutions they make.
By February, and certainly by April, the vast majority of those new resolutions lay abandoned. Forgotten. Swept under the carpet or locked under the staircase.
And the usual habits of yesteryear will have quickly kicked back in.
Getting into shape, learning a new language, or reading more books are all things that sound great; after all, who's going to say "That's a pointless thing to do, your life will not improve if you achieve that resolution."
Most of the resolutions you hear are the "pre-packaged" ones that you'll easily find on blog posts that pop up during December. Same old, same old.
You may not have looked on the internet to find your own not-so-creative "lose X pounds in weight" or "spend less money on junk" or whatever common-place resolution that most people default towards, but you're probably unwittingly influenced by their prevalence.
Are these bad resolutions to strive for?
Will your life improve if you pull them off?
So what's the problem?
They're really hard to stick with on the days that are tough. And those tough days happen more than we like. Bad days at work, arguments with family, illness, soreness, tiredness, forgetfulness, busyness.
"I'll make up for it tomorrow".
Except you won't. At least not always, but that's all it takes. You'll have already started to drift off the path and it'll get worse over time until one day you simply just give up. You'll ask yourself "why am I chasing this goal?" and you won't have an answer.
Because you simply set the resolution just to be able to respond to the question when it was asked at the new year's party.
Now imagine if you had a bigger goal in life, a life goal so to speak. Become a highly successful chef, be able to teach the kids the language of your grandparents, be able to make a living as a fitness instructor.
These are goals that take many years to achieve and will not happen without consistent pursuit. And what better way to pursue them than through the resolutions you set each year.
Small markers on a journey towards a greater destination.
A destination that would, on those tough days, give you that reason to keep working on the resolution and put in the work even though you really weren't feeling it.
It's the same when striving towards becoming financially independent.
Without this goal you may still decide to save your money based on the understanding that this is the "smart thing to do". But you may not necessarily know what you're saving for.
So once a moment of temptation comes up you find yourself spending your savings on something you didn't need or want.
But with the goal you work through your numbers and understand what you're working with in terms of a budget. You'll also know what you need and don't need, and therefore where your money needs to go.
There's still going to be moments of temptation but now you have a gatekeeper (your goal) reminding you why you're saving money and what it's all for.
So if you've actually set your new year's resolution as one of the cookie-cutter ones I mentioned above, don't feel disheartened. None of them are bad.
But if you want to be successful in achieving them, you'd best align them to your life goals.