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Enough Excuses, Just Make it Happen

Written by Nickel - 6 Comments

Enough Excuses, Just Make it HappenDid you make any New Year’s resolutions this year? If so, how are they working out for you? I ask because today marks the beginning of the second half of 2010, and the vast majority of people have long since broken their resolutions.

To be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of New Year’s resolutions. Since they’re often overly-ambitious and ill-defined, most resolutions are doomed from the start. At the same time, New Year’s resolutions also offer a convenient excuse for deferring action until later.

After all, the year is already halfway done. Why change now when you can just wait until 2011 and make a clean start? Right? Wrong.

Today I’m issuing you a challenge. Whether you want to get out of credit card debt, pay off your mortgage early, start saving for retirement, lose ten pounds, start running, etc… Set aside your excuses and take a concrete step toward satisfying at least one of your goals this week.

Simple steps include listing your debts and prioritizing which you want to pay off first, setting up an additional auto-payment toward your mortgage, surfing over to Vanguard or Fidelity to fill out an account application, skipping that second helping at dinner, or completing the first (and very easy) workout in the Couch-to-5k running program.

Whatever it is that you want to achieve, it won’t happen unless you take that first step. Enough excuses. Just make it happen.

Published on July 1st, 2010
Modified on July 14th, 2010 - 6 Comments
Filed under: Productivity

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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6 Responses to “Enough Excuses, Just Make it Happen”

  1. 1
    Ned Walker Says:

    My new years’ resolution was to save more – I successfully opened a savings account and started automatic savings of $50 per pay period. I’m now more than 50% of the way toward my $1000 seed money for my emergency fund!

  2. 2
    Financial Samurai Says:

    Thnx, but what are your well defined goals Nickle?

    Would be helpful to know, and then understand how you are doing to give us readers some motivation.

    thnx!

  3. 3
    Nickel Says:

    Financial Samurai: Off the top of my head…

    Maxing out all available retirement accounts every year (been doing this for several year now), saving enough to pay for our kids college (in progress), paying off our mortgage early (done!), and sticking to our desired asset allocation (written about elsewhere). We’re also building a taxable portfolio, but that one isn’t as well defined.

    I also set a weight loss goal of 15 pounds for 2010, and have already knocked out 13 of them (plus about five before the year started). I’ll need to up the ante on that one. And in March I decided that I wanted to run a 5k despite never having run more than about a mile at a time in my life. I made that goal on Memorial Day, ran another in June, and am now planning running at least one per month for twelve consecutive months. I’m also toying with running a 10k, mostly because I managed to run 6.5 miles earlier this week so I’m pretty sure I’m ready.

    I’m also committed to retaining an active role in raising my kids (though this is harder to pin down in single “goal” statement) and am thus coaching their sports teams, playing catch in the backyard on a near daily basis, helping with homework on a nightly basis during the school year, and so on.

    How about you? :)

    P.S. Excellent question, maybe I should write a dedicated post about this.

  4. 4
    Financial Samurai Says:

    Sounds good! A dedicated post would be great.

    Here are mine from my post dated Dec 31, 2009. Doing OK, and actually turned down a really good opportunity which would have got me very close to goal #1. I’m particularly happy to have recorded several songs so far on my guitar!

    I’ve met a ton of people since starting The Yakezie group, have stayed consistent with my site, and have saved diligently.

    GOALS FOR 2010

    1) Make a million bucks. Yes, it’s a lofty goal that I’ve failed every year, but that doesn’t stop me from trying! The income can come from private equity investments, stock market, salary, rental income, and other, such as winning the World Series of Poker! Setting lofty goals forces the mind to constantly think of new ways of surviving, while motivating me to work hard everyday.

    2) Win a tennis tournament. I got beat by a 60 year old (!), ex Davis cup player in the semi-finals of a tournament this year due to a right calf cramp. If I beat him, I would have won the tournament. Disappointing, because my opponent was about to keel over at 5-5 in the 2nd set and give up. It’s not good enough to have skill, and mental fortitude if your body can’t hold up. So really, winning the tennis tournament is a physical health resolution of eating right, working out, and staying injury free.

    3) Meet 36 new people, or 3 every month. It’s really a joy meeting new people, be it in person or online and hear their story. We can learn so much from others, no matter their background or age. I will keep a log of who I meet, and write 3 things I’ve learned and admire about each new person. The solution to “If I knew then, what I know now” is to simply seek people who’ve been where you are heading already and listen to them!

    4) Try and always see the good in others. In “Everything Is Rational, The Answer To All Things Irrational”, I highlight a more peaceful way of thinking that soothes my raging soul. It’s important to stop taking slights/rejections personally, and just keep having fun. It’s very easy to be overly critical of others and act like a meanie, which is not the way I want to live my life. We shouldn’t try and impose our will on others. Avoid associating with “black clouds,” those people who are naturally pessimistic and grumpy by nature!

    5) Stay consistent, but not obsessive with this site. Any publisher will tell you that producing consistent content over the long run is hard. This is why I really admire all of you who have started a website, no matter how big or small, as well as those who comment regularly! It’s also important not to get addicted to blogging to the detriment of family, friends, and work. From 7am-7pm on weekdays my personal e-mail and Twitter account will continue to be off.

    6) Put an acoustic album together of 10 songs I can play, sing and record. I’ve had my Martin Acoustic D-16 guitar for 10 years now, and it is in perfect shape because I don’t practice enough! Current songs on the list include: Black Bird by Paul McCartney, Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Poison, Five String Serenade and Fade Into You by Mazzy Star, First Day of My Life by Bright Eyes, Nothing Left to Lose by Matt Kearney, More Than Words by Extreme. Need three more!

    7) Learn to cook three delicious dishes for each meal of the day and put together a menu. Breakfast is easy. Lunch a little bit harder, and dinner the hardest. A resolution I talked with my wife about two years ago since she was so gung ho about cooking then. Unfortunately, the enthusiasm sputtered out, so I’m going to do it on my own, and hopefully inspire her to make her own menu.

    8) Save at least 50% of my 2010 gross income and build the “Freedom Fund” to at least $200,000 by year end. You can consider the Freedom Fund as my net worth barometer. The traditional net worth calculation is an illusion. Cash and cash flow are the only things that matters!

  5. 5
    Jason Wier Says:

    Really today at noon is the halfway point for the year.

    Great article. I am a goal person and I make it happen. If I set something in writing and share it with someone to hold me accountable, then it will get done. If you still cannot get it done, change your crowd and surround yourself with winners. Make a choice to stop watching TV, rid yourself of temptations.

    JUST DO IT

  6. 6
    Jim Randel Says:

    Inertia is a basic force of physics. An object (or person) at rest will stay at rest. That’s why it’s so hard to drag yourself out of bed when the alarm goes off. It’s why the first step is the hardest when faced with change or challenge.

    But inertia can also be your fiercest, most reliable ally. Because the other half of the law says an object in motion will stay in motion. Once you build up momentum, the road gets easier.

    You look at someone who runs every morning and ask, ‘How do they do it?’ Well, they’ve been jumping out of bed at the crack of dawn for so long now, it’s actually harder for them NOT to run.

    That first time you banked $50 to your savings account seemed difficult. But after a while, it becomes a no-brainer! Because by then, it’s not change or different or hard, it’s standard procedure.

    ‘Just Do It’ is snappy and catchy, but also insufficient.

    Try: ‘Just Keep Doing It.’

    Soon inertia will be on your side.

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