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New Year's resolutions or New Year's solutions?

By Dexter Hall

As I sat with my family and 2020 drew to close, we began to talk about all that 2020 has been and how it has impacted each of us individually and as a family.

We also began to think about what we wanted to accomplish in 2021. The list of New Year’s resolutions included eating healthy, more exercise, spending more time with family/friends, and of course better money management, especially after their spends during Christmas.

As I listened to my daughters, we began to realize that our 2021 resolutions looked and sounded a lot like our 2020 resolutions, as well as our 2019 resolutions.

I began to challenge them to think about whether they needed New Year’s resolutions or New Year’s solutions!

A 2014 report on New Year’s resolutions showed that 35% of participants failed their resolutions and 23% forgot about them. A 2007 study from the University of Bristol involving 3,000 people revealed 88% of the participants failed to achieve their resolutions.

Once we realized that our resolutions were like previous years, we realized we did not need New Year’s resolutions. Rather, we needed New Year’s SOLUTIONS — solutions with a plan to ensure we accomplished our goals.

December always brings January challenges to individual and family finances. This, of course, has been compounded this year as we have dealt with a pandemic and economic instability.

I challenged my family to review their finances and sit down and create a realistic 2021 budget for themselves.

  • A budget that incorporates their spending from the holidays to ensure it is paid for during the first quarter of 2021;

  • A budget that plans for increasing their savings to give them mental freedom as they deal with potential employment instability; and

  • A plan for the 2021 holidays and some type of vacation and relaxation moments in 2021.

By creating a holistic budget, they will be able to pay their bills and at the same time plan for enjoyment of their daily labor.

So instead of saying I want to manage my money better in 2021 as a New Year’s resolution, they created a better money management plan as a New Year’s solutions for 2021.

Let us all create a New Year’s Solution Plan for 2021 in each area of our life where we have set goals.

In 2021, we can plan our work and work our plan to ensure we achieve our New Year’s solutions and celebrate our accomplishments on Dec. 31, 2021.

Looking forward to hearing about your 2021 New Year’s solutions.

Dexter Hall is Prosper Waco’s chief of staff and senior content specialist for financial security.

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