Merry Christmas! It truly is the most wonderful time of the year – but also the most expensive.
Try not to let thoughts of how much you’ve spent to enjoy the season get on top of you. What’s done, is done.
The best Christmas gift you can give yourself this year is the gift of humanness. That is, a deep reminder that we are all human, we all over-indulge, veer off the path, stuff things up, make mistakes, disappoint ourselves.
Humanness is worth bearing in mind as you set your new year’s resolutions for next year.
Don’t assume you’re going to change overnight and be a completely different person. No matter how rigidly you set your goals, you’re still the one who has to carry through with them.
Actually, the more rigid you are about your goals, the more likely you won’t see them through. Why? Humanness.
So, here’s your gift this Christmas: go easy on yourself.
Consistent, small changes are enough
We all want to do better, be better, have more and be more, but it doesn’t happen overnight.
We get better by making consistent, small changes that grow and grow. If the change you want to make requires anything more than a steady drip, drip, drip, it’s probably not a change you can sustain.
Leading habits expert James Clear sums it up like this: “It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making better decisions on a daily basis. The daily choices we make shape our teams, our societies, and ourselves.
“Change your habits and you’ll change your life.”
So, choose one thing you want to improve. Just one. Whether that’s to do with your health, your character or your wealth, just pick one.
Let’s assume (because you’re reading this here) that the thing you pick is a money thing. Let’s say you want to save more money next year. That’s going to be your one thing: save money.
Just one small thing
Now, think of a single thing that you can do to help you achieve that goal. Again, just one thing. It doesn’t have to be a big thing, either. One small change can be enough to change your habits and set you on a more successful path.
If you’re planning to save more money, your one small thing could be to give up buying something you regularly buy, like coffee. Instead, every time you would have bought your coffee last year, next year you’ll put the money into a savings account you can’t touch.
If you buy two coffees each work day at $3.50 per coffee, you’ll make a weekday transaction of $7 into your new account. Of course, the sensible approach will be to keep a tally and then make one transfer every month when you reconcile your overall budget. (Because reconciling your budget each month is something you do, right?)
Now, focus all your new year’s resolution willpower on refining that one thing. Do that small thing every day and see where it takes you.
Small things done consistently add up
If you stick to your no-bought-coffee resolution for the full year, you’ll have saved $1,820 by 31 December. Just sayin’. It doesn’t take much to achieve a goal, it just takes commitment and consistency.
Once you’ve got a good rhythm going, you might feel ready to add another small thing, then another. But there’s no pressure. Getting your original one small thing right is all you need to do to improve your lot. What a kind gift of humanness to give yourself this Christmas!
Best of luck in the new year. Everyone is cheering you on to succeed – in whatever way success looks like to you.