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Happy New You!

2012 is an opportunity to redefine yourself and begin to realize your financial goals and dreams. Imagine how life can be if you make good decisions and work towards your aspirations.

Happy New Year to everyone! I wish you all much success and fortune this year as we take advantage of this opportunity to work towards our goals and dreams.

Many people have great intentions and objectives at the start of a new year (me included), but rarely see them fulfilled. As a result, I have come up with three principles we can focus on to help us begin to realize our ambitions.

Take Responsibility
There’s a great book called “The Oz Principle” written by Roger Connors, Tom Smith, and Craig Hickman that focuses on the principle of taking responsibility for your circumstances.

The principle works like this: Like the characters in “The Wizard of Oz,” most people already have the tools to succeed, but when things go wrong they blame circumstances or others instead of looking within for the true cause of the problem.

One of the core lessons from the book is “See It, Own It, Solve It and Do It.” When a problem comes up, recognize it, take responsibility for it, come up with a viable solution, and commit to fixing it…simple. Instead we try to pass the blame to the next person, which causes them to do the same, and nothing gets done.

If we are to achieve a better quality of life this year, we must take responsibility and be accountable for what we do, or do not do. No one controls your destiny but you, and you can’t afford to wait around to see who’ll pick up the mantle and make things better for you…it’s all on you.

Close the Knowing/Doing Gap
Ever wonder why we just can’t seem to get anything done? Is it from lack of knowledge or confusion about what to do next?

No.

These days, people abound with knowledge and have open access to whatever information they need to achieve whatever it is they want. So information and knowledge is not the key.

The reason people can’t get things done is simple…doing something actually requires that you do something! It means you have to decide to take on the hard task of making something happen. The stuff you already know you need to do is what you need to do.

People complain all day about being ripped-off by their bank, but never actually take action to change banks. Bread-winners know they need more life insurance to protect their families, but never take the time to set up an appointment to get more coverage. Almost every responsible, working adult already knows they need to start saving (and could put away $50-$100 per week) for retirement, but many are too lazy to stop and do it.

The truth is it's much easier to sit around and think about what needs to be done, rather than actually implement anything. One of the biggest problems Americans have is the tendency to equate talking about something with actually doing something.

Well, you can talk until you’re blue in the face, and you can plan, plan, plan all day long. But until you get up off your behind and start working that plan…nothing’s ever going to change and 2012 will be just like 2011.

Be Prepared to Sacrifice
To Americans, sacrifice is an ugly word. We have been brought up on the fallacy that things can be achieved without sacrifice. We hear and say things like, “I want my cake, and eat it too,” and actually convince ourselves that it’s a realistic aspiration. But that’s so far from reality and it’s another reason why we fail continually at achieving our goals and dreams.

Nothing comes without sacrifice! Get that through your head and believe it. People love to think that wealthy people are just lucky or fortunate. But the wealthy had to sacrifice time, resources, and effort to get where they are. While the average American work a job and parties on the weekend, the wealthy worked during the week and on the weekend until they achieved their dreams, which allowed them to relax afterwards.

But, we live in a microwave society that believes we should have it all now. We are both impatient and unwilling to sacrifice some of our trivial activities in order to achieve success. We’d rather relax and have fun, than work towards success. We’re quick to host a party, but slow to embrace a home-based business. For most of us, the weekend is a time for drinking and merriment, rather than an opportunity to get ahead in life.

As I write this column I realize that I’m really writing a letter to myself…the rest of you just happen to be reading over my shoulders. Just like all of you, I have goals and dreams that I want to achieve this year, and all I know is it’s insane to keep doing the same routine over and over while expecting a different result. If we want to make 2012 into a banner year for us, then we’re going to have to apply these three principles and make our future into the image we want it to be.

So here we go…3…2…1…Happy New You!!

Andy D January 03, 2012 at 12:51 PM
Great stuff, as usual, Alanda, especially: "But, we live in a microwave society that believes we should have it all now. We are both impatient and unwilling to sacrifice some of our trivial activities in order to achieve success. We’d rather relax and have fun, than work towards success. We’re quick to host a party, but slow to embrace a home-based business. For most of us, the weekend is a time for drinking and merriment, rather than an opportunity to get ahead in life." Several decades ago (actually, with some guidance by the company you're associated with, if I'm not mistaken), my wife and I learned the importance (and relative ease) of "paying [ourselves] first". We started by having a little money automatically direct-deposited into an emergency fund and our retirement accounts and we just learned to adjust to those withdrawals, simply as if we weren't taking home as much pay. The cool thing about all of this is that it's *not* rocket science; it is, as you astutely observe, simply a matter of doing it. If you have no emergency fund, you need one! Go to your bank or credit union and ask them to set you up with some sort of no-fee account into which you can have money automatically deposited. Pay yourself first! Even if it's just $20 a paycheck, that's pushing $500 saved at the end of year 1. Lottery ads notwithstanding, slow and steady wins the race and you want time on your side, not working against you. Start today!
Alanda Burroughs January 03, 2012 at 04:26 PM
Thank you Andy. You are absolutely correct. It's not about big leaps, but like you said, slow and steady progress. All it really takes is willpower. We have to get to the point where we decide that we want to get better and are willing to take control and do what it takes to make it happen.
Andy D January 03, 2012 at 04:50 PM
And I'd argue that a similar paradigm can be applied to non-financial areas. A few months ago, I was noodling over what would happen if everyone took control of their lives and chose to dump only one or two TV shows a week and volunteered (somewhere, anywhere) instead. Imagine the impact such a volunteer force could create. Well, it turns out there are smarter people than I who have pondered that very idea: http://www.ordinarypeoplecanwin.com/whatvol I guess we won't beat a dead horse here. Alanda has displayed the (in my opinion, straightforward and simple) tools to get one's financial house in order, now it's up to you, the reader. You can do it!
Alanda Burroughs January 03, 2012 at 05:03 PM
That's so awesome! Isn't it amazing how a little individual effort, from many individuals, can transform our entire world? And I'd go as far to say the transformation would be not only economic, but mental and spiritual as well. We'd find ourselves in a near Utopia! LOL!
Andy D January 03, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Absolutely!

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