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Tuesday, May 21, 2024   

New Years Resolutions for 2002
by Scott Bilker
Scott Bilker is the author of the best-selling books, Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt, Credit Card and Debt Management, and How to be more Credit Card and Debt Smart. He's also the founder of DebtSmart.com. More about and DebtSmart can be found in the online media kit.
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Scott Bilker

I didn't realize how much I was going to learn, personally, when I asked you all for your New Year's resolutions. I thank you for giving me so much to think about this year. I will be adding many of your resolutions to my own.

First off, 84% of us are making New Year's resolutions, but only 28% say they usually follow through. I know myself that if I set out to accomplish a goal and run into a few obstacles that there is a chance I may throw in the towel.

When this happens, when challenges arise and you seem to stop working toward your goal just remember that it's not over. You haven't failed. You can only fail if you quit!

If you find that you've stopped pursuing your goal--don't give up! Simply start right back like you've never stopped. Every step you take toward your goal gets you closer.

The Chinese Tao Ta Ching says, "People fail when they are on the verge of success. A tree as big around as a person's embrace begins with a small shoot; a terrace nine stories high begins with a pile of earth; a journey of a thousand miles starts under one's feet therefore, put as much care into the end as into the beginning and there will be no failure."

When I wanted to stop smoking my goal was to go as long as I could without having the next cigarette--not to quit. So far it's been six years.

There were other times that I though that I quit. I once went nearly one year without having a cigarette, but then one day I caved and had one. After that I figured that since I had one it's over, and I went right back to smoking.

Before my last cigarette six years ago I started to slow down by seeing how long I could go without smoking and not beating myself up when I did smoke. 

If I was able to not smoke for five hours then I was successful because it was a few cigarettes less that day and I was moving toward my goal. Instead of getting upset about the one cigarette that I had when I felt weak, I focused on the success from the hundreds I had not smoked.

It took two years before I stopped thinking about smoking every single day! Finally, I can say "no" to smoking without feeling like I'm missing it, but that doesn't mean I've quit. I can never let my guard down, I must always work on this goal.

It's the same with your debt. You can always start paying on time, getting organized, and find the best credit deals. Just start today and you will find success!

The resolutions everyone submitted seem to fit into different categories. Each of the resolutions discussed below is a grouping of many submitted by DebtSmart Readers.

FINANCIAL RESOLUTIONS (My personal favorite.)


Resolution: "Equip my children to be frugal and conscientious."

Comments: This is on my list also. I need to get my kids interested in learning about money, understanding its value, and teach them how to track income and spending.


Resolution: "Follow a budget, stick to my budget at least 90% of the time, use my calendar to plan for one-time expenses (e.g., car insurance, license renewal, etc.), and take better care of my finances (what little I have)."

Comments: The best method to control where the money is going is to use a budget. Figure out how much you're spending in each category and decide if that amount needs to be adjusted.


Resolution: "Get out of debt, start to get out of debt, pay down credit cards, pay down existing debt, pay off debts, no additional debt, pay cash (instead of credit cards), to lower debt by $2500 by December 2002, and reduce credit card debt."

Comments: This is what DebtSmart is all about. The good news is that it can be done and the bad news for the banks is that they're not going to gouge the life out of DebtSmart readers!


Resolution: "Make more money, save money, put away for my baby's college fund, and find a better job."

Comments: There are two major components to reducing debt: (1) lowering the cost of existing debts and (2) getting more money to pay off debts. Once you start to look for ways to earn extra money you'll begin to see that the list of options is larger than you originally thought. Look online! Start a business, sell your stuff at online auctions, look for a higher paying job, etc. We'll be covering all these topics in greater detail in future articles. If you already have a great way to earn extra money please let us know so we can let all DebtSmart readers in on your success secrets.



Resolution: "Be thankful everyday."

Comments: That's for sure! The way I see it is that life is certainly not fair and everyone isn't handed the same cards so we should always be thankful for everything we do get!


Resolution: "Finish remodeling the bathroom."

Comments: I can use to do few home remodeling jobs myself. I can do it, however I need to learn to enjoy the process of that handy-man stuff--although I do enjoy the results.


Resolution: "Learn to listen--by the end of the year, I hadn't gotten any better. Now I'm studying to be a court mediator and they teach you to listen!"

Comments: That's one I certainly need to keep in mind. It's always important to be aware of when you're listening or if you're really just waiting for your turn to talk. I have to really focus sometimes to listen.


Resolution: "I will pursue a great attitude and keep a positive attitude."

Comments: You can control your attitude by choice, so chose to have a good one. Whenever I feel that my attitude is not positive, then ask myself this question, "What can I do right now to make my attitude positive?" When you ask yourself that question you'll get the answer.


Resolution: "Keep house cleaner, not to be a slave to the Internet, stop chewing nails, and stop smoking."

Comments: These are certainly some tough items. With any of these I would measure success by heading toward the goal no matter how small the step. Cleaning one room, taking a one-hour break from the computer, chewing one less nail, and having one less cigarette each day. Breaking a big task into smaller tasks makes it seem less daunting.





Resolution: "Go to graduate school."

Comments: People often ask my advice about investing. Investing in real estate, the stock market, bonds, or money markets. I believe that the best investment you can make is in yourself. Improving, learning, testing your ideas, starting your own business, and anything else that comes from your mind and heart. That's the first place to invest!


Resolution: "I always make a resolution to learn to do something new. This year I want to learn to shoot a gun. It is something very different for me, as I am an intellectual, a grandma, etc."

Comments: I'm with you on this one. Although I'm not anti-gun, I still wouldn't want to own one since I'm not trained, plus I have no interest in having it around the house (three small kids). However, I'm thinking it's time for me to at least learn how to handle a gun properly, in case someday, I ever need to.



Resolution: "Lose weight (in order to) lower blood pressure and reduce risk of diabetes, and lose 10 pounds in the year of 2002."

Comments: When I was in high school I wrestled in the 98 to 108-pound weight class. By the time I was in college I couldn't even make it to 118. Now, one lifetime later, at age 36 (on January 7th), I'm at 157. Definitely a little overweight and I can feel it! I am going to focus on getting back into at least the 140 zone by the end of the year.


Resolution: "Take better care of my body and eat healthier."

Comments: "You are what you eat" is what they told me in grammar school. My plan is to ask myself before I eat something, "Do I really need this food or am I only eating for taste." If the answer is the latter then I'll skip eating.


Resolution: "Exercise."

Comments: A recently released study found that people who exercise score better on intelligence tests. The study also said that people's test scores went down when they stopped working out (jogging). The study was conducted by Dr. Kisou Kubota of Nihon Fukushi University in Handa, Japan. More proof of what we all suspected; we need both knowledge in the mind and strength in the body.



Resolution: "Develop closer relationship with God and keep doing my best to do God's will."

Comments: Learning from you is one of the greatest benefits in running this email newsletter. When we did the survey I didn't even think about this type of resolution. After reading these resolutions, I decided to think more deeply about my faith.




Resolution: "Relax and enjoy life more and slow down."

Comments: Sometimes I do forget to take it easy. I'll make it a point to be sure to relax at least one day each week and one hour each day.


Resolution: Go on a trip

Comments: I certainly will go a few relaxing trips but they'll be inexpensive. There's so much to do without spending a lot of money. For example, I really enjoy staying in cabins in the state parks (here in New Jersey). It's very reasonable, less than $30 per night in some places, for a cabin with a fireplace. The only catch is that you have to reserve the cabin well in advance because they get booked quickly.


Resolution: Try a new recipe weekly.

Comments: Hmmm, this may go against my "don't eat for taste" resolution. :)

Thanks again for sharing your wonderful New Year's resolutions!



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