New Year’s Resolutions

A new year means fresh beginnings, time for reflection and hoped-for changes. New year’s resolutions abound! They are a time-honored tradition for many of us, including myself. 

According to research, about 60% of us acknowledge making New Year’s resolutions, but only around 8% of us are successful in actually achieving them. Indeed, according to a national survey, over half of us making resolutions fail before January 31st! Despite these dismal odds, the majority of us still make those New Year’s resolutions every year — hoping for a positive outcome. 

In general, women make health-focused resolutions while men pledge to find a new job and lay off the booze. Not surprisingly, saving money is also one of the top five New Year’s resolutions made (and also one of the top 5 for the most commonly failed). I am confident our clients at BWFA don’t share in this problem!

So, what are we all wishing for in 2018? Here are the top ten New Year’s resolutions according to a recent survey of 2,000 people: 

  1. Diet or eat healthier (71%)
  2. Exercise more (65%)
  3. Lose weight (54%)
  4. Save more and spend less – my personal favorite! (32%)
  5. Learn a new skill or hobby (26%)
  6. Quit smoking (21%)
  7. Read more (17%)
  8. Find another job (16%)
  9. Drink less alcohol (15%)
  10. Spend more time with family and friends (13%)

What are your resolutions for the coming year? This may be the year that you achieve each and every goal you set for yourself! 

Perhaps, rather than treating the New Year as a catalyst for sweeping character changes, it is best to set realistic goals and work toward them each day over time. This way there is a greater chance that you will keep them throughout the whole year and set yourself up for better success. You can incorporate new healthy behavior, better productive habits or more joyful hobbies into your life on a regular basis. 

Along these lings, the American Psychological Association offers these tips when thinking about a New Year’s resolutions: 


Make resolutions that you think you can keep. If, for example, your aim is to exercise more frequently, schedule just a few days a week at the gym, instead of seven. If you would like to eat healthier, try replacing dessert with something else you enjoy, like fruit or yogurt, instead of seeing your diet as a form of punishment.


Unhealthy behaviors develop overnight. They’ve been in the works for a while. So, replacing unhealthy behaviors with healthy ones requires time. Don’t get overwhelmed and think that you have to reassess everything in your life. Instead, work toward changing one thing at a time.


Share your experiences with family and friends. Consider joining a support group to reach your goals, such as a workout class at your gym or a group of coworkers who are quitting smoking. Having someone to share your struggles as well as successes makes your journey to a healthier lifestyle that much easier and less intimidating.


Perfection is unattainable. Remember that minor missteps when reaching your goals are completely normal and acceptable. 


Accepting help from those who care about you and will listen strengthens your resilience and ability to manage stress caused by your resolution. If you feel overwhelmed or unable to meet your goals on your own, consider seeking professional help. Psychologists are uniquely trained to understand the connection between the mind and body. They can offer strategies as to how to adjust your goals so that they are attainable, as well as help you change unhealthy behaviors and address emotional issues. 

While we at BWFA of course strive to help you reach and obtain your financial goals, our broader aim is to help you achieve a more fulfilling life with your family and friends. Last year we continued, and expanded, our regular series of seminars covering a wide array of topics on financial matters and beyond. We have planned even more for 2018, and will bring in speakers to discuss topics including your physical health, mental wellness and legal awareness. We are hopeful that these topics, combined with sound financial advice, will help you live a longer, more rewarding and productive life. We hope to see more of you throughout the new year! 

In closing I’d like to share some of my personal goals. They include taking a cooking class with my wife, traveling somewhere new with my family, spending more time with those I love, improving my tennis game, and continuing to build and grow a community of advisors at BWFA that are dedicated to serving all our clients. 

I wish you and your family a very happy, healthy and fruitful 2018!
May you reach all the goals you set out to achieve.

Robert G. Carpenter | President & CEO | rcarpenter@bwfa.com