The secret math of New Year’s Resolutions

Many of us start the new year with the ritual of New Year’s Resolutions, but very few achieve them. One of the reasons is that the list is either too long or the goals too grandiose to be achieved in one year. However, it’s usually the underlying math that doesn’t quite add up.

Intangibles are by definition hard to quantify. It takes practice to learn how to guesstimate the cost/value of an intangible. For example:

What are the below worth to you?

  • A one-week vacation?
  • A good night of sleep?
  • A good book or movie?
  • A date night?
  • Feeling fit instead of ’not’?
  • Your car or other discretionary/luxury item(s)?
  • Being respected by your peers?
  • Your general physical health?
  • Your mental health and wellbeing?
  • Being in control of your time/schedule/day/week?
  • Having ‘good’ kids?
  • Your BFF?
  • Being happy or flourishing?
  • Getting a degree or certification?
  • Not being sick/not taking sick days?
  • A new skill? Speed reading, faster typing, new language, better memory…

It’s only when you can do the FINANCIAL math that shows the payoff(s) are worth more than the costs/effort that you will want to first and foremost commit to starting to achieve that goal and then have the determination and discipline to stick with it to completion.

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