Okay, maybe you’ve already broke your New Year’s Resolution to get in better shape. You probably have broken many of your resolutions. Just this Monday, I had a student tell me that they broke their new year’s resolution to be on time to school. Monday was the students’ first day back after winter break.

The reason I refused to name specific resolutions for New Year’s is because so many resolutions fail. Rather than look sad like my friend here, now you have the opportunity to get off your butt and do something. Just don’t call it a resolution!

Getting in shape is the most popular resolution. Getting out of debt and being better with money was up there. Guess which one I care more about?

  • Understand that learning about finance, much like getting in better physical shape, is a process, not a simple declaration. Take small steps. Right now, you are young enough to make a real effort, and even to make a few missteps once in a while. Don’t give up already.
  • Don’t get hung up on titles or artificial definitions. You want to learn to be better with money than your friends and some members of your family. You don’t need to say that you are going to be “debt-free” in 2011, unless you really think this is a goal that is attainable and worthy of attaining. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with wanting to avoid debt, but don’t lose sight of the bigger picture of being happy and living a fulfilling life.
  • While this is an individual journey, you don’t have to always be alone. If you don’t have friends or family that will go on a similar journey, find people that have already been there or who are on the fence about starting their own. There are tons of Finance blogs out there where this is their whole approach. Check out my blogroll for several of what I consider to be the best examples. Check out my Twitter followers for others.
  • Do not ignore the benefit of doing your homework. Just like in math, science, or any other class in school, you don’t have all the answers. You have access to them, but you have to do the work. Reading these articles will help, reading and re-reading finance for youth: the book will also get you there. Frankly, there are several other writers out there who might resonate more with you that will help. I don’t care where you get the information (as long as it is accurate), just that you get it and read it.
  • Practice what you learn. There is a huge difference between reading books about Bruce Lee and taking martial arts lessons. I’ve done both. The books were great, but they never helped me to defend myself when I needed to. You need to practice the skills I teach you here or else you won’t be able to use them when you need to. Nowhere in the world of f4y do I tell you how to handle every situation. I have no intentions of changing that. I give you guidelines and basic skills. It is up to you to adapt what I teach you into something that serves you in other situations.

There are no guarantees in life, which means you could do everything right and some stupid thing or another could screw it up anyway. It also means that you may succeed even if you do nothing. I’m suggesting ways to increase the probability that you can succeed, and instead of being like my friend above, you can be more like his idol here. Notice how through following my advice, from a very young age, he is now in fantastic shape to succeed. I hope the same for you!

So instead of wallowing in whatever failure you think you are guilty of because you couldn’t stick to something as weighty as a New Year’s resolution, start tonight to build in a determined, planned, reasoned out, regiment to succeed. I’ve got a feeling that you might succeed after all!



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