Time to reflect and change, or is it business as usual?

The holiday season is upon us. It is that time when we tend to seek unusual amounts of entertainment and pleasure as well as reflect on the past year and what we hope to achieve in the upcoming one.

Restaurants, bars and such service industry players look forward to this time of year when many of us relax a bit more, overspend and overindulge. Putting Scrooge and his offsprings and followers aside, one would be hard pressed to find anyone telling you not to have a little fun during the Christmas period.

However, myself and those minded towards wealth creation would add a caveat to remind us all not to spend more than we can afford. It is easy to fall in the trap of borrowing or using a credit card to have that little bit more pleasure.

And why not? Who wants to be the only person not travelling anywhere for the holidays? Who wants to be the only person not going to the biggest and best parties and clubs between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day?

Who wants to not have a new outfit to make a visit up country where the family and extended friends can stare at you in awe and with jealousy?

But the reality is that wealth was not created by being concerned what others think. It is not smart to be in debt in order to keep up with the Joneses. None of us truly know how the Joneses keep up their lifestyle.

Do they actually have the cash flow to be attending all these events in a brand new outfit each time or are they borrowing money or using a credit card which they have no idea how they will repay?

Notwithstanding, the Joneses may actually have the cash flow to feed their pleasures while you do not. And that too is okay. It is fine to be the person in the room without the disposable income to do ‘everything’.

What is not okay is to spend as if there is no tomorrow to maintain an image but not have any savings. To not have the money to meet one’s rent payment in January is embarrassing in itself but for it to happen because of the extra spending during the holidays is nothing short of irresponsible and short-sighted.

Reflection is a natural part of being human, most of us do it in some form or fashion at different points in our lives. The December holiday season seems to encourage it more than any other time of the year.

It could be because the new year provides an opportunity for a  fresh start or it could be because of the idea of New Year’s resolutions which have permeated many of our cultures.

Either way, I think the process of reflection is a good one as because of it many of us will start 2019 doing more exercise, eating better, saving a bit more money and maybe even trying harder to be kinder and more tolerant.

It is possible that we tell ourselves that we will overspend now but this is the last time, as of 2019 we will do things differently in a more sustainable way. While we feed ourselves this line we are actually being truthful with our hope and wish but somehow the strength to actually be different is often lacking.

How can we change this? How can this new year be the time when we actually use our gym membership for more than 4 to 6 weeks?

How can we actually save that amount of money which would help us with our wealth creation target?

Mark Twain, quite the humorist but also known for his wise and well written words, is credited with the following quote, ”The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret to getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks and then starting on the first one.”

It can seem overwhelming to make the changes we need to make in order to meet our goals but as is said, look at it as changing habits and each new habit is formed within an average of 60 days.

If you want to stick to the gym in order to maintain a healthy body weight then set a routine. Go every other day at the same time and studies show that by the end of the second month of following this routine you would have created a new habit.

Let us identify the excuses we give ourselves for not doing what we need to do, then make the small steps we need to take in order to not be overwhelmed. Approximately SIXTY DAYS is what we need with the new approach for it to stick.

So let us reflect, identify, plan and make the changes we need so that 2019 is when we concretize our journey towards taking our seat at the proverbial table.

Merry Christmas season and a Happy New Year to all...

Twitter: @NatsCR

The views expressed in this article are of the author.