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Why We So Often Fail to Keep Our New Year’s Resolutions, and Why We Should Cut Ourselves Some Slack – Presented by Mark K. Lund, Financial Advisor in Utah

Financial Advisor UtahAmanda Mull’s father was a smoker for 20 years. When he became convinced that cigarettes were harmful, he simply quit smoking them. Later, when he decided he should take up running, he got up at 4:30 AM to get in five miles before work. And has continued this practice every day for more than 30 years.

Mull, writing in The Atlantic, says that her dad’s ability to adopt life-changing habits (or quit bad ones) was seen by her as the norm. For years she struggled to exercise regularly, and compared to her father, she’s been an abject failure.

But many of us hold to a similarly unrealistic standard.

“Stories like my dad’s,” she writes, “often serve as pop-psychological proof that you, too, could become a runner, if you really wanted to.” (emphasis added)

That’s the thought we punish ourselves with after we fail. “I just don’t want this bad enough.” We think the key to lasting change is just somehow digging up more willpower.

But the truth is that the virtue we label “willpower” comes in two varieties: the kind that requires ongoing self-discipline, and the kind that’s innate. The first requires a lot of extra effort, while the second more or less comes naturally.

Up until about 20 years ago, popular psychology lumped these two together, and added the idea that your success or failure at gaining a new habit was a matter of personal character. If you succeeded at your diet or put more of your paycheck into savings, then you were a better person.

But since then it’s been shown that for some people, beneficial activities that the rest of us struggle to maintain, are easy or even enjoyable. There are people who actually like going to pool at 5 a.m. or updating their budget on a daily basis. Conversely, a person who prefers the taste of kale to French fries, will have less trouble cutting out fast food.

But what about making a change in an area that goes against your natural bent? Can you establish a good habit where you’ve failed before?

There’s reason for hope here. Behaviorists have found that you can increase your chances for lasting success if you make the new habit as easy as possible. In other words, you can enable yourself in a positive way.

Mull gives her own example of wanting to eat a more healthy diet, which means eating out less often, which means doing more cooking at home. The problem was that she didn’t like cleaning up the kitchen, and so would fall behind on doing the dishes, which made it difficult to prepare the next meal—something she wasn’t naturally inclined to do anyway.

She solved her willpower problem by buying a bluetooth speaker for her kitchen. Now doing the dishes gives her the opportunity to listen to her favorite podcasts. Something she otherwise wouldn’t have time for. And the task she once avoided is now a regular source of enjoyment.

As you consider the lifestyle and financial habits you’d like to establish this year, think about ways to reduce the friction and make them something you might even look forward to.

To meet your objectives as you save for financial goals and retirement, ask your trusted advisor about ways to automate the process, making it as easy as possible to see positive change.

If you ever have any questions about your investments or retirement plans, please feel free to give me a call at 801-545-0696.

Regards,
Mark Lund
Stonecreek Wealth Advisors, Inc., A Financial Advisor in Utah
11576 S State Street, Bldg. 1002
Draper, UT 84020

Disclosure:
This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. All economic and performance data is historical and not indicative of future results. Market indices discussed are unmanaged. Investors cannot invest in unmanaged indices. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This material was prepared by Efficient Advisors, LLC (“EA’) for Mark Lund, Mark is a Financial Advisor in Utah. He is known as a Wealth Advisor, The 401k Advisor, Investor Coach, Financial Planner, Investment Advisor and author of The Effective Investor. Mark offers investment advisory services through Stonecreek Wealth Advisors, Inc. a fiduciary, independent, fee-only, Registered Investment Advisor firm providing investment management and retirement planning for individuals and 401k consulting for small businesses. Mark’s newsletter is called The Effective Investor Newsletter. Cities served in Utah are: Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah County, Park City, Murray City, West Jordan City, Sandy City, Draper City, South Jordan City, Provo City, Orem City, Lehi City, Highland City, Alpine City, American Fork City. The views expressed herein are exclusively those of Efficient Advisors, LLC (‘EA’), and are not meant as investment advice and are subject to change. All charts and graphs are presented for informational and analytical purposes only. No chart or graph is intended to be used as a guide to investing. EA portfolios may contain specific securities that have been mentioned herein. EA makes no claim as to the suitability of these securities. Past performance is not a guarantee of future performance. Information contained herein is derived from sources we believe to be reliable, however, we do not represent that this information is complete or accurate and it should not be relied upon as such. All opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. This information is prepared for general information only. It does not have regard to the specific investment objectives, financial situation and the particular needs of any specific person who may receive this report. You should seek financial advice regarding the appropriateness of investing in any security or investment strategy discussed or recommended in this report and should understand that statements regarding future prospects may not be realized. You should note that security values may fluctuate and that each security’s price or value may rise or fall. Accordingly, investors may receive back less than originally invested. Investing in any security involves certain systematic risks including, but not limited to, market risk, interest-rate risk, inflation risk, and event risk. These risks are in addition to any unsystematic risks associated with particular investment styles or strategies.

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