Resolve to do the best you can this New Year

It’s that time of the year again. The beginning of a new year is in sight, which, for many, symbolizes a fresh start. And as 2011 comes to an end, it is also a time for reflection. Millions of Americans will look back on the year and assess their accomplishments – and shortcomings – in order to create resolutions for 2012.

While it can be tempting to become overzealous and set lofty goals for the New Year, by the end of January many people find that those resolutions have already fallen by the wayside. The reason for this trend is that many people get stuck in the mindset that resolutions are “all or nothing” – pass or fail.

So this year, resolve to do the best you can. As you’re making your New Year’s resolutions, keep in mind that no matter how precisely you lay out your plans – and even with the best of intentions – life happens. The key to achieving your goals is to be flexible. Remember why you set your goals and resolutions in the first place, and revise them accordingly.

For example, if you resolve to pay down all of your debt in 2012, a big life event can make you feel as though it’s just not possible. And that may be justified. However, the reason you initially set that goal was because you felt that it was important for your financial well-being – and that will still be true.

So if you are sidelined by an unforeseen circumstance that adds bills to your already overwhelming burden of debt, don’t abandon your desire to be debt-free. You can still make positive steps toward that goal, but accept that it may take longer than 12 months. In fact, you can use the opportunity to revisit that resolution and set a goal that you won’t accrue any more credit card debt in 2012.

While that may not initially seem as satisfying as paying off all your debt, making the decision to avoid self-sabotage by resolving to not accrue more debt will pay off in the long-run. Not only is this revised goal attainable, but if will help you remain in control of your debt.

And if you end up putting any money toward the debt you originally resolved to pay off in 2012, then that’s just icing on the cake.

Jessica Horton is a former copywriter and community manager at MMI.

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  • Since 2007, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) has served as a trusted, neutral source of information for more than eight million homeowners. They are partnered with, and endorsed by, numerous major government agencies, including the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of the Treasury.

  • The mission of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD works to strengthen the housing market in order to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes; utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; and build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination.

  • The Council on Accreditation (COA) is an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. Their mission is to partner with human service organizations worldwide to improve service delivery outcomes by developing, applying, and promoting accreditation standards.

  • The National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), founded in 1951, is the nation’s largest and longest-serving nonprofit financial counseling organization. The NFCC’s mission is to promote the national agenda for financially responsible behavior, and build capacity for its members to deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.