With the New Year usually comes new resolutions. We want to set ourselves up for success, and we come up with a set of goals to achieve within the year to come.
Sadly, the US News and World Report found out that 80% of the New Year’s resolutions are gone by the second week of February¹. In a similar study conducted by psychologist Richard Wiseman, only 12% of the participants kept their resolutions².
New Year’s resolutions are positive changes we want to make in our life, so how come so few of us succeed in sticking to them?
Most often, we look back at the last year and think:
“This year will be better. Why? Because, this year, I will do more.”
We will do more at work.
We will do more exercise.
We will do more reading, stretching, networking, dieting, sleeping, walking.
We will do more…
This brute-force approach is not sustainable, hence why we fall short so often. So for this year, instead of “do more”, let’s reframe our objective and “do enough”.
Not sure of the difference? The concepts overlap but are not the same.
To “do more” of something does not require any reflection. It is completely draining because “more” does not have an end. We can always do more. But why should we?
We can “do more” if it helps us reach and sustain “enough”. That’s what I called “do enough”.
To “do enough” requires a mindful balance between thinking about what is enough and then taking action.
“Enough” is different for each of us.
Why do we decide to go more often to the gym? There can be some confusion about the reasons. Is it because we don’t feel well enough in our bodies? Is it because we feel our appearance is not appealing enough? Is it something else?
We have to be wary of arbitrary goals that look nice on paper but avoid answering the main question — what would be enough for us?
What does it mean to us to lose 5 kg, read a book per month, or even drink 2L of water per day?
Toward which vision of “enough” do these objectives lead us? Is it something we are truly looking for? Or do we think we have to do it to comply with someone else’s definition of “do enough”?
Knowing what is enough allows us to be more focused, and it builds up our conviction to do, to take action.
And what is enough is a fundamental question when it comes to money.
Ken Honda, called the Zen Millionaire, is renowned for sharing his financial wisdom through books and courses. And I particularly like one of his anecdotes.
He explained that he got to discuss with another man wealthier than him. Ken asked him if “he had made it”.
Surprisingly, the man answered that he did not feel rich yet. He was missing something. Ken was confused. How could this person with all his properties and money not see himself as rich? So he asked him what was missing.
And the answer was even more confusing.
He got told: “You see, all my rich friends that made it, they all have a jet. And me, I don’t have a jet. When I have one, I will be rich.”
In another meeting, Ken faced someone who owned a private jet. So he asked him the same question. Have you made it? And the answer was as disturbing as the previous one.
“No, I am not rich. I only have a 6-seater jet. It’s quite small compared to the other ones. When I have a bigger one, I will be rich.”
They did not feel rich because they always wanted more and never had enough.
Finding which amount of money we need to earn to afford a lifestyle that brings us joy and fulfillment requires significant introspection — but it is a tremendous gift we can give ourselves.
If you wish to explore this topic, many personal finance books explain the concept of “financially enough” and give different methodologies to find out what it is for you. Among the best, I recommend “Your Money or Your Life” by Vicki Robin and “The 4-Hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss.
When we reflect on the concept of “enough”, it is easy to solely concentrate on what we are missing.
Although this is undeniably part of the exercise, we should start with what we have. Too often, we are oblivious and take things for granted.
Doing so requires taking a step back and focusing on the bigger picture.
Are we healthy? Are we close to our family? Do we have parents or siblings that care for us? Can we wake up every morning close to our partner?
Without these elements or people, we would feel lost and unhappy. They are undoubtedly needed, but as we “do more”, are we doing enough to sustain them?
One of the best ways I found to do so is to be grateful and foster this essential virtue. If you want to discover more about it, you can register for my free course here.
I wish you “enough” for this New Year.
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- Luciani J.J., 2015, “Why 80 Percent of New Year’s Resolutions Fail”, US News & World Report
- Wiseman R., 2007, “New Year’s Resolution Project”, Quirkology