I’m not a religious person but I like to learn from and understand religions. I find the things that make sense, that I like, and I leave the rest. Obviously I’m most familiar with Christian beliefs since I have some experience with them and most my friends and family are Christians.

Two related concepts that are appropriate this time of year are the ideas of renewal and forgiveness. As you look back on 2011 forgive yourself for not doing the things you wanted to do. As you look forward to 2012 renew yourself by setting goals for the coming year.

The idea of Jesus’ crucifixion is that he died for our sins, absolving us of our past transgressions. You can do the same for yourself (without the dying part) by accepting your mistakes while also learning from them. But this wasn’t a onetime thing. The practice of confession in the Catholic Church is another means of renewal much like resolutions each year.

The idea of renewal can be sped up to occur more than once every few thousand years (God’s only son) or once a week (confession) and could be a daily occurrence. I call this my New Day resolution. the song Breathe by U2 captures this idea in the context of religion (Jesus’ death and resurrection or maybe reincarnation): “Every day I die again, and again I’m reborn.”

The notion of reincarnation is also about renewal, rejuvenation. Why wait a whole lifetime when you can become new every day. It was funny that shortly after writing the first draft of this post I saw this tweet from Motivational Tweets:

Buddha Quote

The cliché that every day is a chance at a new life is true if you believe it and if you are willing to try.

Are you?

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Stalking Your Money

Being successful simply is not possible if you don’t have your finances under control. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, success is not determined by how much money you have, there’s a lot more to it than that, but how you use the money you have plays a big part in success. If you’re playing catch up but never make progress, are in debt, or simply don’t know where your money is going, you’re putting yourself at a disadvantage.

In a previous post I made it clear that budgets often don’t work and that you will be much better off if you tracked your spending. If every transaction is accounted for then your budget is taken care of. You know exactly where your money is going and how to make adjustments.

The video below is a follow-up to a previous video and will show you how to use Quicken personal finance software to begin keeping track of your spending. If there is anything you resolve to do in 2012 make it tracking your spending. Here’s to a very happy and successful New Year.

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People Want Answers

While sales of What Next have not been stellar (see how honest I am), people seem to have a very positive reaction to the book when I tell them about it. I even wrote a post about that back in October. The trend continues and I’m encouraged by it. When I relate examples of the people in the book who have asked what next, the person I’m speaking with usually tells me their what next, the thing they would like to do but haven’t for whatever reason.

A related phenomenon is that people will also ask me for advice in achieving their what next. They want answers, they need, and want a push in the right direction. That is why self-help or motivational books do so well, why motivational speakers are booked at various events. The idea that a person can get answers that will lead to success is why life coaching is more popular every year.

I know my book is now part of this group (I wrote about the irony of this here). But looking to someone else for answers is the easy way out, dare I say the lazy way to success. No one has the answer to your success other than you!

It’s fine to read my book (I encourage it), or to listen to a motivational speech, but unless you add action to that feeling, on your own, the motivation is lost. In the book I say “Inspiration on its own is like a flint without fuel, the spark is there but nothing catches fire.” I go on to say “Motivation is the tinder for the spark of inspiration; it is the thing that catches fire.” The last ingredient is drive, “Drive is the wind that spreads the fire of motivation sparked by inspiration.”

No one, not a very skilled motivational speaker, not a best selling book, not even my book, can provide you with the drive to succeed. I hope I give you that spark and that there is some fuel to start the fire but you have to provide the wind to spread the fire yourself, and become successful on your own.

As 2011 ends resolve to motivate yourself , resolve to be driven, resolve to be curious enough to ask What Next, and resolve to find the answer on your own.

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It’s resolution time so what are your New Year Resolutions? Will you keep them or will they simply be forgotten until next year?


I never really had a New Year Resolutions because I felt they would get in the way of my many New Day Resolutions, the ideas, schemes, and plans for success that I have every day.

Whether you have a New Year Resolution or a New Day Resolution I think the difficulty of keeping them lies in having enough resolve. You may make the resolution but do you have the resolve to follow through? Willpower isn’t enough if the goal is too large, too daunting. The resolve to complete a task is aided by breaking it down to smaller parts. Resolving to better handle your finances is too broad, too nebulous for success. Resolve to track your spending on a daily basis so you know where your money is going, now that’s specific enough for success. I’m currently struggling with this very thing. I want to attract more people to my blog and sell more books but how am I going about it? Right now my only resolution is to be better at marketing but what exactly does that mean?

Rather than looking to market myself and my book better, I’m coming up with specific goals such as contacting college clubs and groups that might be interested in having me as a guest speaker, as one example. Applying this to some common resolutions, instead of saying I resolve to quit smoking, someone might say I’m going to track exactly how many cigarettes I smoke and resolve to reduce that number by 10 per cent every week until I stop. That’s specific and measurable enough for success.

Fitness and exercise are very common New Year Resolutions. One technique I’ve used to make sure I exercise more often is what I call the five minute rule. I may not want to exercise but I promise myself I’ll do something, run or ride my bike, for at least five minutes. If, after those five minutes, I still want to skip the exercise I will, but that rarely ever happens.

Asking what next is one way to keep the resolutions coming all year long. Now that you have the tools to make your resolutions a reality (by making them specific and manageable) you can add resolutions all year long. In other words you can continue asking What Next every day.

So I’ll end by asking the same question I began with; what are your New Year Resolutions? Do share!

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