Fireforks from the 2008 World Pyro Olympics, Manila Bay, Philippines

Fireworks from the 2008 World Pyro Olympics, Manila Bay, Philippines

Normally, new year’s resolutions are declared when the year is new. To be honest, I did create a very short list, but I thought I’d wait till after the Chinese New Year.

You may ask why. And the simple reason is that I wanted to have more time to think and reflect what aspects of my life I wanted to change for 2011. Sure, anybody can say, “hey, I’m not gonna swear anymore in 2011.” But we all know how that goes. If I were to make a list of resolutions, I’d want it to be meaningful, life-changing, and sincere. And that’s also why I only have 4 for this year. ‘Coz if you can’t do 4, what makes you think you can do more, right?

So without further ado, my resolutions:

1. “Pay Myself First” (Manage my money better)

Becoming wealthy is less about your income than it is about financial literacy. Last year, I was able to grow my income to twice as much as when I was in an 8-to-5 job, but because I didn’t discipline myself, all of that was wasted and financially speaking I was in no better position than when I was an employee!

Here is the system I use which I learned from T. Harv Eker when I attended his Millionaire Mind Intensive seminar in Singapore back in 2009. Every time money comes in (salary, sale of a product, money gift, etc.) no matter where it came from, you put it in jars in the following order:

10% to Financial Freedom Account (FFA)

You use this money to make you even more money, so be sure not to touch it even for those emergency expenses (“Geez, I really NEED to buy an Android phone!”…Um, no!). Naturally, this will start small and won’t afford any new rental properties or business. Initially, you put this in an interest-bearing account as you continue growing this account.

10% to Long Term Savings for Spending

When you want to buy that new gadget, or a new car, or a new house, this is where you get it from. At first, you’ll probably get impatient when your LTSS starts out with just P2,000-3,000 but you’ll be surprised that after a few months, you can afford to buy whatever luxury you were wishing for. And the best part? Since it was “budgeted”, it’s a guilt-free purchase!

10% to Education

When I say education, I mean anything that will teach you more about personal development, finances, business, and anything you can use to improve your life, business, and finances (which will eventually help you make even more). Personally, I’ve been able to buy some books by John Maxwell, Napoleon Hill, and Robert Kiyosaki through this fund.

10% to Giving

I cannot stress this enough: When you give more, you receive more. When you give, it helps your mind think about abundance instead of scarcity or lack of money. This also helps me make sure that when I tithe, I really tithe 10% of my money. In the coming years as my income grows, I will probably increase this fund to accommodate other charities.

10% to Play

This is my favorite fund! Money in this fund has to be splurged within the month, or at most 2 or 3 months. It doesn’t matter how big or small your income may be; there is a story I know of a woman who lost her job. And had only $1. She enjoyed that 10 cents on candy, helped her forget about her situation, helped her be thankful for whatever she had until she got out of her rut.

50% to Expenses

If you want to survive, you live within your means. If you want to have abundance fast, you have to live on half of your means. And that’s the 50% for expenses. Now, what to do if your bills, grocery, and food money exceed 50% of your income? While I’m all for frugality and economy and wise spending, in this situation, I would be more motivated to earn more. Whether it’s on a part-time business or job or selling of some of your old stuff, being forced to live on 50% will really help to stretch your financial, mental, and creative powers.

The most difficult part of it is actually disciplining yourself to follow it. As T. Harv Eker said, your biggest obstacle can be summed up in 5 words: “I have a better idea”. And that’s why this New Year’s resolution is on the top of my list. Tempting as it may be to grab some money from my LTSS jar and use it, I’ve been sticking to it since early this year and I’m glad to see money growing in my room! To some of my friends I owe money to, I will be paid off completely this 2011!:D

2. “Never miss a thing” (Better work-life balancing act, primacy, and prioritization)

In order to have a good life, you have to live a good life. Yes, money is important, but what use is money if you never get to spend it on what’s important. In the hustle and bustle of everyday life, this becomes so easy to neglect. So I’m resolving to have lunches and dinners with family and friends, make time to hang out, and basically contribute positively to the lives of people who are important to me. At the same time, this also means that I need to get things done more quickly and efficiently, so that I can use the time saved for those things that matter most.

3. Drive instead of commute

Last Christmas, I found myself commuting in the MRT; my car was in the shops getting some scratches and dents cleaned up, plus the expenses of the holiday season (and without an emergency fund/LTSS/Play fund, things got quite drastic) and the ever-increasing gas prices made me think twice if I would spend the money on gas. I’ve ridden the MRT countless times before, but I’m not sure I ever want to again. Or at least I don’t want to ride the MRT, or the jeep, or the bus for that matter (especially with the recent bus bombings) because I have to. So, here’s to having a choice to drive instead of commuting.

4. Exercise weekly

To be the best I can be, I need to have a sound mind, and also a sound body.

Admittedly, this has been getting off to a slow start. But I have started. I plan to jog at least once a week. Twice a week if I can. When that becomes regular, we’ll see where it goes from there. Things I plan as additional exercises (aside from the once a week jog):

  • Hiking – We’re already planning some beginner hike’s up La Mesa and Mt. Pulag
  • Swimming – You’ll probably see me more often at my brother’s condo.
  • WiiFit – Of course, where will I be without my Wii Fit and my virtual yoga instructor!:)
  • Exercises for the Traveling Photographer – Musn’t forget my trusty tripod can also be used for weights!

So, there you have it. I’m publishing this for the world to see, and as a constant reminder for me. I hope my resolutions will also inspire some of you to make and keep your own.

What about your resolutions? Have you made some of your own? How have you been keeping them so far and how many have you broken? I’d love to hear from you, so post them at the comments. And if you ever use some of my resolutions, be sure to let me know how it goes. I would love to hear it.:)

Categories: Off-topic

3 Responses so far.

  1. Ken says:

    Jeff, That’s a lot of resolution to digest for a year so short. I’m glad for the #1 but I think the best part is also 10% play then 90% whatever haha. #2 Hmm how do you measure balance? Like how do you know you have balance diet if you’re still overweight (not you alright)? #3 Hmm Why not create a new option? Carpool! Like a spork, you can sip it with for your favorite sinigang and still shoot those hard to pick fishballs. Drive your own car and pick up passengers ;) #4 Lets jog sometime in Ayala triangle! Oh Thanks for the mail thingy, glad to have a pal that’s both committed to both his work(is that the right word?) and friendship. :)

  2. Yeah, I love the play fund.;)

    For the balancing act, this one provides good insights:

    About the carpool, I will add another option. I tried once at around 9am, I passed by an FX terminal and the people there waiting for the FX to come. I offered some of them to ride with me and just pay me whatever they paid the FX. It’s enough to pay my parking for the whole day!:P

    When do you jog in Ayala triangle? I’ll take you up some time on that offer.:D

  3. [...] Here, I’ll simplify the concept: Get 5 jars (physical jars or separate bank accounts, it’s up to you), one each for your FFA (Financial Freedom Account), LTSS (Long-Term Savings for Spending), Education (seminars or books), Play (leisure fund that you’re gonna empty out every month or two), and Giving (Tithes, charities, etc.). When you get your salary or income, you put 10% of that into each jar. The remaining 50% is for NEC (necessities) and is used for debt payments, food expenses, electricity bill, etc. If you want to know more about each of the jars, you can learn more about them when I wrote about my New Year’s Resolutions for 2011. [...]

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