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Episode 178: New Year’s Intentions and Traditions

Episode 178: New Year’s Intentions and Traditions


In this episode, we look at the most common New Year’s resolutions, different ways to stay motivated and committed to your New Year’s resolutions, and what the outlook for the economy is in 2023.


Happy New Year!


It’s 2023, and just like every other year people are making their New Year’s resolutions, but what resolutions is everyone making? Are they really following their resolutions? And how do you stay motivated towards your resolutions anyway?


In this episode, I explain how to stay motivated toward your goals, make some predictions for how the economy will go in 2023, and share some lucky financial traditions from around the world.


“The bad news is time flies and the good news is you’re the pilot. So step up, jump in the pilot seat and take control as time is flying by.” – Ben Jones

Time Stamps:

01:15 – The top 10 most common New Year’s resolutions.

01:45 – How many people are successful with their resolutions.

02:25 – How to be successful with your resolutions.

03:26 – Ways to stay motivated towards your goals.

04:30 – Why you need to be specific with your goals.

06:00 – The most prevalent economic predictions for 2023.

07:20 – The positive outlook for the economy in 2023.

09:05 – Different names for money and some lucky financial traditions.





Connect with Ben Jones:


Welcome back to Money with Mak & G, what a wonderful time of year.  We had a great visit from Santa, and he must’ve not been watching us closely all year.  I got way more gifts than I expected, and I think the kids did too.  I love my hand massager, but am a little concerned why I got a hair trimmer.  I guess it’s time to embrace the fact that hair starts growing everywhere as you get older. Mak received several crafty items and Grant got the parts to a new computer that he’ll put together. Plus, the wife got a little jewelry.  SCORE!!

2022 was an interesting year, and here comes 2023 whether you want it to come or not.  Our family lost a friend from Chicago on Christmas, which continues to remind us that there is no time to waste.  

I saw this quote yesterday, and I thought it was insightful, so here goes:

The bad news is time flies. The good news is you’re the pilot.

So, step up and jump in the pilot’s seat and take control as time is flying by.  So what do people want to focus on in the new year.  Any idea of the top 10 resolutions for the new year?  I took a look around and found the following, and I can believe these are what many of us focus on.

  1. Exercise more

  2. Lose weight

  3. Get organized

  4. Learn a new skill or hobby 

  5. Live life to the fullest

  6. Save more money / spend less money

  7. Quit smoking

  8. Spend more time with family and friends

  9. Travel more

  10. Read more

I’m betting a couple of those are in some way, shape or form are on your list.  Who doesn’t like #6 about money? Always a favorite.  So do you make resolutions?  What do you have to lose?  I thought it was interesting that fewer than ½ of resolutions are successful, but hopefully that doesn’t get you down, because without an actual resolution, it’s less than 5% successful.  So, you have 10 times more possible success with getting the resolution out there.  And, I found it’s the same with money and making strides with your financial situation.

We did an animated video some time ago called “Getting Money Motivated”. It was only a couple minutes about how to get going, and the important steps to move yourself forward.  You can find it on the YouTube EduCounting channel. It reminded me of this article I found about New Year’s resolutions because it was very similar.

The first was to mentally prepare yourself. In this instance, think about what you did in 2022, identify your progress and what threw you off course.  Once off course, really think about how you get back on course.  If you spent too much, was it because of going out to eat with friends, do you have a back up plan like suggesting a get together at someone’s home to do a little cooking with adult beverages.  If you were going to start exercising, it’s sometimes hard to go alone.  If you have a workout partner, they can encourage you to go when you may not feel like it.  Plus, there’s no use in being negative.  A positive attitude is huge.  Hey, no one, and I mean no one is perfect each time.  Isn’t it the famous basketball player Michael Jordan who said he missed over 9,000 shots during his career? LOSER!!

Having a picture in your mind of the goal you wish to hit is also big.  Thinking about how good you’ll look when you lose that weight.  How you’ll feel when you’ve exercised and you can keep up with the kids because you’re more energetic.  Or saving for that trip to Maui or maybe a new Tesla.  Does it really motivate you?  If not, you probably won’t get very far. I love being free. Money does that for me. It motivates me and is a wonderful feeling.  Having a little extra saved on the side is powerful in my mind.

I know we want to be successful, so limiting the number of goals is important.  We all want to learn 20 new Excel skills (ok…maybe that’s just me), travel to 6 countries, lose 30 lbs, speak Japanese, take a photography course, change jobs and more.  But it’s time to focus on just a couple. Maybe you could do your first budget this year, or review your spending each month.  Can you raise your retirement contribution?  Hey, if you put too many goals out there, you lose focus and it puts additional stress on you which tends to lead me to dropping it and just quitting. 

Specific goals are seen to yield better results.  Learning a language is one thing, but learning how to order a meal and take a taxi in French by March of next year is much more specific.  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time sensitive goals are best.  Those are called S-M-A-R-T goals. Google it, and use it.  You’ll be glad you did.

Don’t forget to break your goal down into smaller bite-sized pieces.  Maybe in week 1 you practice saying “Hello, how are you?  What’s your name?” in French, then you move to learning 3 verbs the next week.  Breaking things into pieces sounds more doable.  How do you eat an elephant, one bite at a time. 

There are also a couple other tips that include:

  1. Write your goals down, it’s powerful and becomes real.

  2. Share your goals with others, and they can help keep you on track by giving support.

  3. Review your goals regularly to keep them top of mind.

  4. When you make a mistake and fall off track, forgive yourself and get back to work.

Think about making a resolution or two, if you weren’t thinking about it already. Here are two quotes, I thought were kind of fun…

Every year you make a resolution to change yourself. This year, make a resolution to be yourself.

David Bowie-I don’t know where I’m going from here, but I promise it won’t be boring.

As we look toward 2023 and speak about money, we have to think about the general economy, because it’s such a huge part of all of our financial lives. I’m sure everyone is seeing all kinds of predictions. The most prevalent is that a recession is coming next year.  That’s scary. It means things slow down and investments usually take a hit along with jobs and overall optimism.  As of right now, and I’m rounding the numbers for simplicity, the Dow is down 10% this year, the S&P is down 20% and the NASDAQ is down around 30%.  The big companies held their ground the best, the S&P as a representation of the general economy was second and the tech sector got hurt the most.  

Yes, it does feel scary, but even the experts don’t always get their predictions right.  I remember sitting through a presentation at a financial conference years ago about how often the experts are wrong.  It was comedic. Experts know a lot, but the problem always seems to be that there are so many unknowns, like the war in Ukraine that make things extremely difficult to forecast.  I ran across an article over the last week that I thought was interesting. I consider myself a realist, but there is some confusing data out there. And, this article was a bit more positive.  It said that:

The economy is still showing robust consumer spending which is expected to continue while inflation is likely to continue to trend lower.  Overall, there are forecasts that show growth in business profitability during 2023. In addition, with the current shortage of labor, there is an expectation that through the use of data, outsourcing will increase. There are very attractive valuations in the stock markets, as well as for fixed income, like bonds and alternative investments.  

Ok, that’s a lot.  Overall, what we spend is a big part of the economy, and if it’s strong, that’s good.  Inflation is generally bad, so if prices go back down, that makes things more affordable for all of us.  And, if businesses continue to make money and grow, that means more spending by them, like putting up a building or hiring more people. And, since there are less people looking for jobs, companies will try to find ways to fill the gap. Don’t forget that stocks are cheaper now, which generally means it’s a great time to buy. So, if you haven’t looked at your investments it may be a great time to make some adjustments. 

Ok, as the New Year approaches, I took a look at some New Year’s traditions related to money. 

Hogmanay, if I’m saying it right, is Scotland’s New Year’s eve and it’s best to clean your house from top to bottom as you say goodbye to the past and look forward to the future. You want a fresh new perspective and let all the new opportunities come your way.  But, it’s said that it’s bad to come into the new year with debts.  That might be an issues.  Having a mortgage is tricky, but you should try to get rid of those credit card bills!!

I know we have lots of words for money, including:

Bacon, Benjamins, Bank, Bean, Benjis, Bread and Bucks, and that’s just for the letter “B”.  But, our Irish friends like to literally bang BREAD on the walls and doors of their house to rid it of bad luck and bring in the good luck.  It will ensure the home is full of bread in the new year, and not the kind made of flour….

Hey, do you like dots? Then it’s the time to pull out that polka-dot covered sweater, pair of shorts, and maybe a shirt or dress.  The roundness of dots is all about prosperity in the Philippines, so fill your pockets with a huge handful of round coins, and scatter them generously throughout the house.  It’s no time to break tradition if you want a little financial help in the New Year.  Plus, manage your spending in January, as they believe it sets the tone for your financial success the rest of the year. That sounds like a winner, and you might want to put that one in place.

Now, if you really want to cross cultural norms, take the polka dot and add a little Latin American flare with a pair of yellow underwear with polka-dots.  That’s because Latin America loves yellow underwear as a sign of wealth and prosperity.  If you wear red underwear, that’s for passion and love.  Maybe yellow and red underwear will show your passion and love of wealth!!!

Ok, I’ve seen this in a couple countries who love to snarf down a grape for each stroke of the clock at midnight.  That’s 12 in total. People can practice for weeks to make sure they’re fast enough, don’t gag or throw up or whatever. You might be surprised at how quick each chime happens. Then, wash it down with some sparkling wine, called Cava and you’ve set yourself up for some prosperity in the New Year in Spain.

I’ll have to admit I never did this when living in Switzerland for New Year’s but I may have done it on another day.  It’s dropping an ice cream to create abundance and good fortune in the New Year.  You heard me.  Drop that cone full of ice cream.  Make sure it’s a good one that’s rich and creamy.  Supposedly you can choose anything you like from Oreo Cookie to Rocky Road and anything in between.  And, you can guess who REALLY benefits from this unusual tradition. It’s the hairy animal sort that we walk daily who doesn’t have a lactose intolerance.  Fido has to love New Year’s day in Switzerland, but I bet the street cleaners don’t.

Happy New Year to you and your family.  Here’s to a prosperous 2023 full of money, great memories and good health.  Don’t forget to pay your debts, bang your bread, wear your polka-dots, yellow underwear, eat your grapes and drop a cone or two.  Thanks for being here and we’ll see you next time for more Money with Mak & G.

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