Question: Hi Rose. I read an article of yours a couple of years back regarding Family Goal Setting. I tried to do this on my own. Specifically, one New Year’s resolution was to save and invest regularly. Unfortunately, I missed out on some months because of several reasons. Sometimes I wonder, “Do I lack the willpower to do it?” I want to try it again this 2018. Any tips? – Riza via FQ Mom Page PM
Answer: Hi RIza. Happy New Year! Hindi ka nag-iisa (you are not alone) when it comes to unfulfilled New Year’s resolutions. In fact, this is the reason why a lot of people don’t bother to come up with resolutions anymore. They feel that they will just fail in fulfilling them, so what for?
But to me, to think that way is to give up on living your dream life just because you are human! We should embrace our humanity – both our strengths and weaknesses. And try to work with and around them.
In my last two articles and FQwentuhan, I mentioned the power of a clean slate. Instead of brooding on the thought that we will not accomplish all our 2018 goals, let’s work with the optimism that goes with the reset button of the new year.
You mentioned doubting your willpower. Usually, when we see someone who consistently does the right thing, we attribute it to his will power, “He can resist temptations. He’s a disciplined person with willpower!” Then once we look at ourselves and count the number of times we fail to resist temptation, we label ourselves as someone with no willpower.
I have good news for you. It’s not a matter of being it or not (i.e. being a person with willpower or a person without willpower). Willpower is a resource, a finite resource that we have to manage.
In gist, what Behavioral Scientists call ego is not the self-centered “It’s all about me” kind of ego. Ego is used here in the psychological sense, which is the organized and critical part of thinking that balances our physical desires and moralistic aspirations.
Ego Depletion refers to the idea that yes, we all have willpower or self-control but this draws upon a mental resource. As in any resource, this is also limited that can be used up; hence, our ability to make rational decisions is a limited resource that can be drained by decision overload and extreme fatigue.
So go back to the times when you failed to fulfill your 2017 goals. Was your ego depleted during the times you made critical decisions that made you unable to restrain yourself, resulting in poor choices?
When you make your 2018 resolutions, I suggest you come up with an accompanying design that will make it easier for you to accomplish your goals.
For instance, your goal to save and invest regularly can be fulfilled with the proper design. The number one design for this goal is to automate your saving and investing. Enroll in easy investment programs that are available. It can be done with your payroll account contributing to the bank’s available investment vehicles such as UITFs (Unit Investment Trust Funds), or enrolling your payroll account with a fund supermarket. As for me, it is with the Fund Source of COL Financial that I use. This platform carries over 90% of all the mutual funds in the market today so you can take your pick. Even for my son’s allowance, I don’t give the entire amount to him, as the percentage he decided to save every month is already automatically credited to his investment account. Enrolling in an automatic investment vehicle requires just one action from you. Once in place, investing is done automatically, eliminating the chances of not investing on a payday.
That is the power of design Riza. Every payday, it wouldn’t matter whether your willpower is at its all time high level or your ego is totally depleted because of fatigue or some other negative experience or excuses. Your goal to save and invest will regularly be implemented. Isn’t that great?
So that’s my advice to you and everyone out there reading this and are thinking of ways to accomplish their 2018 goals.
If your goal is about healthy diet, make sure your refrigerator and pantry do not have those unhealthy options anymore. Maybe a cheat day during the weekend will do, but don’t bring them home anymore so they become less accessible.
In terms of fitness, try to make it easy that you won’t have to depend on your willpower reserve each time you exercise. If it is running for you and you want to do it first thing in the morning, a good design is to put your running shoes where your slippers are at night. Maybe you can even put on your socks and running outfit (if you don’t mind sleeping in them) so all you have to do is get up, put on your shoes which are right there and start running, before your mind comes up with an alibi to skip exercise.
The use of consequences for missed sessions may also work well.
For your other goals, just add a design that can make it easy for you. Plus, for important decisions that you cannot automate, make sure that your willpower reserve is at its optimum level so that there is enough mental resource to draw from to make the rational choice.
Cheers to a great 2018!
- Starting today my article will come out every other week. Same with the FQwentuhan. This is to give way to the “deep work” I need for some important projects – some of them are unaccomplished 2017 goals. ? (See Riza, hindi ka nag-iisa!) So I’m altering the “design” of my weekdays to finally accomplish these important projects. But I will still be around on a weekly basis – article this week, FQwentuhan next week, and so on. Once things normalize, I will go back to “regular programming.” ? Thanks for being with me regularly.
- Watch our next FQwentuhan on January 18, 2018, an interesting interview with the Alvin Lao of D&L Industries (stock code: DNL), voted 2017 Best CEO in the Philippines by Institutional Investor, a New York based publication.
- Marvin and I will speak about Living a Brighter Life after Preparing Ahead on January 12, 2017 in Frabelle Business Center, Makati. Registration starts at 12:30 PM.
- Want to know your FQ Score? Take it today. Click link to take the test. http://tinyurl.com/FQTest
Rose Fres Fausto is a speaker and author of bestselling books Raising Pinoy Boys and The Retelling of The Richest Man in Babylon (English and Filipino versions). Click this link to read samples – Books of FQ Mom Rose. She is a Behavioral Economist, Certified Gallup Strengths Coach and the grand prize winner of the first Sinag Financial Literacy Digital Journalism Awards. Follow her on Facebook and You Tube as FQ Mom, and Twitter & Instagram as theFQMom.
ATTRIBUTIONS: Images from Sevell, PKtrend, Photo4Design, Atraiga el éxito, DawnDelvecchio, More-Cliparts, iStock, Shutterstock, and Pinterest used to help deliver the message of the article.