Michael’s Musing on New Year Resolutions


Welcome to 2013, the year of the snake!

Already a few weeks old, 2013 has all the makings of a very good year. For a start, the political systems of the three major economic global power blocs (Europe, USA and China) have managed to wriggle their way through some fairly tricky turf and start the new year with a positive outlook on their capacity to make things better.

Global issues as identified by the United Nations

There are always serious issues being faced at a global level. Here is the United Nations version of the more important ones. (click picture to go to the United Nations site)

In Australia, we have had the lower minerals prices at least partially offset by increased soft commodity prices – and the anticipation of further rises in the future as this country consolidates its position as a major supplier of global foodstuffs. Banking the world over is in a materially better position than it was at the start of last year, and changes announced recently will help the banks to keep up their lending into the community by reducing their capital requirements by something like $70 billion. At the individual level, most people are finally seeing a material improvement in their overall net wealth, with super fund returns lifting and house prices showing some signs of life. Add to this the results of the last few years of debt repayments and cash savings consolidation and most people should be beginning to see a more positive future.

So all-in-all, it’s a good start.

What are we going to do to make it even better? Not sure about you but i am not usually into New Year resolutions.

New Year resolutions

Are you really prepared to accept change? (image source: polygon.com)

According to Yahoo’s blog, it takes less than a week for the average survey respondent to break their new year resolutions, so this year i’ve decided to tackle the life changes based on irrelevant calendar events a little differently, by adopting a broad priority for 2013 – and that is, to be a better person.

The philosophically inclined part of my brain shivers at the foolish scope of that statement but it remains my aim. In part, this will involve devoting more time to self-improvement at all levels. There are the obvious points – returning to a more regular fitness routine, become a better cook, reading more, talking less and trying to listen more (quite difficult to an opinionated fellow, i assure you). Less easy to quantify and measure is the desire to spend more time concentrating on issues that matter (interpretation: less focus on the “small stuff”), and less time on things that don’t. More time being creative and less time basking in the glow of creativity by others. There are more aspects to “being a better person” but i won’t bore you with the specifics of my attempts. 

How about you?  I’d love to hear of anyone’s specific New Year resolutions or of changes you have decided to make a start on. To get the sharing process going, here are some of my self-improvement action steps…

Being time deprived, i’ve opted for an online process to get the brain juices flowing. i’ve signed up to the site www.lumosity.com and have started a “training program” to kick-start the brain that generates these musings. Offline, i have returned to my UWA books on critical thinking and philosophy – there’s nothing quite like a good dose of Nietzsche, Schopenhauer or Wittgenstein to get the thinking juices flowing! At home, the drawing pencils are sharpened, and woodworking tools have already taken a bit of a bashing.

On the money side, the focus is on the humble budget. There are many things that can be done to help attain the golden financial goal – make money and save tax with the least possible risk – but one of the best ways is simply to get better at tracking what you already do with what you already have. If you call into the office and i start harrassing you about your spending habits, don’t say you weren’t warned!

i hope you enjoyed time with family and friends over the holiday season, and wish you all the best for the rest of 2013!


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