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Like Wall Street, Making New Year’s Resolutions in October

Now that it’s October, I’d like to initiate a new tradition. Typically, we wait until January to start those dreaded New Year’s resolutions, which inevitably involve working out more and eating less. By mid-January (or February, if we are especially persistent), these resolutions are mostly forgotten. After all, it takes a lot of willpower to stick with something for an entire year, especially if it involves consuming less food.

So, I propose that we do away with our old, daunting, New Year’s resolutions… Instead, as earnings seasons kicks off today, let’s model our resolution revolution (sorry) off the vaunted financial world of Wall Street. As public companies begin reporting their quarterly results, this provides a perfect framework to think about our personal goals. By taking a short-term, myopic outlook, we may actually achieve some of our new “New Year’s” resolutions. So, I present:

My Q4 Resolutions

  1. Inspired by the Dow shedding 800 points at one point on Monday, and the fall launch of my favorite Tuesday TV show, The Biggest Loser, I aim to lose 5 lbs, mostly by working out more, not eating less… OK, I’d also be happy with 3.
  2. Lay off the gum habit… I’m a pack-a-day chewer. I’ll aim for two sticks, max, per day.
  3. Read a new book a month, AND finish Tom Friedman’s The World is Flat, which I’ve been trying to get through for the past two years. By December, I will actually finish it.
  4. Do one cultural activity a month… like go to a museum, national landmark, or nature tour. It will be something that does not involve TV, drinking, or mechanical bulls at Saddle Ranch.
  5. Save more money. As Buffett says: “Be greedy when others are fearful, and fearful when others are greedy.” The market may fall some more, but that extra cash isn’t doing much good under the mattress. If I put it in the market now and wait a few years, maybe I won’t have to work so hard when I’m 30. Or maybe I’ll have lost it all. I’m hoping for the former.

It’s also important to have some easy metrics in which to judge our progress. So, my guidance for Q4 is as follows:

A measuring stick (because this space needed a picture).

Q4 Guidance

  1. Weight: -3 lbs
  2. Cavities: 0
  3. Books read: +4 books
  4. Cultural stuff: +3 experiences
  5. Investments: +5% of income

I could continue this analogy to the point where we’re creating 10-Q progress reports on our weekly weigh-ins, and asking for government assistance in times of book-selecting crises. But, I’ll refrain from contemplating how SEC regulation may impact our jiggly love handles. All I know is that come December, if I don’t hit my numbers, I hope someone will bail me out.

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