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“New Year’s resolutions are also part of the obsessive-compulsive defense of undoing.  Tradition offers us the opportunity to abandon old habits as if they never existed.”

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How to Make and Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions

The practice of making New Year’s resolutions has existed for hundreds of years.  The practice is related to the winter solstice and the process of rebirth.  With the driving away of darkness (Winter), there is a recognition that the cycle is moving towards Spring, renewal, and rebirth.  With this comes the hope of arising anew, abandoning old bad habits.

New Year’s resolutions are also part of the obsessive-compulsive defense of undoing.  Tradition offers us the opportunity to abandon old habits as if they never existed.

The difficulty is that seldom are people able to keep their resolutions.  One reason for this (and for many the main reason) is that unrealistic resolutions are made.  This gives momentary satisfaction but sets the person up for repeated failure.  Therefore, when making resolutions, much thought should be given to setting a realistic goal.  The added essential ingredient to a successful resolution is commitment.  To accomplish this, confine your list of resolutions to one.  To change a habit or to alter basic character, takes tremendous resolve.  Recognize the step you are taking and give it a high priority.

If you break a resolution, treat it as a setback and not as a failure. Take any gains or partial successes as a new opportunity. Do not be afraid of telling others about your resolution. The support of others will help you.

What about helpful investment resolutions?

Consider the following:

Now, remember the beginning of this article.  Realistic resolutions and commitment are the two ingredients to successful resolutions.  Thus, when considering our suggestions, start with one or two. This way you will set yourself up for success, not failure.


John W. Schott, M.D., Portfolio Manager

John W. Schott, M.D. is a Portfolio Manager at The Colony Group. A value-oriented investor, nationally recognized for his expertise in the psychology of investing, Dr. Schott has been a frequent guest expert in the media. Dr. Schott authored an investment book, Mind Over Money, is an active lecturer on the psychology of investing and is co-chairman of Harvard University’s annual Congress on the Psychology of Investing. Now a retired psychiatrist, he was the Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at the Metro West Hospital in Natick, Mass., taught at Harvard Medical School, and was President of Psychservices, PC, in Natick. In 1975, Dr. Schott became a diplomat of the American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and Harvard Medical School.

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