You may have noticed that I publish articles on planning from time to time. In a response to one of them, Yaman made what I think is an interesting and important observation.
How you name something affects how you relate to it. That can affect how New Year Resolutions play out. Most fail despite the need and the resolve.
Naming matters. For many years I have encouraged people to refrain from using the term “budget” as being too rigid. Failing to make budget is very negative. But the budget is wrong at least as often as the outcome and so the feeling of failure is frequently unwarranted. Prefer to call it a short term financial plan. Plans are more interactive. Plans evolve as events change.
Yaman extends it further. There is a form that he calls “intention.” Intention is more strategic and in the beginning includes no specific method. The motivation is the idea, not the tools that will create the result. That is a clearly advantageous place to begin. Even if the first iteration of “the plan” fails, the intention remains.
Intention is about meaning rather than technique. It declares intuitively that you cannot fail until you drop your intention. How powerful is that?
Intention does not limit the number of ways to attack the problem. Edison designed and built more than 1,000 light bulbs that did not work. It is unreasonable to believe the first try must be the answer.
On New Year’s Eve many make resolutions. Perhaps a New Year’s intention together with the first iteration of a plan to implement it would be better.
Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is now with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario.