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New Years Resolutions? To Keep Them, Know Your “Why”!

By Libby Banks, the Law Office of Libby Banks, PLLC, Estate Planning
The Law Office of Libby Banks > Estate Planning  > New Years Resolutions? To Keep Them, Know Your “Why”!

New Years Resolutions? To Keep Them, Know Your “Why”!

If you’re like me, December is a time to think about New Year’s resolutions. This year I want to keep my resolutions, instead of abandoning them all before January is over. How to do that? I asked my fitness trainer, Janet McConnell, whose book Elements of Aging Well: Wisdom from My Journey So Far is now available on Amazon. She says the way to stay motivated is to dig deep and find the “Why” behind your goal.

Your resolution: exercise regularly. Your plan: get up at six a.m. and get to the gym every weekday. But when the alarm goes off, the air is chilly and the bed is warm, hitting the snooze button sounds better. How to get yourself moving? Remember your “why.” Why are you exercising? To keep up with your grandchildren, to live a longer life, or to make yourself feel more attractive?

Digging deeper into that “why” will make the difference between getting up to exercise and staying in bed. Why do you want to keep up with your grandchildren? Perhaps to avoid being left on the park bench or at home when the family heads for a fun activity. The “why” for staying healthy and living a long life? Perhaps it’s to be here to support your children, to be fit to travel, to enjoy the fruits of your labors. Looking good? The deeper why might be to find your true love, start a family and have a happily ever after. Keeping the “why” of your goal in mind is crucial to succeeding when the going gets tough.

If one of your goals is to create or update your estate plan, here are some “whys” and some tips to get it done in the new year.

  1. It gives you peace of mind! You know you need to put some kind of plan in place. When you have done so, it will be a big load off your mind.
  2. It protects you if you are incapacitated. If you can’t handle your finances or make healthcare decisions, your plan assures that the people you select can step in to care for you.
  3. It shows your family you love them. When you die, it will be a huge loss for your family. You show them that you love them by making sure you don’t leave a mess behind. It’s agonizing for your heirs to deal with your estate when there is no proper plan.
  4. It helps maintain family harmony. If you’ve set out your wishes in a proper plan, the chances of family arguments or drama are greatly diminished. Knowing what your wishes are helps to eliminate fights.


Next a few tips on taking the steps that will get it done:

1. Be specific and break down the steps. A friend in my networking group often says, “be specific to be terrific.” If you set a goal that is too big or vague, it can be hard to get started. For estate planning, the big goal is having a will or trust in place. Breaking it down, a specific goal may be to research attorneys and then call to make an appointment, to buy a book on estate planning and read it, or to ask friends who they used for their planning.

2. Write it down or put it on the “to do” list. We’ve all heard that written goals have more power and are more likely to come to fruition. For estate planning, put on your list the steps you are going to take, or put a reminder note on your computer or phone about what you plan to do to move forward with the goal.

3. Pick a start date and make time for your goal. We are all so busy, a year can go by before you’ve done a single thing to move toward your goal. Getting an estate plan in place will take time, but maybe not as much as you think. Set a deadline to talk this over with your spouse or children, a date you will have your research complete, and a deadline to call the attorney.

4. Anticipate the obstacles. My clients often face obstacles in estate planning. For parents with young children, finding a guardian to name can be a near impossible task. My clients with young adult beneficiaries who aren’t yet old enough to serve as executors or trustees, it can be a struggle to decide who will be in charge of their estate on incapacity or death. Know that all of these issues can be worked through. Selecting an experienced attorney who has addressed these same issues with other clients can really help. Don’t let your uncertainty about some aspect of the estate planning waylay you. The answers may be easier to find with discussion and guidance from someone experienced with estate planning.

5. Give yourself a reward. Rewards and celebrations give us the encouragement and motivation to keep moving toward accomplishing your goal. If you make that estate planning appointment, maybe you can plan a date night or afternoon movie after the appointment as an award. The reward for getting the estate plan in place might be to sit down and finally really plan that trip to Hawaii or overseas.

A first step to getting your will or trust in place can be to learn more by booking a free initial consultation or 10-point review of your current plan with our office. Call us at 602-375-6752 or visit our website at www.libbybanks.com .

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