New-year-resolutionsResolutions are made to be broken.

But is that true? If you are like the other 99% of the population, then you will break your resolutions. So what are these resolutions?

  1. You will get your Income Tax return done two months earlier in 2015. 6% fewer people completed their Income Tax return in the first six months of 2014 than in 2013. Did you know that if you complete your Income Tax return early, the tax still does not have to be paid until 31st October 2015 (or 15th November 2015 if you are on ROS)? You also have the advantage of knowing how much the tax is and then planning for it. If you are due a refund then why not get it back early?
  2. Getting your 2014 accounts done by 28th February 2015. Sole traders and others who have to do up accounts have a propensity to put it on the long finger. Unfortunately it has to be done at some time. The advantage in doing it early is that when you notice that debit figure for 15th February 2014 you have a better chance of remembering what it was for than trying to remember 18 months later. Develop a method of keeping all receipts for payments and writing down cash transactions in a single place or notebook. Also issuing receipts for work done can be a good way of recording cash received for work.
  3. Work out a household budget. This is tedious but it does help to see where all your money goes. Mr Micawber’s (from David Copperfield) famous, and oft-quoted, recipe for happiness: “Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen [pounds] nineteen [shillings] and six [pence], result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds and six [pence], result misery.”   Knowing where the money goes helps to see where overspending occurs, or some things which are non-essential luxuries.
  4. Compare the renewal cost of car insurance / house insurance / health insurance / TV service provider / mobile phone provider / gas or electricity provider.  We tend to put this off because it is tedious. But it can make savings into the €100s. Try http://www.askcomreg.ie, http://www.consumerhelp.ie/ , http://www.bonkers.ie, http://www.callcosts.ie, http://www.uswitch.ie/gas-electricity/, and http://www.freetocompare.ie for aids to comparing prices. Also try insurance brokers. One insurance broker sent me out a car insurance renewal quote of €X and writes to tell me to phone them for a better quote!
  5. Create a pension plan. Many companies do not provide pension plans now. If you do not have a pension plan then the time to start is now. No matter how much you save, it is more than if you saved nothing. Companies are obliged by law to have a pension provider who they recommend. Either contact them or contact any of the insurance companies and they will be delighted (!) to give you a quote. But get other quotes too. Be careful about what funds your money is invested in. Do not put 100% all into the one fund. I know someone who diversified their funds between many companies but all in the financial sector and then 2008 came along…
  6. Do well in your company. There are two ways to do this. (1) Shoot the opposition (metaphorically speaking). Bad mouth them. Stab them in the back (not physically) whenever possible. Use every opportunity to show them up in a bad light. (2) Study for the position. Help other workers. Jesus said: “In everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.” (Matthew 7:12). You will find that what goes around comes around. If you bad mouth others, you too will suffer. If you do good to others, you too will benefit.
  7. Have a complete health check. The reason why this will not be done is (a) lethargy; (b) no need – you are in fine health; (c) you are afraid of what will be found; (d) you do not want the doctor telling you to lose weight / get more exercise. You will only get a health check if you see a cost / benefit, either financial or energy wise or living longer. Of course, if there is a hereditary disease in the family, all the more reason for going for a health check. By the way, you get tax relief on the cost.
  8. Spend more time with the family or friends. I expect you will have heard it said that on your deathbed you will not be saying “I wish I had spent more time at my workplace.” Too many people are workaholics without knowing it. If you have children look back over the years and see how fast the years have gone. Take photographs of your family over the years. Create memories of good times because that is what lasts.
  9. Get the garden under control. How mundane can you get? Yet life is made up of a lot of small routine every-day things which if not carried out affect our quality of life. Your life will not fall apart if the garden has weeds in it. But if the garden is well presented, or the car is cleaned, or the clothes put away instead of living on the floor or a chair, then your life is made that much more pleasurable.
  10. Finally, be a better husband / wife / father / mother / son / daughter / friend. This is about relationship. You cannot build relationship without investing time into it. You cannot choose your family. They have been given to you. Your family can be your best supporters in life, your best cheer-leaders, the ones who take the most interest in you. Do the same with them. Life is too short to hold grudges. Regarding your friends, you choose your friends – so choose wisely. They can have a significant influence in your life. Most men have few real friends. Treasure them. They are precious. Nurture friends. And in each of these relationships, give away happiness, and you will find that this, too, rebounds on you!

Happy New Year and every blessing in 2015.