Setting Successful New Year’s Resolutions

Happy New Year! Time to work on your New Years Resolutions

It’s almost that time of year again – New Year Resolutions! Millions of people around the world are vowing to lose weight, quit smoking, stick to a budget, further their professional development, and more. How many will actually follow through with these changes and resolutions? Probably not many. Have you done this before? Have you made promises to yourself and not kept them? You are not alone. Why does it seem so easy to make changes in our lives, until we actually begin to do the work?

Change is hard. Most of us don’t stop to think about that when we set goals. We start out filled with passion, fire and excitement. We feel invincible and know we can accomplish whatever we desire. We see the glorious outcome of our desires shining before us, and we are determined to make it happen. Then we begin to encounter obstacles along the way. We may struggle halfheartedly through a few of them, but eventually we find ourselves making excuses, procrastinating and losing interest in those same goals we were so excited about before. What happened?

Goal setting involves much more than making a promise to do something. We need to equip ourselves with the right tools and mindset to ensure our success. There are several things we need to think about before we set goals:

Why? – What is your reason for wanting this particular outcome? It’s lofty to want to lose weight or quit smoking, but if you don’t have a clear, strong reason for wanting to do so, you will have no passion to fuel your efforts. What will you gain by making these changes in your life? What will you gain by not making changes? Oh yes, you are gaining something by keeping your bad habits around, or else you would have gotten rid of them long before now. Understand that, and acknowledge it. Be honest with yourself. Be clear about what you really want. Let’s say you want to quit smoking because you want to live a healthier life. Why? What will that do for you? It will improve your quality of life. Okay, why is that important to you? Keep asking yourself “why”, until you get to the “meat” of your desire. Be sure you understand exactly why these goals are important to you, and write it down. You will want to read it over and over again, especially when you feel your resolve crumbling.

Action Goals vs. Results Goals – Most of us make the mistake of setting results-oriented goals, rather than action goals. This is an important distinction. Setting a goal to lose thirty pounds is not a goal at all. It is an outcome. The goal should be to exercise and eat right – which will result in the loss of weight. We need to treat the problem, not the symptom. Make a note of the outcome you want, and then make a list of the actions that will get you there. Then make the actions your goal. Be specific. Rather than setting a goal to “lose weight”, decide how, when, how often, and for how long you will exercise each day. Decide what foods you will eat (or not eat), and how much of them. Set realistic and specific daily goals, and reward yourself when you accomplish them. Each day is an opportunity for victory.

Believe You Deserve It – Many of us struggle with low self-esteem, and feel we don’t really deserve success. Unfortunately, if we don’t believe we deserve it, we will resist it when it arrives. We may do this unconsciously by sabotaging our own efforts, or we may outright refuse to even try. We must first understand and then truly believe that we do deserve success and happiness. In addition, we must be consciously open to receiving it. We’re so good at giving to others, but many of us won’t accept help or blessings for ourselves. Be willing to believe that you deserve to be successful and happy. Then be willing to accept that success when it arrives. Give yourself the gift of better health, inner peace, more organization, a better job – whatever you are striving for in setting your goals. Affirm aloud to the universe each day, “I joyfully accept all of the abundance and success the universe has for me, NOW.” Remember that the more abundance you have, the more you will be able to help others also.

Commitment – One of the greatest secrets of success is simply not giving up. When we look at successful people, they seem to have it so easy. What we usually don’t see are the years of hard work, dedication and commitment that got them to where they are today. Many of them struggled through massive obstacles and setbacks, sometimes having to start all over again repeatedly. Are you that committed to your goals? Will you persevere no matter what? Make a promise to yourself that you will continue working toward your goals, even if you aren’t seeing the progress you hoped for. Be willing to work hard and continue working hard, even when – especially when – the going gets rough. When obstacles arise, fuel your persistence with positive thoughts and keep moving forward. Let your determination glow hot and bright, and burn away all doubts and fears. Don’t beat yourself up if you make mistakes, simply get up and begin moving forward again.

Patience – Forming new habits takes time and practice. The good news is that countless people have proven it can be done. If they can do it, you can do it too. Give it your best effort, but don’t expect perfection from yourself. You may stumble and fall; you may grow weary of the battle. However, remember that anything worthwhile takes effort. Your goals and dreams are worth fighting for, no matter how fierce the battle, no matter how long it takes.

Most importantly, believe in yourself. Believe that you have the skills, ability and determination to make your dreams (and your resolutions) come true. That, above all else, will guarantee your success.

Wendy Betterini is a freelance writer specializing in self-improvement and personal development concepts. Visit her website, http://www.WingsForTheHeart.com for articles on positive thinking, goal-setting, self-esteem, personal growth, and more.

Why Year End is the Best Time to Use CMA, by Kim Lamberty, CAE

These are some things CMA president Kim Lamberty does at year end.

As a credit manager, I am not sure there is any time of the year that is “slow”, especially not year end.  There is always an account that needs attention, money to be collected, training that needs to occur, etc.  However, as we roll into the holidays, I like to take the time to file the piles of paper on my desk and organize the never ending emails so I can be ready to go into the New Year. I also use the time to think about the year that has passed and what I should be doing in the next year to be more successful. This goes for both my personal and professional development.

I visit the website of my professional association to make sure I’m using the resources available to me, which I know I can usually do in about 30 minutes. With technology changing everything so fast these days, I’m sure I missed things that they offer throughout the year because I’ve been busy.

I take the time to look at the education that’s available and sign up for one or two classes to make sure I’m staying current in my job knowledge. I find it’s best to do it at this time of the year since it helps me set goals and objectives for the coming year. Using the same logic, this time of the year is a great time for you to think about 2018 and whether you were successful in achieving your credit goals, and was CMA helpful to you during this journey.  Are you happy with the credit reporting solutions you’ve chosen? CMA’s friendly staff can help you evaluate your current solution to help you assess whether you’re using the best product for your company’s needs.

Professional development in a changing profession like credit is also extremely important. Have you checked out CMA’s education offerings lately? In 2018, CMA conducted more than 30 webinars and seminars at an affordable price point, and many of those are available on demand in topics such as credit card surcharging, terms and policies, lien laws, factoring, and my favorite around this time of the year, stress management. Year end is a great opportunity to review the offerings from the past year and the upcoming year at the same time.

It’s also a great opportunity to review anscers to see if any of your accounts have been reported as past due, slowing or NSF. Again, here’s a great opportunity to call CMA staff to help walk you through the site to make sure you’re using it to its full capability.

I also make a concerted effort to remind the CMA team and our customers about how important they are to me.  This gives me a great segue to say that, on behalf of CMA and our team, we wish you the happiest of holidays and thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continued support as we strive for a great 2019!

A Time to Reflect at New Year, by Tracy Rosenbach

Happy New Year’s everyone!

January is a natural time for reflection and goal setting. Professionally, this is the time when I like to take a look back at the previous year to see how I can improve on what we accomplished last year. From there, I begin to develop goals for myself and the department. I am always looking for ways in which to make the flow of work go more smoothly, payments especially at year end to be made on time, etc… I find that communication and organization are two of the most important keys to success.

Nothing can replace the personal touch when it comes to working with high-risk and key customers, one of my goals each year involves developing a list of customers to visit. Normally the list has no more than 10 – 15 names on it to keep the focus on those customers which can materially impact my company. Some of these customers are within driving distance, which minimizes the expense. Some I will have to fly to, but I try to combine it with a conference/seminar/meeting in order to get the most out of the trip. Making that personal contact with the customer can open up the lines of communication in many ways. When I am visiting a customer, I try to meet as many key personnel as possible from the CFO and/or controller to the Purchasing Manager. I always represent myself as yet another point of contact/resource for our customers. Years ago, I had a customer call to ask me a freight question involving a delivery. Normally I don’t handle this type of question, but I took down the information and rather than transfer the customer around the company I found out who could answer the question and put the two parties in touch. The personal touch is invaluable.

I also look for ways to better streamline our credit operations, making sure that our processes are as efficient as possible with the technology that’s available, and that we’re using the correct reporting resources to meet our needs and provide data to make effective credit decisions. When’s the last time you evaluated your credit reporting solutions? If it’s been more than a year, I suggest you do it again soon.

As you head into the New Year take a moment to reflect about 2016 – the successes and the failures – and how you and your department can improve. You are not alone by any means. CMA provides the means for networking (industry groups, the annual meeting, etc.), information exchange (the type of credit reports you need and the information exchanged through RFIs, alerts and credit groups), collection of tough accounts (collection services), etc… Please reach out to the CMA staff for any assistance you may need to ensure that your company’s credit operations run as smoothly as possible in 2017 and going forward. Remember, CMA exists as a partner to help your credit department accomplish its goals. Don’t forget to include CMA in your success plans for 2017 and beyond.

Have a happy and healthy 2017! I’ll touch base in February.

Tracy Rosenbach

CMA Chairperson 2016/2017

How Can You Give Back to the Association, and Get Something in Return?, by Melissa Kobus, CCE

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com
Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chair and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com

I find that the more you give the more you get back.  Sometimes it’s obvious, sometimes it’s in smaller increments.  In the credit world however, sometimes it can be hard to give.  You never know if your customer will send the payment your way, if the sales rep will get that RA or credit issued.  If you give too much, will you be able to meet your objectives?  Well, I have found a way to give back to CMA and its members that actually helps me to be more comfortable with my credit decisions.

Anixter has been a long-standing member with CMA.  We had always participated in the credit industry groups, submitting accounts for discussion and being involved.  In the last 5 years or so, we started to submit our aging too.  It was a great decision!  We are able to have our data available monthly for the members to pull electronically.  Having fresh data is so important in making an informed decision.

I download a report the first week of the month and submit it to the CMA data group.  They do all the rest.  They make sure the data gets into the anscers system quickly.  All members who pull a credit report from CMA have the immediate data at their finger tips.  If someone pulls an RFI, they will see the trade line from that month.  It is great!

I am making a call to action for all CMA members in 2015!  Start the New Year off by giving back to the association: submit your aging!  It is simple to submit the report in an Excel, CSV or tab delimited form. Simply send it via email at lwong@emailcma.org.   When you give to CMA, you will reap the rewards tenfold.  You will be able to make a solid credit decision and you will be helping other credit professionals too!

Melissa Kobus, CCE, is the Credit Management Association Chairman and Regional Credit Manager for Anixter Inc., based in Anaheim, CA. She can be reached at 714-695-2219, or melissa.kobus@anixter.com.