As we flip the calendar to the year 2024, many of us have a new resolution or two we plan to accomplish. Whether that resolution is one to do better, learn more, take on new hobbies, or something else, we can’t deny that there’s always something inspiring and powerful about starting a new year.
But where does the tradition of New Year’s resolutions actually come from?
The origin of New Year’s resolutions
Most countries in the world use the same calendar – the Gregorian calendar, a reformed version of the Julian calendar, which was in turn based on the Roman calendar.
This is important to New Year's and resolutions because what we know as the month of “January” got its name from the Roman god Janus. Janus, according to mythology, was a literal two-faced god. One face looked forward towards new beginnings, and the other looked backward towards reflection and resolution.
To start off the New Year celebrations on a positive note and honour this god as well, people would often make promises to pay off debts, return farm equipment, or be on better behaviour.
Those promises are what we call “resolutions” today.
What are some common resolutions?
Most people don’t make resolutions around returning farm equipment anymore. Nowadays, common resolutions revolve around health and wellness, career advancement, and personal development.
According to a recent survey from Sun Life, the most common resolutions for this year are:
- Exercise more
- Reduce stress
- Have a healthier diet
- Read more books
- Get more organized
But in addition to these resolutions, many people also make financial resolutions. From budgeting more efficiently, starting a savings account for your children, or thinking about your estate plan, financial planning and organization are becoming even more important in 2024.
The #1 financial resolution of 2024
We recently asked Canadians about their financial resolution for 2024. And the #1 goal? Creating or updating a will!
When planning your finances, it's essential to consider the long-term and address matters that impact not only your life but the well-being of your loved ones as well. Estate planning plays a big part in that, which is why taking the first step and making or updating your will is so important.
Plus, making a will addresses two other common resolutions; relieving stress about your future and becoming more organized with your legal documents and assets.
Why resolutions are important
The act of setting goals and visualizing the benefits motivates us to take action. The satisfaction we get from achieving the resolutions we make on New Year’s reinforces positive behaviour and fosters a sense of control over our lives.
It feels amazing to check off a to-do you’ve been thinking about for a long time. It feels even better when that to-do is something important to you, like looking after your loved ones and creating your estate plan.
The importance of creating a will
Despite its undeniable importance, making a will is something many of us put off doing. In our survey of Canadian parents last year, 47% acknowledged that they tend to put off tasks that force them to think about their own passing.
But when you make a will and an estate plan, you relieve a weight off your shoulders. Completing this important legal document gives you peace of mind that your final wishes have been documented, your dependents will be looked after, and your affairs are all in order.
Plus, including power of attorney documents as part of your estate plan ensures that if anything were to happen in the future, your best interests would be overseen by someone you chose yourself, who you trust to make financial and health decisions when you cannot.
How to create a will with Willful
Making a will with Willful is easy, affordable, and convenient. You can complete your resolution to make one from the comfort of your own home in just 20 minutes!
Here are the steps you’ll go through while making your will:
- Choose your executor, the person who will execute the wishes outlined in your will
- Select your beneficiaries, the people or organizations you want to gift your assets to
- Pick a guardian to assume responsibility for any dependent children and any pets
- List your funeral and burial wishes
- Print your will and get it signed and witnessed
- Store your will in a safe place
And just like that, your will is complete!
The best practice is to update your will every few years, or whenever you have a major life change like moving provinces, buying property, or adding new members to your family.
You can easily update your will in Willful by logging in, navigating to the edit section, making your desired changes, and then printing off the new version! Remember that you’ll need to sign and witness it again to make the updated will legal.
Start completing your resolutions today
Many of us put off estate planning, but the New Year is a great time to renew our commitment to getting organized in all aspects of our lives. This year, let's make estate planning a priority and commit to a resolution that’s important to both ourselves and our loved ones.