Your New Year’s Resolution Starts with a Phone Call (or email).

The holiday season is a time of great religious and economic significance. And even in our busy lives, it is a time for reflection. For many of us, the fruits of our reflection are our annual resolutions: to become healthier, to spend more time with family, to finally watch “The Wire” (or “The Walking Dead” or “Breaking Bad”).

As I reflect on this holiday season, I come to understand the symbiotic relationship of stress and merriment. Undoubtedly, it is stressful to balance the competing demands for your time and money. To decide which relatives to visit and which gifts to purchase. But that stress exists because we have people that cherish our company, and with whom we share tokens of our affection. Stress and love cannot be separated, but they can be tempered.

There are many ways to reduce this Christmas reflection to a New Year’s Resolution. Allow me to suggest one. Take the steps necessary to protect your family after you are gone. Now is the time to consider how your death or incapacity would impact your loved ones, both financially and emotionally. If you’ve been avoiding the issue, now is the time, now is the opportunity.

Of course, many New Year’s Resolutions can be daunting. Lifestyle changes and serious issues are not always easy to handle.

Here’s a bit of advice: It starts with a phone call (or even an email).

Don’t spend time obsessing over the details, or worrying about failure. Just pick up the phone or send a quick email. Ask to setup an appointment to talk to someone about your goals.

Want to exercise more? Call a local gym. Want to learn the guitar? Call a music shop. Want to be healthier? Email a doctor/dietitian/acupuncturist. Want to read more? Call a well read friend and ask for a book suggestion.

If you want to protect your family in case something happens to you (and someday something will happen to all of us), call an estate planning attorney. If you’re in Massachusetts, you can call me. The first step is a phone call (or email). The second step is a conversation. It’s easy and pain free. So why wait?

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