The Truth Behind April Fools’ Day

The origin of April Fools’ Day is somewhat obscure, however, the most commonly cited theory dates back to 1582, the year France adopted the Gregorian Calendar which shifted the observance of New Year’s Day from the end of March (around the time of the vernal equinox) to the first of January. According to popular lore, some people, out of ignorance, stubbornness, or both, continued to ring in the New Year on April 1st and were made the butt of jokes and pranks on account of their foolishness. This became an annual tradition, according to this version of events, which ultimately spread throughout Europe, and eventually, the United States.

The origin of April Fools’ Day is somewhat obscure, however, the most commonly cited theory dates back to 1582, the year France adopted the Gregorian Calendar which shifted the observance of New Year’s Day from the end of March (around the time of the vernal equinox) to the first of January. According to popular lore, some people, out of ignorance, stubbornness, or both, continued to ring in the New Year on April 1st and were made the butt of jokes and pranks on account of their foolishness. This became an annual tradition, according to this version of events, which ultimately spread throughout Europe, and eventually, the United States.

If April Fools’ Day really is the original New Year’s Day, then this is the perfect time to reassess your priorities and begin with a fresh start! A second chance for a New Year – what a great gift.

A Fresh Start…Again 

According to a recent study, only 8% of people who make New Year’s resolutions actually keep them. Why is this the case? Why is it so difficult to keep our resolutions? Could it be our level of commitment, or are we choosing the wrong resolutions altogether? Maybe the key is to make significant change in your life by setting realistic goals, not half-hearted resolutions.

With personal finances, we often see clients who set the intention to save and invest while others do not. Success comes from the discipline to follow through on your commitments. Without making significant change in your life, chances are tomorrow will look a lot like today. Conflict, economic turmoil, stress and many other factors will not likely flee from your life, however, you can manage the distractions and stay focused on the goal.

In reviewing 2013 alone, we dealt with the government sequester and shutdown, a near debt default, an increase in tax rates, and the largest reduction in government spending in history, not to mention media sources that were anticipating a potential financial collapse due to the U.S. federal government’s monetary policy of printing/borrowing excessive money. Parallels were drawn to precursor events that led to the cataclysmic outcome of 1929. Still others continued to predict an economy with inflation spiraling out of the Fed’s control. And yet, it was the best return for the Standard & Poor’s 500 companies in 16 years.

So far in 2014, the financial markets have stumbled out of the gate, saber rattling from Russia turned into an invasion into Crimean territory and stirred Cold War cobwebs, rising rates and tapering QE measures by the Fed are all new threats. And that was just in Q1. Likely, by year’s end there will be more turmoil and further challenges to meet. How do you react? Distractions should not deter your investment growth plans or your personal growth goals.

Setting Your Intention

As Spring shows up and the flowers and trees start to bloom, make a renewed charge and fully commit to the change you want to see in yourself. The best way to make significant change happen is to set your intention. This may be a more powerful process for you than goal setting. How does it work?

 1. Create then state your intention: 

When you say, “I intend to accomplish this by the end of the month”, you actually stir up the resources around you and within you to make it happen. Look at yourself in the mirror, look yourself in the eye and state your intentions aloud.

2. Write down your intentions:

Focus on your intentions, write them down and be specific. Goal setting may seem similar, but setting your intention makes things happen now. Right now. There is power in putting pen to paper.

3. Utilize negativity and naysayers as positive catalysts:

When someone challenges you and says that you cannot do something, what is your initial reaction? Usually to puff up and a strong desire to prove them wrong quickly emerges. Utilize this negativity as a catalyst to push you forward with momentum. Prove them wrong. Prove that you are going to make change happen. You will not quit. You will only commit to making serious change in your life.

4. Tap into your creative side: 

Whatever that creative side may be (painting, playing the guitar, singing, writing), tap into it to make things happen around you. How do you know what your creative passion is? When you lose track of time doing it. Spending time with your creativity will clarify your intentions and help you to stay focused on achieving your goals.

5. Create clear affirmations:

Come up with a few affirmations that you say throughout your day to help you stay focused. Is it abundance you desire? Prosperity? Health? Create the perfect affirmation and say this silently or out loud throughout your day. Make it a habit. You will see the results of this powerful practice.

When turmoil and distractions rear their heads throughout the rest of 2014 (and they inevitably will), how will you choose to confront them? What a great feeling it will be to look back at the end of this year and be proud of the intentions you set, the momentum you created, and your best life that you are living…intentionally.

So, on this April Fools’ Day, the joke is on you if you don’t see it for what it really is – another opportunity for a fresh start.

Happy New Year!

The Stern Brothers Management Team

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