Resolutions, gratitude and saying ‘no’

guest commentary by David Potts

Editor’s note: David Potts is a certified public accountant with more than 33 years experience. Although every effort is made to provide you accurate and timely tax information, it is general in nature and not specific to your facts and circumstances. Consult a qualified tax professional to discuss your particular case. Feel free to e-mail topic suggestions or questions to

Opinions, commentary and other essays posted in this space are wholly the view of the author(s). They may not represent the opinion of the owners of The City Wire.

What is it about the human species that compels us at the beginning of each year to make New Year’s resolutions? Everybody means well but within a few weeks resolutions are set to the side to attend to “more important” matters.

This peculiar trait can be seen year after year after year in a fitness center. The overweight and the flabby want to lose weight and to live a bit healthier so they make their New Year’s resolutions to get physically fit. In January the attendance in the fitness center surges so much it’s difficult for the ritualistic members to find an empty treadmill or weight machine to use for their own workout routine. That’s just the nature of fitness centers. By the end of March the attendance is back to normal with 90% of the new members giving up on their resolution to get fit, distracted by life’s events.

I expect each of us are guilty of not keeping our promises to ourselves. This past failure to keep our promises to ourselves makes us feel so bad we sometimes correct the problem by avoiding any thought of making ourselves a New Year’s resolution, a personal promise. Sometimes we smugly laugh to ourselves as we see others resolve and fail.

My opinion on this matter? I’ll cheer and encourage anybody that wants to improve themselves and who gets off there derriere and works to make their life better. If they fail to meet their goal, I hope they have a reserve of resilience to get up and repeat the ritual. Success is a good thing and the journey’s is better than stasis.

I am working on my own New Year’s resolutions for 2014. Some of my resolutions will be carryovers from 2013 that I didn’t fully achieve. But I personally believe in making resolutions and goals because it provides focus that helps me increase my quality of life. I won’t bore you with all my goals, but let me share with you a couple of my resolutions for 2014. I hope this will encourage you to make resolutions that will better your life and increase your feelings of success.

In 2014 I have resolved to practice what I preach. As a certified public accountant and a business owner, I have a tendency to behave like the cobbler’s children that have no shoes. Although I prepare financial statements for my business, at times I do not fully use them as a tool to manage profitability and to fully understand what’s happening in my business. Business owners or managers that habitually read their company’s  financial statements and know what the numbers mean always make more money than when they ignore them. Businesses have to make a profit to survive. You might as well make as much profit as possible.

In 2014 I have resolved to say “no” to requests more often. Back in high school my dad said to me, “I sure am glad that you were not born a girl.” When I asked him why he replied, “You never learned to say no.” And at times this tendency is still true. I like people and I like to help people. That makes it difficult to decline requests. The end result is over commitment, constant stress, and obstacles to achieving some of my most important goals. Saying “no” is a great tool for anybody with a busy schedule.

In 2014 I have resolved to continue to practice gratitude. I was raised by parents who taught me the importance of gratitude, the attitude of being thankful. When life gets busy and there’s little time to reflect on my life, I tend to be less satisfied. I have found that taking time to reflect and be grateful for life’s blessings makes my life better.


With that said indulge me a moment to express a bit of gratitude. I’m grateful to have been born in Fort Smith, married a Fort Smith girl, and to have raised my son in Fort Smith. I’m grateful to have a successful CPA practice and I am grateful for all my clients. I am grateful to have the opportunity to write for The City Wire and to know much of the staff. They are great people and do a great job. And I’m thankful for those of you who take the time to read my commentary. I hope I don’t waste your time.

I wish each of you a Merry Christmas with God’s blessings and a happy New Year ... even if you don’t agree with what I write.

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