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Traditions and Change

The holiday season always brings back a flood of emotions and memories. That first crisp winter day reminds you of the tree farm you'd venture to with the whole family to pick out the perfect Christmas tree. The smell of sugar cookies takes you back to your mom's kitchen and days of baking more Christmas cookies than you could ever eat. 

Every family has their own holiday traditions and according to this Scientific American article, these traditions just might boost happiness. You'll find no arguments against that theory from my family, who follows our traditions as if they were commandments sent down from the heavens. "Thou shalt not listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving." In my family any transgressions against the rules must be instantly rectified by a ceremonial confession and cleansing of our sins.

While I love our family's holiday traditions, there can be a downside to this strict adherence to "the way things used to be". Things don't stay the same forever. When we were kids my sisters and I would come down the steps together Christmas morning, pausing just long enough for dad to take a picture before jumping into our Christmas gifts. When we got to our teenage years this tradition took on more of a ceremonial approach as we really only did it for the picture. And when we were in our twenties and not living at home anymore it was just plain embarrassing to go upstairs to pretend we just woke up so we could walk back down the steps for our picture.

Yes we really did that. No we don't do it anymore. Because eventually we had our own kids and families and started our own traditions. Sure we still keep a lot of the same ones we used to have, but things aren't the way they used to be. Because things aren't meant to stay the same forever. We can keep the memories of those traditions forever but our new traditions become the ones we never want to give up.

As I've been thinking about our holiday traditions I realized our reluctance to break holiday traditions mirrors our reluctance to change. I've been grappling with the psychology behind our fear of change a lot this year.  As a firm we have been undergoing some major changes recently, and they haven't always been easy.

We've upgraded several of our technology solutions from products we had been using for many years and are currently working through another major upgrade. Changing the software we use daily can be difficult and frustrating and it takes time to get used to such a change. We are also currently in the middle of a major office renovation to expand and improve our space for both our staff and our clients. It isn't easy working in a construction zone and the new layout will certainly take some time to get used to.

While all these changes might be difficult, we know they’ll be worth it in the end. It's easy to fall into the mindset of "If it ain't broke, why fix it?" We all have a tendency to fall back into old habits and we always want things to be the way they used to be. But the world is moving forward at a rapid pace and as time moves on, unfortunately we need to break some of those old traditions. When we do, we find we can make new traditions that might just be even better than the old ones!

In the coming years we will continue to change when change is needed. We acknowledge that this will be difficult not just on us and our staff, but also on our clients. We appreciate your patience and promise we will work to make any transitions as smooth as possible. 

If you struggle with change like so many of us do, I highly recommend two books I read this year on the subject, Switch and The Power of Habit. They really helped me understand the psychology behind our reluctance to change and provided some great tips on making change easier.

The views expressed represent the opinions of L.K. Benson & Company and are subject to change.  These views are not intended as a forecast, a guarantee of future results, investment recommendation, or an offer to buy or sell any securities. The information provided is of a general nature and should not be construed as investment advice or to provide any investment, tax, financial or legal advice or service to any person.

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