Program aims to help people get out of debt

New Year's resolutions often include personal development goals. We aspire to do things better, including everything from eating healthier meals, hitting the gym harder, getting up earlier, going to bed earlier, spending more time with family or just spending less money.

In the pursuit of financial health, many have sought the advice and expertise of Dave Ramsey, author of "Financial Peace" and host of radio's "The Dave Ramsey Show."

Ramsey created a course from his book, and local residents have the opportunity to learn from his Financial Peace University beginning this afternoon.

Ramsey offers help to jump on that New Year's resolution and take control of your money and your life. "There is hope," Ramsey says. "You can take control of your money, get out of debt, and live like no one else."

Christ Community Church, 16301 Old Statesville Road, Huntersville, will host Financial Peace University beginning at 9 a.m. today. For more information, visit

Vineyard North Church also will offer the course at 5:30 p.m. today. The Vineyard Warehouse is at 11845 Vanstory Drive in Huntersville. For information or to register, call 704-728-9083 or visit

According to Ramsey's online store, more than a million families have attended Financial Peace University, with amazing results. On average, the site states, families paid off $5,300 in debt and saved $2,700 in the first 90 days.

Huntersville Presbyterian Church will start the course at 4 p.m. Feb. 13. The cost is $100 per couple; baby sitting will be available. For information about Huntersville Presbyterian Church and FPU, visit

Stop-doing list

As I do every year, I made a list of resolutions for 2011.

Initially, through force of habit, I wrote down the top 10 changes I plan to make this year. One of them has always been to write down a "to-do" list each day. Since it is said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, I tried to write down my to-do lists daily.

That lasted 10 days. By day 10, I was just using the same to-do list from the previous day, because I had checked off only one or two things and added another five. The list mounted, as did my frustration with myself. I was back on the perpetual cycle of feeling like there are not enough hours in the day.

In researching ideas on how to make 2011 a better year than 2010, I came across the idea that time is an equalizer. Everyone has the same number of minutes and hours in a day. We all get 525,600 minutes in a year. (I did not do the math. I simply trust the song "Seasons of Love" from the musical "Rent.")

Then a friend of mine who is a successful entrepreneur told me that, besides writing a to-do list, he also does a "stop-doing" list.

Rob Staudinger is a world champion paintball player and owner of Paintball Central. His company dominates the paintball sport and industry in the Southeast and boasts three paintball fields, three paintball stores and an online store.

To keep his company viable and profitable in this sagging economy, Staudinger has challenged his staff to write down stop-doing lists to increase their organization and efficiency as a company.

I found his advice extremely challenging but also excellent. I have been trying to write down five things that I should stop doing in order to be more organized and efficient. After working on my stop-doing list for almost a week, I landed on four solid things to stop doing.

I decided that No. 5 should be to stop working on the list.