New Year’s Resolutions –a beloved tradition when we decide on new habits to practice during this fresh year that are going to make the next year even better that the last. In an ideal world, we stick to them and make powerful changes, but more often than not, we try for a while and then slip back into our old ways, not thinking about our resolutions again until the next time we try to make them. Let’s make 2020 the year we break that cycle. Before you set out to make those resolutions this year, check out these tips that will help you leverage this time of transition to put some new habits in place that really will make meaningful changes in your life.
- Carve out a few hours of thinking time. If you have a spouse or partner, schedule time with them. You might even consider doing this as a family.
- Think about your long- and short-term goals. Start out with a couple long-term goals, and a couple short-term goals. The more focused and specific you can be, the better.
- Evaluate these goals in terms of your core values. Are these goals bringing you more of what you value most in life? If not, try to refine your goals so that they are more in line with you core values.
- Select the goal that is most meaningful to you at this time; the goal that you feel most motivated and driven to achieve. Typically, the more in line your goal and your core values, the more driven you will be to work towards achieving that goal.
- Picture your self achieving that goal, and then think backwards. What did you do right before you achieved that goal? What did you do before that? And so on, until you get to yourself right now. What habit did you put in place in January 2020 to get you closer to achieving your goal? Eureka -that’s it! The New Year’s resolution you’ll be able to keep (because it’s in line with your goals and values) and will bring about meaningful change in your life.
- Create a system that will help you keep your resolution. Start with writing it down (along with your goal). Perhaps it’s a tracking system, perhaps it’s an accountability buddy. Perhaps it’s consulting with a financial planner that is equipped with the skillset to help. In fact, we can help you through this entire process here at Clarity
Here are a couple of examples to get you thinking:
~Ann and Jeremy~
Ann and Jeremy have been creating a vision for their retirement. In that picture they will be very active –traveling extensively and enjoying their grandchildren. Neither of them are have been paying much attention to their health and fitness, so they will need to put in some work to bring themselves closer to this vision. Ann’s resolution is to consult with a nutritionist to put a plan in place to make sure she is getting the nutrition she needs. Jeremy’s resolution is to set up a standing date to play tennis every Saturday morning with a group of his old team mates.
Emily has been thinking about changing careers. She is living comfortably now but is not sure she could make it with the reduced income while she retools and reestablishes a new career. She sat down with a financial planner to go over what the process might look like. Working backwards, she realized that the first thing she needs to do is set a budget. Right now, she doesn’t really know much about her current monthly expenses, which makes it difficult to evaluate the trade-offs she would have to make. Which expenses could she do without temporarily? Which ones are essential? Her resolution is to set a budget and track her expenses for three months and then meet again with her planner to analyze how they line up.
These resolutions are likely to lead to success because they are simple, bring Ann, Jeremy and Emily closer to goals that are important to them, and include a system of accountability.
So set some time aside to invest in yourself and intentionally set some powerful resolutions for the next year. It might be hard to do during the busy holiday season, but no one said New Year’s resolutions can’t start on January 31st! Or better yet, today!