Well, we made it. It feels like we crammed a lot of years into one, doesn’t it? 2020 was no doubt one of the most challenging years on record. It certainly wasn’t fun, but despite all of that, I managed to have a pretty good year. I have my health, a rewarding career, a wonderful family. I, like most have a lot to be grateful for. But if you are like me, you were probably still okay with putting 2020 safely in the rearview mirror. With a new year comes fresh optimism, new possibilities, and a clean slate. New year, new you, right?
According to surveys, as many as 75% of Americans have made resolutions for the new year. And about that many will abandon them too. National Quitters Day is right around the corner. Yes, it’s really a thing. The third Sunday of the new year, January 17th in this case, is the day that you are most likely to falter and start giving up on your fresh new goals.
There are many reasons that most New Year’s resolutions never work out. Too many to count, really. For a short period of time, I can be the most disciplined and determined person there is. The problem is, like most, I tend to revert to my normal habits pretty quickly and end up right where I started. I would imagine that most folks go through the same thing.
For some, the answer is to stop making resolutions. If you don’t make one, you can’t break one after all. But the problem usually isn’t our resolution, it’s our follow through or lack thereof. I’ve broken a lot of resolutions over the years. But I’ve kept a few too, and I’ve found that there are 3 things in particular that can help you defy the odds.
- Set well defined and achievable goals.
- Write down your goals, and refer back to them regularly.
- Establish accountability.
These same principles apply to financial planning. If you don’t have a destination, you will never know when you get there. There is a psychology to goal setting. Neuroscience shows that you are much more likely to hit your goals if they are concrete and written down. A financial plan can serve as a roadmap to achieving long term financial goals and provides accountability.
Everyone deserves a financial plan. If you’ve never developed one, 2021 is your year. It’s time to define your goals. It’s time to make them explicit and get them on paper. It’s time to follow through, and it’s time to seek accountability. This Quitters Day 2021, don’t throw in the towel!