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Make 2020 SMART

| January 03, 2021
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Happy New Year!

I was asked recently if I had any New Year’s Resolutions.  My reply was simply, “No.  I don’t like to be disappointed so early in a New Year.”  That brought some chuckles followed by a discussion about New Year Resolutions in general.  Why do we do them?  Does anyone actually see their resolution through?

To answer the “Why do we do them?” here’s a brief history of the New Year Resolution.  Who knew it began with the ancient Babylonians?

Now, how do we actually accomplish our resolutions?  This question is a little more complicated.  COVID-19 hampered so many of our plans for 2020 that the promise and potential of a new year feel a bit more special this January 1st.  But having a renewed excitement to take control of the things we can control and make real changes in our lives isn’t enough to make 2021 better.  As with any other year, the difference between a resolution that falls by the wayside before spring and an accomplished goal is planning.  This three-step process will help you channel your enthusiasm into an action plan that will build real, sustainable momentum throughout 2021. 

  1. Review 2020. Take stock in what has or has not occurred over the past 12 months.  One of the most powerful questions you can ask when analyzing a problem is, “Why?”  As you’re reviewing 2020, don’t let your answers be, “Because of COVID-19.”  Keep asking “Why?” until you reach the root issues that got between you and your 2020 goals.  Until you’ve identified those hurdles, it will be impossible to clear them.
  2. Turn your resolutions into goals (and make them SMART). For those of you not intimately familiar with this acronym here is a quick “crash-course” you can take to get you up to speed: summarize, a goal should be:
    • Specific: narrow focus is better than too broad of a focus
    • Measurable: how can we measure progress
    • Attainable: keep it realistic
    • Relevant: be in line with your values and objectives
    • Time-based: a deadline helps bring it to fruition

Once you’ve created your goal, begin asking “how” to help you fine-tune a vague aspiration into a SMART goal.  Perhaps working from home has made you rethink your career.  Once you have a Specific goal, how are you going to make a Measurable and Attainable change?  Your action plan might include Relevant items like brushing up your resume or enrolling in an online class that will help you earn a degree.  If your goal is to schedule a virtual chat with a trusted mentor, make sure you get it on your calendar and then follow through in a Timely manner.  

  1. Stay positive. Setting inspiring goals and building a plan towards hitting them can really turn your mood around.  After a year in which we felt like so much was beyond our control, hitting your daily checkmarks and watching those small achievements build towards something big will empower you to keep moving forward. It’s also important to celebrate smaller milestones that you pass along your journey. Go out for a nice dinner (or get curbside pickup) when you’re halfway to a savings goal.  Treat yourself to a new pair of running shoes when you’ve met your exercise goals for one month. Finally, it’s always good to have a support system in place that will encourage you to stay on track even on the days when you’re falling behind.  Your jogging buddy will be there to nudge you off the couch.  A friend, spouse, or partner can help you navigate a major career change.

Please remember that we are “here” and available for you as well.  If you have any questions or concerns, financial or otherwise, please do not hesitate to call or email.  If you have friends, family, or neighbors you feel would benefit from a conversation with me, I’m more than happy to have a call or jump on a Zoom meeting with them. 

As always, I hope that you are doing well, and staying safe & healthy! 

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