Have you ever written down what you want to do better this year vs last year? Do you coin that list as your New Year’s Resolutions? If you were to go back and look at previous lists, how many times have you found success? If you were to go back to last year at this time, how’d you make out?
What is the best way to ensure the items you listed get the attention they deserve? First, I can’t speak for everyone, but I’ll share with you what works for me. Many years ago, I started writing down my goals, I believe it was 2005 or 2006 when I started this process. The first few years my goals were open ended, somewhat ambiguous (spend more time with my kids) and truly immeasurable. As the years went on and I realized it was nearly impossible to measure something that wasn’t specific, I started to be a little more deliberate. I began to create SMART goals. Goals that were:
- Specific – What exactly was I going to do
- Measurable – When exactly was I going to do said goal
- Attainable – Something that could be achieved in that window of time
- Realistic – It could actually happen with focus
- Time based – A set amount of time to complete the goal.
Some of my goals were small – Be home by 5pm at least 1 day a week.
Some were larger – Buy a beach house by a certain year.
Regardless of what your goals are, I would encourage you to write them down. Write them down because then you will have a reference point to go back and visit to see how you are doing. Plus, when you write them down you have a 50% greater chance of success, for no other reason than your commitment to that goal is a little stronger. I would also encourage you to share them with someone you trust. They will be your biggest supporter!
Think about a small goal first, be home from work by 5pm at least 1 day a week. This may seem like a small goal to many, however, as with most goals worth writing down, it requires a little bit of planning. Maybe the only way you can get out by 5p is if you start your day at 5a? Regardless of what you specifically need to do, in order to achieve that goal, you have to change something. You will likely have to form a new habit. You will need to be more conscious with your decisions to ensure that goal is worthy enough of your attention to achieve. Maybe dig a little deeper when you’re writing your goals. Why is being home at 5p important? Could it be that you want to spend more time with your spouse, your kids, maybe to get your wash done so you have more time on the weekend? Again, even small changes require commitment, focus, desire and ultimately, your attention.
Let’s talk about one that many Americans consider, pretty much every year – Get Healthy/and or Lose Weight. Well, that’s a big one. To be successful, this is definitely one that requires a little more care and attention. This is one where really being SMART with this stated goal will pay dividends. Sometimes this comes out of a health scare, maybe your own scare or a scare that someone close to you experienced. Maybe it was that favorite pair of pants that no longer fits the way you want? Maybe it was playing with your kids and grandkids, and you had to stop or you felt like you weren’t going to make it to dinner. Whatever the reason, your health has become a priority. For me, it was a picture with my kids in 2009 at a waterpark. I realized I was on the road to dad-bod-ville if I didn’t make a change.
Today, I go to the gym about 5x a week. This has become part of my lifestyle. I have been going to the gym since 1999, yep, a long time! So what happened in 2009 that was so different if I was a regular gym goer for the prior 10 years? Well, the whole reason I wanted to write this article is because our health is very synonymous with our wealth. Let me explain, I had been going to the gym for a long time. But something had changed. To be honest, a lot had changed. 10 years after I first started going to the gym, I now had 2 kids, a career, responsibility, and a lot less time was being devoted to my health. I didn’t realize, how many other things changed too. My body wasn’t capable of recovering the way it had 10 years earlier. I wasn’t giving any real attention (or care) to what I was eating or drinking because I didn’t understand the impact that had on my health. All of which was contributing to my seemingly inevitable entry into dad-bod-ville. Well, in 2009, I then started to refocus. Being around for those two girls that I took the picture with at the waterpark became more important. Why? Well selfishly, I’m fortunate to still have both of my parents today. They’re always there when I need them. They’re there even when I don’t need them and I wanted my girls to have that same experience, a support system that will be there, long beyond when it’s needed. I also want to see them walk down the aisle, I want to meet my grandkids, all things that I thought may not happen if I didn’t refocus.
So fast forward to today, as I mentioned, I still go to the gym 5 days a week. I look around and see the same people nearly every day. It’s great to see familiar faces, however, not only do those faces never change, sometimes, nothing else changes either. They’re still battling with an extra 30 pounds, their joints still hurt, their progress is seemingly nonexistent, year after year. How can this be? Well, I’ve learned, that in order to see change in an area like health or wealth, it takes consistency, which these people have! However, it may also take a little more than it did when we started. It may take a personal trainer who can train someone in the areas that will benefit them the most. It may take a nutritionist or dietician to help someone eat the foods that their body responds the best to. It may take working with an Integrative Health Practitioner to do blood, food sensitivity, stool and hormone tests in an effort to reduce guess work and minimize the amount of time between action and result. So why don’t people do this? In most cases, the answer is, they didn’t know where to begin. People usually think they are doing all they can based on what a friend told them or what they read online. Consider this, time is everyone’s most valuable asset. Many desire the best outcome in the shortest amount of time, but they may not know where to go to get that answer at that specific time in their life. It may take more research, more commitment to seeking out the right information or professionals at that time in their life. Perspective: I’ve never heard a client say they reached a goal too soon and were upset about it.
Why are health and wealth such great analogies? Well, having a successful financial outcome is typically something that is a universal goal. Some people do a great job of understanding when they’ve reached their capacity and are willing to bring someone on to help them achieve the next level of success. As I mentioned above, there are multiple ways to address your health and the same holds true about your wealth. For the wealthiest of clients, the gold standard of Private Wealth Management is to make sure all your advisors, Accountant, Attorney and Financial Planner (not just an investment advisor) are all working together on your behalf. 1999 Todd didn’t need a Personal Trainer, Nutritionist/Dietician, or an Integrative Health Practitioner because my simple regiment met my needs at that point. As I’ve aged, I have utilized other professionals to keep me on track and lean on their expertise to meet my current goals. While I don’t feel like me or my goals have changed much, the reality is that what used to work in the past isn’t as effective as it once was. This is also true more times than not when business owners, successful entrepreneurs and executives mature in their careers. You feel like the same person, however your circumstances have changed around you. As that happens, are you the tools at your disposal are efficiently and effectively maximizing your potential? Reducing taxes? Shortening your time horizon to a desired financial outcome? There may be an opportunity to do even better!
So, what’s the secret to making little changes or big changes to ensure your New Year’s Resolution is successful? First, write down your goals and don’t write ten, write one or two. Make them SMART, then, create a plan. Contact professionals to help you, lean on experts, and don’t go in alone. Most important thing to remember, if you make a series of small, good decisions over a long period of time, it will produce a positive outcome. (don’t eat the cookie every time, make deliberate purchases instead of impulse buys) It doesn’t mean you have to be 100% perfect, but it does mean that you need to be really good a lot of the time. This is also called consistency. Consistency creates habits and habits create predictable outcomes (good and bad). I wish you well as you start a new year and hope that this small look inside my head will help you create a positive outcome for your 2024. Cheers.
Note: Each year, the entire Blue Rock team writes down their SMART goals. We then create goals by category, such as Personal, Business and Self. Together, we pull out our goals and look at them throughout the year. Formally at the midpoint of the year we discuss them and talk about what’s going well and what needs more attention. This exercise has been groundbreaking. It helps each team member focus on what they want to do. What’s important to them? Spend more time with their parents or grandparents, earn a new industry designation, take a family vacation? At the end of the year, when each team member has their annual performance review, we get a chance to reflect on those goals and celebrate their success. It’s even more rewarding when the goals are big and take years to accomplish. Why? Because that means they had to really work to meet that goal which makes their success that much sweeter!