The new year is upon us, and with it comes the annual ritual of setting resolutions. We vow to exercise more, eat healthier, learn a new skill, or save more and spend less. But as January fades and February arrives, many of us find our good intentions falling by the wayside, and gyms empty to their pre-resolution crowds. Why is it so hard to stick to our resolutions? And how can we increase our chances of success?
I believe the answer lies in creating a New Year’s Resolution Roadmap. Like many of us who returned from our holiday travels in the last month, navigating a successful trip requires planning in advance, realistic milestones, and a roadmap.
Step 1: Define Your Destination
What do you truly want to achieve in the coming year? Be specific and avoid vague resolutions like “get healthier” or “save more money.” Instead, set SMART goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. For example, instead of “get healthier,” aim to “exercise for 30 minutes, three times a week.” Instead of “save more money”, aim to “increase my emergency fund by 10% within the next six months.” These quantifiable objectives provide clear mile markers and a sense of accomplishment as you cruise toward your ultimate destination.
Step 2: Identify Your Roadblocks
Every driver encounters roadblocks. What has prevented you from achieving your resolutions in the past? Be honest with yourself about your weaknesses and temptations. Recently I found myself disappointed that I often have been missing my gym goals. To counter that, I set a daily alarm to remind myself to go to the gym. Do you struggle with impulsive spending? Lack of motivation? Unhealthy eating habits? Once you identify your roadblocks, you can develop strategies to overcome them.
Step 3: Choose Your Route
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving your goals. Experiment with different techniques and find what works best for you. For example, when it comes to budgeting, some people prefer a spreadsheet, others prefer a mobile app, and even others prefer pen and paper. Do what works for you so that you can stay motivated along your journey.
Step 4: Fuel Up for the Journey
Just like a car needs fuel to reach its destination, you need the right resources to power your resolutions. Surrounding yourself with people who believe in you and are working on similar goals can help you stay motivated and accountable.
Step 5: Enjoy the Scenery!
Take time to appreciate your progress and celebrate your accomplishments. Reaching your goals is a marathon, not a sprint. For instance, I always enjoy a small reward after working out or achieving my financial goals. Celebrating your milestones with small rewards can keep your motivated to continue on your journey.
By following these steps, I hope you can increase your chances of success in your new year’s resolutions. Just like a trainer can help you achieve your fitness goals, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional can be a great resource to have to help you set, monitor, and achieve your financial goals. Happy New Year!
Published in the Victoria Advocate
David Faskas CFA, CFP® is the Chief Investment Officer, Chief Financial Planning Officer, and a managing member of KMH Wealth Management, LLC.