New year means it's a great time to get into financial shape
Dec. 30, 2015 Article

Five Steps for Planning Your Fitness and Financial Resolutions

Share

As we roll into 2016, millions of Americans will attempt to make some sort of New Year’s resolution. Whether it be centered on physical or financial well-being, there are some common themes in terms of approach as well as expectations. Clearly the goal here is to implement the resolution as a long-term plan rather than having to abort come early spring. Here are my five steps to consider when working towards a New Year’s resolution whether it be physical or financial wellness:

1. Map out a launch and maintenance plan 

Map out how you’re going to implement the resolution. Studies show the more you plan how to get from point A to point B, the more likely your goal will become a reality. Those who have no rhyme or reason as to why or how they invest their money, for example, are often doomed to failure. Build out a plan that suits your risk-tolerance and behavioral needs as well as long-term goals. 

2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help  

Invest in yourself and seek out a professional who specializes in the area of focus for your New Year’s resolution. If funds will not allow this sort of investment, find a peer who has a similar goal who can serve as an accountability partner. In the world of financial planning, many business professionals try to take on the burden of investing. Taking on this responsibility without seeking professional advice can be almost a full-time job in itself.      

3. Set challenging, yet realistic goals 

The importance with this is to challenge yourself but don’t make the goals so lofty that they are extremely difficult to attain. If you’re focusing on saving money in 2016, automatically transfer a certain percentage of your paycheck into savings each month or reserve a certain amount for investing or perhaps a capital need. Those who adopt this practice will find that they are less likely to spend the funds if they are automatically withdrawn from a paycheck. 

4. Focus more, worry less

For most Americans, this is a very difficult thing as we tend to want immediate results. Focusing on the process and enjoying it will allow you to get where you are trying to go much faster. Similar to investing, implementing a plan and sticking with it for long periods of time will hopefully allow your assets to grow in the appropriate fashion. 

5. Celebrate small victories or gains

Implementing and sustaining a new challenging endeavor is tough to do. Reward yourself in some fashion for either attaining the goal at hand, or more importantly, sticking to the process and/or plan. When it comes to finances, reward yourself with something that “fills your bucket” if you are able to stick to a family budget or implementing a monthly savings program. 

Happy New Year to all! I hope these recommendations allow for a prosperous new year in whatever goal is at the top of your list. What are your top resolutions for 2016? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

For more of my thoughts and articles, follow me on LinkedIn.