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New Year, New Goals

New Year, New Goals

January 20, 2023

When our daughters were young, they had one goal: to persuade us to get a dog!

They looked up at us with their pleading little eyes and expressed such heartfelt anguish. This went on for months, maybe even a year.

My husband protested. Pets are a hassle. They cost money. Who will feed, bathe, and walk the dog? The kids promised to help, but we knew it would fall on us as parents to care for a pet.

Our daughters persisted as though their childhood happiness depended upon it. In the end, they got a dog. Actually, they got two dogs.

We couldn’t bear the thought of one being lonely while we were at school or work all day. Also, there were two highly bonded litter mates (sisters) who were to be adopted out of a shelter together.

Since then, our lives have changed for the better. Yes, there are inconveniences associated with having pets, but the joy and unconditional love is greater.

In hindsight, we have much to learn from our daughters about goal setting. They knew themselves and their own hearts. They boldly and unapologetically asked for what they wanted and needed; and they remained focused for as long as it took to realize their goal.

The New Year brings opportunities to welcome something new into our lives and to make fresh commitments. We’re now almost one month into 2023 and for some, the focus may be waning.

We frequently set goals based on shoulds and oughts and despite our best intentions, they rarely stick. If the goal isn’t truly meaningful to the goal setter, it can be difficult to follow through.

When setting financial goals, many focus on something they want less of (debt) or more of (savings/investments). At times, the struggle to achieve those goals is based on a lack of financial education.

Sometimes we have scripts playing in our heads from early memories that surround money. This can create a deep emotional connection (or reaction) to money. This can predispose some to taking positive action, while others may face challenges.

For those who are struggling to stay focused, it can be helpful to reflect on those underlying emotions, memories, and scripts. An increased awareness of why we behave as we do, along with a dose of self-compassion, can help shift our mindset. The journey can then become smoother and more comfortable.

As a financial planner, I frequently have the privilege of hearing about clients’ goals and dreams.

Many clients would like to be more intentional in their relationships, hobbies, health, or volunteering. This kind of commitment requires little or no money and can be implemented relatively quickly.

Other clients have big, bold, expensive goals they are chasing. They call in seeking advice about how to proceed amidst increased complexity and ambiguity.

They confide in us when they’re dissatisfied with something in their lives or if difficult circumstances have come their way. They need to regroup, course correct and set new goals.

As circumstances change, so will the underlying financial plan. We may also recommend changes in the type of accounts being utilized or the way money is invested. Financial planning, advice, and implementation is a critical part of goal achievement.

So is having the help and support we need to realize our dreams.

We’re human, after all. Despite our cultural emphasis on individuality and autonomy, most of us are happier traveling life’s journey together. We can care for, support, and lift one another up along the way. It’s also a lot more fun!

Whatever you have on your plate for 2023, you don’t have to do it alone. Keep your personal and professional teams in the loop. They’ll support you in pursuing the goals and dreams that are meaningful to you and those you love.