It’s that time of year again—the time when we all start looking forward. Gym memberships spike, new budgets are set, and we think about what we want more and less of in our lives.
More time. Less stress. More money. Less junk food.
If you’re like most people, your goals for 2022 probably look a lot like the goals you set for 2021, and the year before that, and the year before that, and—well, you get the picture. Don’t worry, you’re not the only one letting the ball drop on financial New Year’s resolutions—more than 80% of resolutions end in failure.
Perhaps the biggest problem with financial New Year’s resolutions is that they tend to stay true to their namesake, rushing in with the excitement of early January celebrations before all-too-quickly being forgotten as the old routines return to roost.
That’s not to say that resolutions are inherently bad, but to make your goals (financial and otherwise) part of that top 20% success rate as we head into 2022, it’s important that they begin with what matters most to you: your values.
Today, we want to talk about how you can realign your goals around your values to help you stay more motivated next year.
But first, a quick reminder:
There is No “Right Way”
Your values are specific to you, and your goals should be, too. Keep in mind that there’s no such thing as a “right way” to plan your future, and someone else’s roadmap to success won’t look exactly like yours. It’s easy to lose sight of your own goals when you start comparing yourself with others.
In reality, very few of the people that we think of as successful would say they did it the “right way”—that just doesn’t exist.
Like so many other aspects of life, financial planning is about finding what works for you and what fits best with who you are, and then building consistent habits around that. Don’t base your future on someone else’s plans for becoming a millionaire, because you’re unique, and success is built on learning from our mistakes.
Before we move on, here’s a pro tip: Share your goals with someone. If you don’t share your resolutions with others it’s easier to break them. Find someone that you can share with, and be each other’s accountability partner.
Check in With Your Values
You might be thinking about what went right or wrong this past year and how you could improve those results moving forward. Resolutions are, after all, based on results.
Values play an important role, too, though. While resolutions may be based on results, values are about examining why you were chasing those results in the first place.
Checking in with core values you hold can help you gain a fresh perspective on how best to proceed. Why do you want more time? Is it to take a new class you’ve been eyeing, or to be with your family? Maybe you’ve been wanting to pick up a new hobby or project, and now seems like the right time to finally get started.
Drill down to your most important value and then put your energy into specific steps that will help you grow toward that. What can you do each day, week and month to move toward the finish line? And if you find along the way that what you’ve been doing isn’t in alignment with those core values, hit reset and move forward.
Whatever goals you’re working toward, your values should form the foundation of your game plan to achieve them, and always be front and center each step of the way.
Spend with Intention
Remember those new budgets we mentioned earlier? Get rid of them. In fact, it’s time to banish that “b” word from your vocabulary.
Spreadsheets and bank records might be useful in tracking where your money is going, but they leave out one important aspect: you.
You, with your unique values and goals, can do something those algorithms can’t. You can create a financial plan tailored to your specific needs and wants that’s based on your own personal values.
Your financial plan should always begin with looking at how you spend your money and how that fits with who you are—and even more importantly, who you want to be. Once you understand your personal values, it’s easier to align your spending with how you want to live your life.
Retail therapy is definitely a thing. You get a boost of endorphins when you do something your mind likes. But buyer’s remorse is also definitely a thing. A couple hours or days or weeks later and you could end up with serious depression as you start to regret your purchase. Start training your mind to pay attention to those feelings so you can figure out how to spend money in a less emotional way.
The key is to spend with intention.
Take a look at where you’ve been spending your money lately. Does it reflect what you want it to? If not, consider how you can adjust your spending to represent your values in the best way possible. With our extensive experience in financial life planning, we understand that your goals are more than just numbers.
Walt Whitman called gratitude the “highest poetry” for a reason.
With that in mind, don’t get too caught up in resolutions, whether yours fall into those 80% of failures or 20% of successes. As we work hard to improve our lives and situations in this new year, or to reach goals we might’ve missed the mark on last year, it can be too easy to forget all that we have accomplished.
But you don’t have to wait for the fourth Thursday in November to give thanks—give yourself time to reflect back with gratitude as you set your financial New Year’s resolutions.
You may find it useful to start a gratitude journal, or to ask people around you what they are grateful for. It can be as simple as letting someone know how grateful you are for them today.
However and wherever you’re ringing in this new year, bring a fresh perspective on goal-setting by taking stock of what matters most to you, and find out how your resolutions line up with those values.
With a strong foundation of ideals you believe in to support your financial New Year’s resolutions, you’re already on the path to success.
Here at Clarity Wealth, one of our strongest values is helping others when they need it most throughout their unique financial journeys. Whether you’re looking beyond the season and into your retirement years, or adjusting to a sudden life change, we can assist you in creating a plan that matches your values.
If any of your resolutions include getting your financial goals on track, click here to schedule a consultation with one of our advisors—we’d be happy to help.