It’s hard to believe that the new year – and the new decade – is almost here. In just a few short weeks, the 2010s will be over, and we’ll be presented with 365 brand new opportunities ripe for the taking. What goals will you achieve in 2020? More importantly, how will you achieve those goals in 2020?
With all that comes with the holiday season – the parties, the shopping, the eating – it may be hard to find time to think about what you want to accomplish next year. But new year planning is crucial, because as the saying goes, “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Laying down a plan – on paper – for the next year can make all the difference between crushing your goals and being crushed by them.
Why New Year Planning Matters
Having a written plan can help you visualize not only what you want to achieve, but how you will achieve it. It can act as a roadmap to your goals and provide you stops along the way to check in with your progress. A plan can help keep you accountable when you lose momentum or feel like giving up. Writing your plan down (or typing it up) solidifies your goals and can make them feel more real so it’s harder to shrug them off down the road.
For financial advisors, having a plan is paramount. It can help keep you on track and ensure that you’re hitting important milestones. It also gives you a framework for the upcoming year; instead of scrambling for ideas last minute, you’ll know which projects need to be done when.
How to Create a Plan for the New Year
There are many ways you can go about new year planning, and it’s important that you find a process that works for you. Maybe it’s writing your goals down in a special notebook. Maybe it’s typing them up on your computer. Maybe they’re just jotted down in a note in your phone. Where you keep it doesn’t matter, as long as you have something to refer back to along the way.
1) Reflect on the current year and previous years.
Taking a trip down memory lane can help you learn where you may have fallen short of your goals in previous years. Make a note of your big wins and losses and pay close attention to the actions and events leading up to them. What can you repeat as is? What should you adjust? What should you throw out entirely?
2) Consider your goals, then prioritize.
You likely have a lot of goals that you’d like to accomplish next year and beyond, but it’s important to be realistic. Besides all the amazing things you want to achieve, you still have to put in the everyday work it takes to run your practice. Find balance between your responsibilities and your aspirations by prioritizing the goals that are most important to you and that are most attainable. Prioritizing can help you put your goals into perspective in the context of your larger business plan.
3) Be forgiving.
Let’s be honest: Not everyone achieves every single one of their goals. In fact, studies suggest that nearly 80% of people abandon their New Year’s resolutions after only a few weeks. Don’t be too hard on yourself when you encounter roadblocks or need to scale back your goals. Setbacks don’t have to mean failure, and every challenge is a learning experience.
4) Share your plan.
A plan is even more effective when you share it with others. Sharing your goals, and your progress as you make it, can help motivate you to keep moving forward. This has the added bonus of giving you someone to celebrate with when all of your goals are achieved at the end of the year.
The most important thing about new year planning is that you get started. Your plan doesn’t have to be perfect, and it’s okay if it changes along the way. What matters is that you create one. Be flexible and realistic in the pursuit of your goals. For additional tips, check out some of our previous blog posts on the subject.