We're only a few days into 2023, but the stats tell us that plenty of folks are already struggling with their New Year's resolutions. In 2019, Strava, a social network for athletes, determined that 80% of people who made New Year's resolutions abandoned them by the second week of January. A 2021 CBS News poll found that 4% of individuals who make resolutions actually accomplish everything; 8% meet most of their goals; 16% meet some.
On today's show, we talk about some strategies that could help you set better 2023 goals and increase your likelihood of hitting them.
Thing Big, Start Small
So, you want to lose weight in 2023?
Save more for retirement?
Improve your wheel-to-wheel racing performance? (More on this one in a minute!)
Well, sorry, but you're probably not going to hit those goals. Not because they're bad, but because they're not SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timed.
I know from personal experience that no one can just go out and "lose weight." When I set my sights on improving my health a few years back, I worked with a personal trainer on a Specific plan for both weekly exercise and daily diet. I Measured my progress after every workout. My trainer helped me focus on Achievable goals for a guy my age and for the amount of time I could devote to exercise every week. My goals were Relevant because I really wanted to look and feel better. And I had a Timed schedule for hitting certain benchmarks.
My podcast co-host, Keen Wealth's Matt Wilson, has discussed his love of car racing in past episodes. Up until now, Matt has focused on time trials, where drivers are on the track solo trying to run the fastest times. In 2023, Matt wants to do more "wheel-to-wheel" races against other drivers, like you see in a NASCAR race. So, he set his big target for a national race in Pittsburgh in September, and he's set short-term SMART goals that he needs to pass as he prepares for that race.
Likewise, my other co-host, Steve Sanduski, mentioned on this episode that he's setting out on a SMART plan to learn how to sail this year.
Follow Your Values
One part of the SMART framework that folks sometimes breeze over is Relevant. Maybe over the holidays you heard a group of friends and family all say that they wanted to dive into a new fitness trend or learn a skill, and you thought, "That sounds good, I'll do it too!"
Unfortunately, following a crowd usually isn't reason enough to set a goal or resolution. You're much more likely to achieve a goal that really means something to you.
If you're struggling to identify meaningful goals this year, it might be a good idea to start by thinking about what your core values are. For example, one of our values at Keen Wealth is continuous learning, which we practice every day by staying on top of the latest financial news and trends, and which we promote to our clients and audience via educational initiatives, such as this very podcast. Another of our values is to be "humbly confident" in our analysis and in how we help our clients work towards a successful retirement.
Try to come up with your own list of 3-5 values that you follow in your life, work, relationships, and hobbies. Check your 2023 goals against that list to make sure you’re working towards something that’s going to make your year happier and more fulfilling.
Enjoy Today, Plan for Tomorrow
Another reason it can be easy to get frustrated with goals and resolutions is that the end result can feel so far away. That's why it's important to establish short-term checkpoints and celebrate when you hit them. If you successfully meet your exercise and diet goals for a month, give yourself a cheat day and take your spouse out to a nice restaurant.
And if 2023 is going to be the year that you get serious about your financial planning, talk to your advisor about all the goals you have leading up to retirement, and how they connect to your core value set. My team at Keen Wealth is always ready to start that conversation and help you set a course towards your best year yet.
Bill Keen is a financial advisor with nearly 30 years of industry experience. As the founder and CEO of Keen Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm, he focuses on providing personalized retirement planning designed to help people thrive before and during their retirement years. With a passion for educating others, Bill regularly blogs about retirement planning, hosts the podcast Keen on Retirement, and has contributed to Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, Reuters, Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Yahoo Finance, and other publications. Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Bill and his team work with clients throughout the greater Kansas City area and across the nation. To learn more, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.keenwealthadvisors.com.
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