by Judy M McCutcheon
As the new year rolls around, there are always new things that we want to accomplish, and new challenges to surmount. I’ve decided on a few things, one of them being to shift the perspective of my article.
I am still going to write about personal financial issues that should be at the forefront of our consciousness, but I am also going to be writing about other things of interest. So, I’ve taken myself out of my self-imposed box and inviting you to do the same. Let’s make 2019 a year of exploration.
This year I am breaking with the tradition of saying “Happy New Year” until someone can explain to me what it means. My daughter says to me that saying happy new year, is like saying good morning, it’s polite. I think of it more as asking someone how they are doing and not really caring what the answer is. What do we mean when we tell someone happy new year? Are you just caught up in the moment of fireworks and partying or do you actually mean something? This year, everyone who said happy new year to me was met with the question, “What does that mean?” I am yet to get an answer that makes sense to me. What I’ve done instead is to tell people what I really wish for them during 2019. I want my wishes to mean something to the person I’m giving it to. 2019 must not be a year of meaninglessness and, for you my dear readers, I want you to seize this moment and make 2019 your best year yet in every area of your life. Make it count.
So, here we are, it’s 2019 and I am sure like most people out there, you have made your new year resolutions with the best of intentions, you resolve that this year will be different. But if you were to look back at 2018 or even 2017, you would realise that most of your 2019 resolutions are spillovers from those years. Why do you suppose that is? Do you think that you didn’t achieve those resolutions because, just like wishing happy new year to the stranger next to you at the new year’s eve party, you don’t really mean it? Did you make those resolutions out of habit or tradition? How much thought did you put into making those resolutions? What are resolutions anyway? And most importantly, how long do you keep them around for, one or two weeks into the new year? Let’s look at something more concrete, something that is guaranteed to help you make those “resolutions” stick around much longer. Let’s talk about goal setting and how it can help you maintain a laser-sharp focus on achieving them. The differences between resolutions and goals are measurement and management. You can’t manage what you don’t measure, and you can’t improve what you don’t manage, it’s as simple as that; to be able to achieve your goals you must be able to measure them and manage them.
Over the holiday season, I became lazy, but I wanted to be a functional lazy, so I decided that I would binge watch all the seasons of Scandal – that show my gosh, sex, violence and well, scandal. But I learned something very fundamental, every client that OPA took on, they asked them one question, “What do you want?” And that’s the question I am asking you, to ask yourself, “What do I want?” Without you first answering that question, it becomes impossible to truly achieve anything of substance. But why does putting your goals in black and white works? We teach a course called “Financial Wellness”, and a big part of that course is setting goals and completing a vision board. When I ask participants about their goals as well as their budget, the answer I get most is, “It’s in my head.” You can bet your last dollar if it’s in your head, that’s where it will stay. Taking your goals out of your head and putting them in writing or in pictures helps to motivate you towards actions, it helps to guide your focus. As you work towards your goals, seeing the progress you make becomes addictive and gives you the momentum to keep going. But perhaps, the most important thing about intentionally setting and achieving goals, is that it builds character.
When I started my business two years ago, I was anxious and worried all the time. How am I going to survive? This is despite the fact that over the course of my working life I’ve helped companies and people change and grow from strength to strength. Over the last two years, the one significant lesson I’ve learned is that you’ve got to trust the process. Set your intentions and believe that the process will work for you. Setting your goals is the first step, but the pursuance of those goals is the real money-maker. It helps to develop your self-efficacy and allow you to prove to yourself that you can achieve the things you want to achieve. It won’t be easy, but keep trusting in the process and believe in yourself, even when others don’t believe in you. So, before you jump on the resolution bandwagon, think carefully about the things that matter most to you, what are you passionate about, what keeps you up at night, what are you hungry for, what makes your palm sweaty. Once you’ve found your sweet spot – that one thing that makes you close your eyes, lick your lips and put a big smile on your face, then its time to plan for it. Put it in writing, make a vision board, do whatever is necessary to make it happen. Here’s to a 2019 filled with success and finding sweet spots. Here’s to you and me!!!
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Judy McCutcheon is a partner in the firm Go Blue Inc, a Human Development Company. www.goblueinc.net