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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Writing It Down

"I want to lose some weight."  "I want to eat better."  "I want to take more time off."  "I want to get out of debt."  These are just a few of the many phrases I hear once the clock strikes midnight on January 1 each and every year.  And what’s wrong with these statements?  Well, absolutely nothing if a person wants to stay the same.  Because, despite the thought of desired improvement, these statements stay just that-thoughts-until they are put into action.

So how do we turn a thought into reality?  First, it starts by making specific goals. "I am going to go to the gym 4 days a week."  "I am going to eat 1800 calories or less a day."  "I am using all of my allotted vacation time this year."  "I am going to pay off my student loans in 2018."  These are specific goals that are more likely to be accomplished.  

Secondly, the goals need to be written down in a place that can be seen each and every day.  Writing down goals and stuffing them into a drawer to never be seen again will probably not help.  Write them on a note card and put them on your bathroom mirror, in your car, on your desk...what better way to hold yourself accountable than to have to read the exciting goals you wanted to achieve at the beginning of the year?

As you accomplish each goal put a little check mark by it.  You would be amazed by the happiness felt when you glance at your goal list and notice a few check marks.  I would hazard a guess that seeing a couple of check marks might just motivate you that much more to strive to complete another agenda item or two.  Notice a pattern here?

The same strategy can work when it comes to achieving financial goals.  "I want to retire at 60." "I want to have no debt other than my house." "I want to leave a legacy to my grand kids."  These goals don’t happen overnight.  It must start with paying off a specific debt or two this year, maxing out a Roth or 401k this year, and building on that momentum next year.  The best way to get on track financially is to meet with your financial advisor to comprise a financial plan. Then, meet with your advisor, at least annually, to make sure you’re on track and to hold yourself accountable.  Before you know it, you’ll be on your way toward achieving your goals!

Ryan P. Smith, ChFC®, CASL™, CFP®, AEP®

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.