With 2020 in our rearview mirror, you were probably hoping 2021 would be a year for positive change on multiple fronts, right? Now, as we grind into April, all those high hopes captured in your New Year’s resolutions may have disappeared like the hopes of any team with a quarterback not named Patrick Mahomes winning a Super Bowl. Wow, I need to stop. Clearly, I’m gloating (with a smile). Let me get back on message: How can you recapture the hope the new year brought and get back on track?
Here are five ideas to reinvigorate those resolutions:
- Scale back. Let’s face it, there are a lot of areas where we can improve, financially and otherwise. However, narrowing your focus can be part of the solution. It could be that tackling multiple resolutions all at the same time has been too overwhelming. There’s plenty of 2021 left, but for now, consider focusing on one thing. Of all your resolutions, what’s the one that could make the biggest difference? Maybe it’s tackling your debt; implementing a budget that will serve as a guiding document for your spending and not an afterthought; or reinvigorating a savings plan that needs to be jump-started post-pandemic? Start small and build on it!
- Visualize success. If you’re following me, you’ve picked your goal. But before you race off to figure out how you’re going to get it done, I encourage you to spend a little time with it. Loop your significant other in. Together, define your “why?” Out of all the things out there, why this? What will things look like if you’re able to knock this out? How will your life be transformed or improved? Last fall, USAA sponsored the first Pillar Military Spouse Deployment Retreat. I was fortunate enough to participate. One of the coolest things I saw was a “vision boarding” exercise. The idea: Make what you’re working on tangible and put it front and center as motivation to do the hard work necessary to make your goal a reality. A clear and detailed vision can provide powerful motivation.
- Build a multi-step plan. While the military provided me numerous opportunities to eat foods my mom never would have put on the dinner table, I’ve never tried elephant. I do, however, love the idea of eating an elephant one bite at a time. So when you’re creating your plan to achieve big results, plan it in a way that encompasses a bunch of small, measurable and achievable steps.
- Execute, execute, execute. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a financial planner who hates planning, but years of experience have taught me: Alone, planning is not enough. Over the years, I’ve crafted some amazing plans -- I thought -- to propel people to a better place … only to see them gather dust from lack of implementation. The best plan, unexecuted, will get you where we began this article: Searching for a new beginning.
- Ask for help. At some point, we all need help. It could be expertise in a specific area, help in the form of a cheerleader, or someone to give you that nudge when you’re -- temporarily -- losing focus. Consider finding a battle buddy, so the two of you can support each other when times get tough. And don’t be afraid to call in a pro like a financial counselor on your installation or a counselor associated with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (www.nfcc.org). With the right help, you can pick up the pieces, start fresh and have a better chance of success.
Even if you haven’t gotten off to a great start, it’s not too late to make 2021 a watershed year for achieving whatever it is that’s important to you. Good luck!
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