Be Resolute: Part 2 – The Foundation

Monday, December 29th, 2008 by Charles Mayfield, CFP®


Let’s talk about the particular aspects of a New Years Resolution and how someone should approach setting one.  The first thing I would like to get out of the way is changing the name of this resolution to simply a goal.  What is a goal?  It’s a desired outcome.  The secret in goal setting is making it such that achievement is in fact possible.  Allow me to offer up the following criteria for your New Year’s Goal that will make it easier to track and follow through with:


-         A goal should be measureable

-         Goals need to have a specific time frame to be accomplished

*In this case, certainly within a year

-         They must be realistic

-         Must be personal goals (meaning they need to be yours…not someone else’s)


Goals with these characteristics should give you a leg up on actually seeing them through to the end.


A survey done by found that 3 out of the top 5 New Years resolutions were financial in nature (the other two were health).  When considering what your resolution will be for 2009, please try to stick to the rules mentioned above.  Here is a little further explanation of each:


  1. Measurable: Saving more money in 2009 is not measureable enough.  How about (if eligible) saving $4000 in an IRA in 2009?  Maximizing a contribution to my 401k is also measureable enough.
    1. The more specific you are with your ‘measure’, the more on task you can stay
  2. Specific Time frame:  “I’m going to quit smoking”…no, that doesn’t work.  Try, “I’m going to quit smoking on February 5th 2009”.
    1. That gives me time to plan how to achieve my goal
    2. It allows me time to recruit people to assist me with my goal
  3. Realistic:  I don’t know if you necessarily need an example here since reality is quite different for all of us.  However, most of us live within certain common themes.  A great example would be the recent stock market woes we have seen.  We are all subjected to that influence in our lives.  Don’t tie the performance of an uncontrollable factor into your goals success (like the stock market).
  4. Personal Ownership:  We are all guilty of jumping on the New Years Resolution band wagon.  Don’t be pressured into coming up with something.  This happens so many times with close friends and spouses.  We are backed into a lifestyle change that we may not be ready for or willing to give up.


If you’re going to take the time to build a goal, you might as well do it right.  This will only increase your chances of success and therefore your chances of positive change in your life.

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