Fresh Start

It’s a new year, time to reflect and a time to look ahead.   I’ve found that it’s best not to spend too much time looking backward, though. Look at what the successes were in the previous year and celebrate them?

Yes!   Take a look also of what mistakes were made and how to make sure you don’t make those same mistakes again?

The foundation of a financial fresh start actually has nothing to do with money or specific financial dos and don'ts.

Suze Orman

No doubt there are not only changes to our “environment”, things like political and economic changes for example, but also personal changes, as well.   The question I want to ask you is…  How do you respond to those changes?   Do you embrace them, or do you fight them?   Do you seek them out, or do you run in the other direction?  Definitely yes!   But think mostly about what was learned and how that learning can be leveraged to make the next 365 days even better.   As George Santayana is quoted as saying: “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

So, in all those different aspects of your life: personal, professional, financial, physical, spiritual, etc., what did you learn last year?   And more importantly, how does that changes what you want to do this next year?   I’m not just talking about generic New Year’s Resolutions (besides, by the time you’re reading this, I would bet that most of those have been tossed away already!)   I’m talking about those things that would be considered goals in your life.   (You do set goals, don’t you?) As we start a new year, here are a couple of ideas to help you with staying focused on your goals so that one year from now, you can look back at mostly successes from last year!

The first idea is an exercise that can be done either as an individual, or an entire team.   Think about your goals and what you would like to accomplish.   Then think about what would have to happen for that goal to come to fruition?   I was first exposed to this idea during a strategy session in a corporate setting.   It’s not uncommon for a team to meet after a project for what is often called a “post mortem” meeting.   The idea being to discuss what took place over the course of the project and subsequently, what went well, what could be improved, and so forth.   (Not unlike what we started talking about doing personally at the start of a new year.)   What is really helpful, though, is to have a “pre-mortem” meeting.   Discuss and determine what you would like for the outcome to be 12 months from now (your goals) and then determine what would have to happen to make those goals materialize.   This helps generate the roadmap to get you where you want to be.

The second idea becomes a way of putting the first idea to use.   Now that you know your ultimate goals – as well as the steps that would have to happen along the way to get you there – think about each decision you make in light of these steps and goals.   Look at each decision through the lens of, “which decision takes me closer to my goal(s) and which decision would take me further away?”   You essentially create a decision rule for each crossroad you come to, hopefully making the decision easier and your confidence in its result stronger.

Hopefully these ideas, incorporating an appropriate look back on the last year and a firm understanding of where you want to be a year from now, will help make next year a prosperous and successful for you, both personally and professionally.   Good luck!

~ Bud Sanders

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