Goal setting is a major force in American life. Most frequently, we think of New Year’s resolutions when the subject of goal setting is raised. One study that looked at this issue found that 40% – 45% of Americans make one or more resolutions during the year.1 I am sure that you will recognize many of the most common resolutions; weight loss, exercise, smoking cessation and better money management/debt reduction.
So, what can investors do to increase their chances of sticking with a resolution? The first thing to do is to actually resolve to accomplish your goal. While it sounds simple, there is incredible power in making a resolution. In the same study cited above, the authors studied success rates based on whether the participant had made a resolution. After six months, participants who made a resolution were 10 times more likely to have stuck with their goal.
In addition to making a resolution, here are some other ideas on how to better achieve your goals. First, tell others what you are doing. For example, if your goal is to cut your credit card debt, letting other people know puts them in a position to help you. Instead of encouraging you to buy new clothes or go out to lunch, perhaps they will compliment you on bringing your lunch or opting for a “staycation” at home. Also, you may have more commitment to a goal if you know that others will be aware of your success (or failure.)
Another way to raise your odds of success is to bring in outside assistance. Another person may have different ideas or a fresh perspective that helps you set and stick with a winning plan. So, if your goal is to have your money work harder for you, it may make sense to speak to a financial advisor. While you must make the final decisions regarding your investments, a financial advisor can make sure you have considered all of your options and can help separate solid ideas from the information overload that we experience on a regular basis.
By committing to a goal, sharing that goal with others and bringing in outside assistance, you raise your chances of success. We hope you use this information to set better goals. Good luck!
For more information on Summit Brokerage Services, visit www.joinsummit.com or contact us at (800) 354-5528.
1Source: Auld Lang Syne: Success predictors, change processes, and self-reported outcomes of New Year’s resolvers and nonresolvers, by John C. Norcross, Marci S. Mrykalo, Matthew D. Blagys , University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology, Volume 58, Issue 4 (2002).
John Norcross is a co-author of Changing For Good.