As we close 2021 and look forward to 2022, this is a transition that is different than previous years. A few years ago, what we thought about was what we were going to do in the new year. Lose some weight. Adopt a new strategy. Work on some projects like cleaning things up/out, or exercising more, or starting that new whatever.
2020 and 2021 Were Different
The past two years, we’ve looked at the new year in a slightly different way. At this time in 2020, we had endured most of a year of trying not to get sick with the novel coronavirus by staying to ourselves. We had the light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel feeling that there was a vaccine that would keep us out of the hospital (and possibly dying!) and 2021 looked promising. We could set those beginning of year goals again knowing that this virus would be just a nuisance or a bad memory. But alas, we still had to deal with the virus and plans and goals continued to shift.
Looking Toward 2022
As we finish out 2021, I am looking forward to the coming year. I am reviewing my business goals to see what needs to be tweaked. (To give you a hint, I’m considering some sort of educational opportunity to teach these skills I use every day with my clients.)
I also want to continue to be a service to others when they cannot manage household finances. Whether it is someone who used to do it, and cannot any more, or someone who just wants to get it under control with someone else’s help, that brings me satisfaction. Over the years I’ve been in business, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know a number of really interesting people.
Goal-setting is something that our culture encourages at the end of each year. I’ve been doing this since I read the history of Jack Canfield’s goals for his original book, Chicken Soup for the Soul. After having his book rejected by almost every publisher he sent it to, he finally found a publisher. Once he had his inventory of books, he needed to get out and sell them. He set a goal for himself to sell some number of books in the coming year. At the end of the year, he had not met his goal, but he realized that by setting the goal, he worked toward it and sold considerably more than if he had not set any goal.
After reading that, it made sense that I should also set goals for myself because even if I don’t meet them, I will have worked toward them and accomplished considerably more than if I hadn’t even tried.
I read an article recently that suggested setting goals in four areas. However, I’ve expanded those slightly and each year I set goals in six areas. Here they are with some explanation of each:
It has been said that if you have your health and you have friends, you have all you need. So perhaps this and the next goal area could be considered the highest priorities. For relationships this covers relationships with spouses, children, friends and family.
This is, of course, what most people think of when they think of New Year’s resolutions. Join the gym! Lose weight! Feel better! The general desire is to improve the way you feel using solutions that you have control over. In 2022, as we still have Covid-19 as a health threat, this might generate slightly different goals than the usual ones we think of.
For entrepreneurs like myself, this can be critical to maintaining and growing a business. For those working for another company, this covers areas of professional growth such as a desired title, a desired change of employer or new skills to learn and apply.
Since I manage some of our family’s investments, it is very important to set goals since a set-and-forget investing strategy does not work over the long-term. This category might include learning a new skill or changing behaviors around saving and spending. Of course, as a daily money manager I would suggest that a goal can include reaching out for help in this category.
This refers to the things you like to do. This could include saving for and planning for a desired vacation. It could be as simple as getting a summer membership at some place and a goal of using the membership a certain number of times during the year to get your money’s worth. Any goals set in this category should be kept “loose” with no pressure to meet them.
Although this might not be something you think of as a goal category, it is an important area. Along with the peace we get from our health and our relationships is the satisfaction that we get from helping others. This category, then, covers giving back with finances, talents, and time. These may be combined with Hobbies/Fun Stuff because volunteering can be part of your hobbies or recreation.
The Freshness of 2022
The coming year is an open book with blank pages. How you choose to fill those pages is up to you. By the end of the year, the pages will be full of what you accomplished. You must decide what will be written there. Because if you don’t, the pages will still be full of what your life was like – it just may not be what you wanted to be written there. 2022 beckons us with the openness of opportunity. May I encourage you to not only look to guide how your live is lived, but to also to enjoy the journey by finding a joy in each day for the next 365 of them.