Keep Your Goals And Resolutions

With one month of the new year almost in the books, I thought that now would be a good time to check on how your 2015 goals and resolutions are being kept. Is 2015 the year you actually keep those goals and resolutions you set up for yourself? All too often we hear about those well intentioned goals for the new year only to find that after several months our goals are increasingly unmet. Why is there such a high failure rate for our goals and resolutions? Often, the reason for failure is not that a goal is too far fetched to be achieved, rather the reason for failure is a lack of planning. Just as we invest in income producing stocks with a future passive income stream that is planned, so to we must plan to meet our goals and resolutions for the up coming year. Here are five tips to help you plan to meet your goals.

 

First, be specific about your goal. General goals and statements might be too esoteric to quantify and thus lead to failure. Instead of having a goal to ‘lose weight’ or ‘make more money’ be specific and write down your goal and state how much weight you want to lose and when instead of simply stating, “I want to lose weight.” How do you plan to make more money? Write down a specific passive income goal for example. In this manner you can quantify your progress towards your stated goal.

 

Second, don’t bite off more than you can chew. Break your specific goals into smaller achievable and quantifiable goals instead. Going back to the losing weight example, if you stated you wanted to lose twenty pounds during the year break your weight loss into manageable smaller pieces of losing five pounds every quarter; A feat almost anyone would agree is very manageable to attain. The same is true for any financial goal you may have as well, whether you are looking to reduce debt or increase your monthly investment amount. The key is to break up your goal into smaller manageable portions. By doing this you will never feel overwhelmed by your overall goal.

 

Third, be passive rather than active about achieving your goal. Automate it as best you can. You know the saying, “out of sight, out of mind.” Pay yourself first and set up an automatic withdrawal from your paychecks and use that money to pay down debt or invest automatically. Sharebuilder, Loyal3 and many other online brokerages offer the option to set up automatic investments as well thereby taking the active management of your portfolio out of your hands. You can set up automatic purchases for any high quality dividend name you choose. In theory you can have money automatically taken from your paycheck and placed in an automatic investment brokerage and go about your day to day activities all the while building up an investment portfolio that pays a passive income stream without even noticing it.

 

Fourth, hold yourself accountable by talking about your goals and progress. Spread the word via blog, texts or social media outlets. By setting up a blog and chronicling your stock purchases and sales, for better or worse, you are making yourself accountable for your investment actions. In this manner, everyone can see your investment successes and failures and can follow along with you on your personal journey to achieving the goals and resolutions you have set up for yourself in the beginning of the year.

 

Finally, have some fun. Create an incentive for yourself as you progress towards your end goal. If, for example, you have set a goal of earning $5,000 in passive dividend income for 2015 and you have achieved it before the year ends decide on what reward you will get. Conversely, if you fail to meet your goal decide ahead of time what you will give up as a penalty.

 

Keeping goals and resolutions is obviously a very personal matter and each of us tries to get to our end goal using slightly different methods. How are your goals and resolutions coming along now that one month of 2015 is nearly gone? Do you use any of the methods mentioned above? Please let me know below.

40 thoughts on “Keep Your Goals And Resolutions

  1. I’ll report on progress with my 2015 goals in my monthly review, but I have a feeling that I’m slightly behind, especially on some my health and fitness goals. I’ve cast those in measurable quantities and I’m using a FitBit Charge tracker and a FitBit Aria scale to monitor progress. As far as my financial goals are concerned, those I track in my blog, which is an excellent way of staying accountable. I don’t use awards and penalties, though I think that’s an interesting idea. For me, achieving a very stretching goal is a great reward in itself (and, conversely, failing feels like a penalty…)

    Nice post!
    FerdiS recently posted…Dividend Increases, January 2-16, 2015My Profile

    • Hi FerdiS,

      Goals and resolutions are largely what you make of them. Too often the limiting factor in attaining any goal is ourselves. I think it’s great that you are using FitBit as a way of tracking your fitness progress and taking real, measurable notes as you march your way towards your fitness goal. Too often, we don’t quantify our goals nor measure our progress in real terms and get lost somewhere in the “vacuum of generalizations” which often leads nowhere. Regarding our financial goals I fully agree with you regarding the excellent power of the blog to help us stay accountable for our investment decisions for better or worse. I can honestly say that prior to launching DivHut and actually tracking my dividend income to the penny, that I never fully grasped the power of compounding or our dividend snowball. I have been a long time dividend investor but only last year realized and was able to fully quantify and appreciate what I am doing. Happy you enjoyed this post. As always, thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  2. Proudly sticking to my goals! I made my 2015 schedule in regards to these goals (personal, financial and professional). It is a lot easier to maintain them that way.

    • Hi DivGuy,

      Happy to hear that you are sticking to your goals one month in. Surprisingly, many don’t last beyond one or two weeks into the new year. I like your idea of creating a schedule to track your goal progress. I do agree that it does seem easier to maintain several different goals in that manner. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

      • I agree; it’s easy to find resolutions, but it’s another story to keep them going! This year, I have similar resolutions to 2014 but with a different plan. I’ve designed a schedule with my wife so we can acheive our goals together instead of doing them seperately. This is how we workout together and we identified time during the week we work on our goals (I work on my blogs and she learns Spanish).

        For me, the real challenge is keep doing this past March. I can hold a month, but three months… this is something!
        DivGuy recently posted…6 Dividend Stocks with a 3%+ Drop YesterdayMy Profile

        • Hi DG,

          I wish you well in continuing your progress towards your goal well beyond March. I think it’s great to have a partner who can encourage you along the way and provide support when you are feeling a little less motivated. The idea of a schedule kind of speaks to breaking up your goal into bite size chunks and it also allows you to measure your progress together with your wife. Thank you for sharing how you intend to keep you goals and for stopping by.

  3. DivHut,
    Excellent tips buddy! We tend to lose sight few months after we set up a New Years resolution so we make it goal instead of a resolution. Blogging is a very powerful tool, it helps me a lot on keep on track throughout the year and hold accountability.
    FFF
    FrugalitytoFinancialFreedom recently posted…Net Worth UpdateMy Profile

    • Hi FtFF,

      I never fully appreciated the power of the blog. As I mentioned in another comment, I have been a dividend investor for a long time but never fully appreciated or measured my month to month or year to year progress with my dividend income because I never set any specific investment or dividend income goals. With this blog everything has changed as I track and hold myself accountable for every purchase and every dividend received to the penny. As you said, blogging is a very powerful tool and I couldn’t agree more. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  4. It’s been difficult, but I’ve managed to stick to my goals thus far. My fitness goal is much easier to stick to than my cash reserves goal, as I hate sitting on cash instead of investing it all!

    I have also found that, because of the blog and the fact that I plan on reporting my goal progress every single month, which people will read (yikes!), that keeps me accountable.
    Seraph recently posted…Ford Announces Dividend IncreaseMy Profile

    • Hi Seraph,

      It really seems, based on the comments so far, that the blog is one of the more powerful goals and resolutions tools we have. I happen to agree with you in that respect as you come to the realization that your words written and real portfolio displayed can influence others who read as well as hold you accountable or question some of the investment decisions you make. Keep sharing your dividend income goals and purchases each month with us. I’m one of readers of your blog. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

    • Hi Tawcan,

      With one month down it’s nice to know that you have stuck to your goals so far. Too often after one or two weeks into the new year you hear people falling behind or giving up on their stated yearly goals. Small chunks is a great way to go for achieving a long term goal. It keeps you motivated and allows you to experience incremental progress. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  5. I really like points 4 and 5. Holding yourself accountable is a very important step in making sure you hit all of your goals. One of the many reasons I started my blog. To have people read your investment decisions and goals and give criticism if they do not approve or you miss a goal is a constant voice in my head now. Gotta keep the readers happy! haha.

    Most importantly, is have fun! This is all about reaching financial freedom and if you make mistakes along the way and get set back, just keep on trucking, learn from those mistakes and never give up! It will be all worth it in the end.
    American Dividend Dream recently posted…Recent Buy – T. Rowe Price Group Inc. (TROW)My Profile

    • Hi ADD,

      It sure seems that many of the comments are reflecting the tremendous importance and power of the blog. If not just for personal accountability but for your investment voice to be heard and praised or be criticized. It’s very natural to have a sense of accomplishment when achieving any goal you set for yourself and that by making it fun along the way and rewarding yourself for successes can be a great reinforcement. Keep on doing what you are doing and as you said, “It will be all worth it in the end.” Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

        • Hi Adam,

          Clearly, the notion of sharing and specifically sharing via blog posts tends to keep you honest. It definitely seems that when one sets out a specific quantifiable goal and then shares the overall progress and results one often meets those goals. Too often, we hide behind general open ended goals thinking that we’ll achieve them. But without actual milestones you set for yourself, progress becomes difficult to measure and, often times, failure is the end result. As always, thank you for commenting.

    • Hi AG,

      A goal is a goal. Whether financial, physical or emotional. It’s great that you feel on par with your financial goals. That’s just one less thing to worry about but as for your physical goals you cannot discount the value of good long term health. What’s the point of accumulating wealth if it all goes to medications and doctors? Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  6. Making things automated is a helpful tips. I’m known to be forgetful. 😛 I’m also one of those who like to beat the issue to death. :P. I can remember days when I was little, stuck on a hard math problem. Luckily I can always go to one of my 7 brothers who were all genius with mathematics, or I can’t sleep well dreaming about it. I also like different ways to approach the problem, I was one crazy geek growing up. hahah

    Another thing is cultural, we go with the Lunar Calendar, so no matter what kind of issues is hanging, we got to finish it out before the new year come. We don’t like to drag from this year to the next year, it’s consider bad luck. New year, new chapter, new experience, new things, new clothes, new places to go 😛 .

    That’s why I rarely not able to meet my goals by the end of the year.

    • Hi vivianne,

      Automating great habits, in general, is a great way to find success. I think about all the articles I have read in the past about financial planners telling clients to automate savings as well as automate investing and think to myself that if more people did that they would be a lot better off. When you automate a habit, you essentially surrender some control and let the ‘auto pilot’ take care of what needs to get done. Sometimes, we like to tinker around too much with things and often make a mess.

      I have to say that I like the concept of having to finish what you started before a new lunar year starts. This forces you close your old chapter and progress to the next without having it drag on from year to year. Congrats to you for almost always meeting your year end goals. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  7. This article serves as confirmation for me. All throughout 2014 I was really interested in learning more about investing and wanting to jump in somewhere but something held be back. I think it was more the fear of where do I put the money, where do I start and what if I mess something up. This year I finally stopped being timid about the subject and just jumped in! After some research I have chosen to begin with Betterment while continuing to learn about other methods & avenues to invest my money. So far the feeling is great! Taking the first step is the toughest but I’m glad I decided to stop wasting time and just get started. It’s impossible to learn/know everything about something before you even try it and that’s exactly what was holding me back.

    • Hi RNW,

      I’m happy that this article speaks to you. Your comment highlights a very key issue among many investors and that is of analysis paralysis. Too often we find ourselves scared to venture into uncharted waters or leave our comfort zone with respect to investing and often times fail to take the first step. I applaud you on taking that first step with Betterment and starting your long term investing career. You can never realize or know your full potential if you never take that first step. You may succeed or your may fail. You may be correct or may make grave mistakes but at least you’ll find out more about who you are and learn along the way. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  8. Great Article DivHut! Very timely to the New Year and around the time that people begin to start to waiver in their resolutions.

    I haven’t tried giving myself a carrot, but maybe I can think of something fun to treat myself to!

    Take care!
    ILG recently posted…Roth IRA Purchases for 2015My Profile

    • Hi ILG,

      It’s surprising how fast people can become derailed from achieving their goals. It seems that the first few days or weeks are always taken very seriously and soon thereafter people start to fall off their resolutions and the excuses begin to mount. The tips listed in this article seem to be followed by many of the dividend bloggers out there. Perhaps a reward is in your future too if you find success in achieving your goal. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

  9. I agree DH. I keep my blog to help keep track of my progress. I’m one of those people who’s ambitious at the beginning but then quit after a month or so. As for punishment and reward, when I reach one of my goals I get McDonalds. When I fail my goals, I get McDonalds but no fries!

    But I normally tell myself life is too short. Do your best but don’t punish yourself for failing. I agree with reasonable goals but I also believe in unreasonable goals. Never be too conservative or you’ll limit yourself. It’s better to fail reaching a star than stop halfway.
    The Broke Dividend Investor recently posted…Recent BuyMy Profile

    • Hi TBDI,

      Your comment highlights several good points about reaching for the stars and not limiting yourself too much. We hear that in the financial world too as many times it is said that being too conservative with investments can lead to very poor long term returns. Sometimes you have to go for it, as you mention. Funny about your reward/punishment though. I guess missing out on some MCD fries can be quite devastating. As always, I appreciate your comment.

    • Hi XLP,

      I’m happy that you found some value in my tips for keeping goals and resolutions. There’s no question that writing your ambitions, whether on good old paper or on a blog assists you in achieving your goals. By writing and stating specific numbers and details and outlining a schedule of bite size milestones you are able to track your progress along the way. Just simply stating a generic, open ended goal you will have a very difficult time being able to quantify and measure your progress. Here’s to keeping all goals on track throughout 2015. I appreciate your comment.

      • DH,
        I agree open ended goals are not desirable, it allows for procrastination if nothing else.
        Anyway, I’ve decided to take your advice and go for it and let my somewhat crazy goals be known. I’ve posted them to my blog.

        Thanks,
        XLP
        XLP recently posted…My GoalsMy Profile

        • Hi XLP,

          I think that’s great. You have taken that first step and shared with anyone who will read your blog. Get ready for the comments and advice. I’ll be checking out your published goals.

    • Hi DD,

      I think it’s awesome that you have completed most of your goals last year. Too often we hear about failures rather than successes. It’s great that you have found your secret recipe to stick to your goals and see them through. K.I.S.S. right? Keep it simple stupid. I guess that just works. Good luck to you as well in 2015. Thank you very much for stopping by and commenting.

  10. Keith,

    Automating is a big one for me to make sure I can reach my goals. Many of my financial goals I try to reach on full auto pilot, but my personal goals often require specific actions. As a result, I’ve noticed that reaching my financial goals is a lot easier.

    At the moment I still believe I can make all of my 2015 resolutions, but we’ll see in a few months, I guess!

    Great post!
    NMW
    No More Waffles recently posted…Dividend Income for January 2015My Profile

    • Hi NMW,

      Of course time will eventually reveal who is successful and who is not at achieving their 2015 goals. I fully agree that automating any goal makes it easier to achieve as you are not actively thinking about the goal or your progress. It just sort of happens in the background as you go about your day to day affairs. The hard part there is just setting up an automated process. After that’s done simply track the progress and make adjustments as necessary. Happy you enjoyed the post. Thank you for stopping by.

    • Hi DG,

      Point well taken. It sounds so obvious on the surface yet most of us never consider to pay ourselves first and often times find that all our income has been used up before any could be saved or invested. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • Hi DD,

      Happy to hear that you are making progress one full moth into the new year. Break your weight loss goal into very small monthly chunks to make your progress that much easier. Good luck to you as well reaching your goals. Thank you for stopping by and commenting.

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