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16 Dec 2021

Making New Year's Resolutions Work

Setting goals AND using goals are linked but different things. A bit like having a Christmas cookbook but never getting it off the shelf!

Do you sometimes resolve to do something - like exercising more?!? - without setting a goal for why you’re doing it? Or vice-versa? Is a goal without action to be a dreamer? Is action without a goal to be a busy fool?

Goals exist in layers. Below are two examples to explain how they can best work:

1. Gold, Silver and Bronze Goals

We’ve all heard of gold, silver and bronze medals. Instead of setting “achieve or fail” goals, set tiered ones.

  • Gold - the best I could dream of. Rare. Gold is wonderful!
  • Silver - pretty challenging and very satisfying if achieved
  • Bronze - the minimum acceptable as success. Still a medal. Better than nothing!

Using health as an example (this seems relevant with all the over-eating at Christmas!). If the overall aim is to feel healthy, then the goals could be:
Gold - exercise three times a week, cut out junk food completely
Silver - exercise twice a week, cut down on junk food
Bronze - exercise once a week, try to eat healthily

2. Outcome, Performance and Process Goals

When these three are complimentary they work beautifully together!

  • Outcome - the overall aim, the ultimate goal, why?
  • Performance - your indicators of progress
  • Process - what you will actually be DOING

To stick with health as an example:
Outcome - feel physically and mentally healthy. Happy with my lifestyle
Performance - a weekly score out of 10 for how are you feeling? Weekly measures like weight and waist
Process - move more, be active every week, be conscious of what you eat, snack healthily, tell others your goals, use others’ support, eat more plants, walk don’t drive, drink less often

You could apply both principles to the world of personal finance. You probably already have.

At their best outcome, performance and process goals join together as one. Start by writing the outcome and then remind yourself of it as often as you need. But focus on the process a lot! Improvement comes here! Check on progress as appropriate.

As you reflect on 2021 and look forward to next year, view it as an opportunity to try something new in your resolutions!

Pictured Below: 'Everyday Performance' by Jim Constable and Barry Wyatt – "an entertaining, informative and easy read on how to perform better at what you do!"

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