2022 has drawn to a close. For many it still has been a stressful year post pandemic. For some it was a great year. Wherever you fell on the scale from stressful to hard to happy and healthy or a mix of both or somewhere in between, the new year provides an opportunity to reflect on the past and to gear up for your 2023 goals and dreams. It feels new and fresh and the possibilities are endless.
So what do you typically do at the beginning of a new year? You excitedly write down your New Year's resolutions …. But what inevitably happens? You go strong for a couple of weeks and then go back to your usual habits. Studies show that only 8% of people who make a resolution keep them all year and over 80% have failed by February. Wow! That is a staggering statistic. As advisors/planners whose whole profession is based on helping people plan their lives around money--are we any better at following through with our resolutions? My guess is we are not. It is the same problem we have with our clients, getting them to act and implement the advice. It is not easy. We need to keep the clients engaged in the process and not give them a big book of complicated ideas! And we would do well to listen to our own advice!
If you are looking for a fresh take on New Year's resolutions, this new solution is for you to stay engaged and focus on what matters.
Do this right now! Rip up your New Year's resolutions. Ditch them… Say goodbye. Instead, make these 7 intentional choices for a great 2023.
1. Take the Wheel of Life Assessment
This interactive assessment powered by Noomi is free, fast and gives you a holistic perspective of where you are with the following areas: health, career, love, spirituality, family, money, fun, and friends. You rate the areas of your life 1-10 and you can take this whenever you want throughout the year. You can take this at the beginning of the year, in the middle of the year, and at the end of the year to see where how things have changed and where you need to improve. Pick 2-3 areas you want to improve this year and see what happens each time you take the assessment.
2. Focus on one thing at a time
Wait a minute, only one thing? Yes… James Clear, author of Atomic Habits writes about this extensively and researchers have found that people are more likely to succeed and implement when focused on one goal at a time. So prioritize and find that one thing you want to start with and get after it! If you want to go all in and have a clear and compelling mission this year for you or your firm, go for the BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal). According to Jim Collins, the critical point of the BHAG is to ask these questions: "Does it stimulate forward progress? Does it create momentum? Does it get people going? Does it get people's juices flowing? Do they find it stimulating, exciting, adventurous? Are they willing to throw their creative talents and human energies into it?"
3. Find a community or tribe this year
Or build deeper relationships with the people you know. Accountability is key in generating progress and the failure to establish a support network is one of the most common mistakes people make. Find people that will be there for you. I check in with my mastermind group of advisors every month. That has made a huge difference for all of us this year. I am also part of the Females and Finance community. I am also looking at meeting new people and stepping outside of my comfort zone. One conference that really has piqued my interest in 2023 is SHIFT. This conference is focused on building deeper relationships with clients and prospects.
4. Eliminate something
There is so much to do, lists to check, clients to serve. Say no to something. Get rid of something. By doing this it will give you more room to grow and expand in ways you didn't think was possible. Go buy Greg McKeown's book on this, Essentialism. One of the book's main messages is, "Do less, but better." Are you stretched too thin? Are you overworked? Have you lost your mission? Is your firm headed in the right direction? This book is about regaining control, focusing on what matters, and will help you get back on track for 2023 with what is most important to you.
5. Focus on career growth
Ask yourself, are you thriving at work? What does your firm offer in terms of career growth? Is it time for a change? Or if you are a leader of a firm or solo practitioner, what are you doing to grow your team or yourself? Find one thing this year that will help you be better, whether as a leader in your firm, or an advisor to your clients. Is there a career pathway where you are? Is there a project you can take on to challenge you? If not, maybe help design one. Or move to firm that better aligns with your career goals. Mindy Diamond and Louis Diamond of Diamond Consultants have written an outstanding article for advisors on contradictions of 2022 and emerging trends for 2023. Mindy and Louis suggested this past year “would become the year of more in which all constituents would have greater expectations than ever before. That is, clients wanted more from their advisors; advisors wanted more from their firms; and the firms, too, wanted more from their advisors." And 2023 will continue as a time for "advisors to take greater control of their business and life".
6. Focus on your well being and mental health
Health is wealth. It is no secret that the state of mental health in the US is getting worse. I found myself this year struggling to juggle career, family, and my health. Were you in the same boat? Two people in our industry are doing some really cool things in the financial advisor space to help. Travis Parry is focused on achieving balance for advisors and has written a book called Achieving Balance. And Stevyn is a wellness coach for financial folks. She will help you and/or your firm build a plan for 2023. Find time this year to make your health your priority. It could be as simple as taking a walk a day, meditating, eating better, dancing, playing pickleball, yoga, or finding something that fits you! Find something that gets you moving and energized!
7. Set a date for a strategic planning day for your business and your personal goals
This is the year to level up. Matt Sonnen, founder and CEO of PFI Advisors, encourages you to think about the what, not the why for strategic planning for your business. What small steps can you take this year to make this year the best year yet? Here are a couple of ideas: Ditch old and outdated technology and make a better overall experience for your clients.
Have you done a client survey? Ask your clients what matters. This year may be the year you learn something new from them and had no idea the impact it will make in your practice. Try something new this year. Do you currently do client meeting in surges? Stephanie Bogan, Founder & CEO of Limitless Advisor Coaching suggests scheduling your client meetings in surges. Try it and see if it improves productivity. There are number of ways to make an impact this year personally and professionally. Prioritize what matters in your life and business. And have a laser focus towards that.
What’s next? Grab a glass and cheers to 2023. You got this. Take a deep breath and really focus on what matters this year. Find someone that will be there for you when life gets challenging and throws obstacles in your face. Because that will happen. What will get you back on track if you need it? Maybe 7 steps feels like too much? Pick one from above and start there. Do what you can. The biggest thing is that you stay engaged and focus on what matters to you and what is going to have the biggest impact in your life and career. And finally: make sure to have a little fun along the way!