How Advisors Can Set Goals That Really Count

Welcome to 2021! You’re being encouraged to set new goals. You’re still feeling burned out from 2020. You’re needing to catch your breath. Where do you go from here?

Hey, it’s 2021 It’s time to set these New-Year objectives and get about pursuing them! But that’s the last thing you feel like doing as an advisor.

We had no idea what last year was going to bring to us, and understandably, you’ve started this year probably fatigued. I’ve checked in with a number of advisors, and they know they need to set these goals and objectives for 2021, but they’re not rushing to do it because they’re tired. They’re exhausted.

2020 had your clients coming to you, not talking about market returns, but talking about job furloughs and then job losses. You were counseling clients who were trying to figure out, How do I run a business from home while I entertain three school-aged children as well? These were issues and situations you had no idea were coming your way. Even though the page of a calendar has turned, emotionally, physically, mentally, we’re still tired and catching our breath. Marie Swift just published a great research article called Conversations That Matter. It cites some examples of what advisors have gone through and how they helped their clients cope, but understandably, also the fatigue that it brought them and the load that advisors have carried this last year.

So, this post and the next three posts are about setting objectives and goals for 2021. They’re also recognizing the fact that, as advisors, we’re tired. So I’m going provide you with four weeks of systematized steps to help you walk through this very important process of goal-setting that you need to do so that you can work through them and really own the goals that you set—not just to tick a box, but to have these goals become part of your daily, weekly, monthly process. To have goals that really count and really give you the greatest chance of achieving them.

Don’t worry about the time of year. You’re not too late. Strava put out a great research article, showing that more than 80% of people who set New Year goals left them by the second Friday of January. That means by January 15th, the majority of people who set New Year goals will have left them and not come back to them.

Interestingly, 90% of people who set goals and write them down are still pursuing them some nine months later! That’s where we want to be—in that 90% of people that are pursuing our goals some 8, 9, 10 months later. So here’s how we’re going to do that:

  1. Consider your business goal and what you’d like to achieve by year-end this year. And not just in business: consider what you’d like to achieve in your physical goals, with your relational goals and with spiritual goals. Your business is just one component of your life, so consider these four key areas and where you’d like to be by December 31, 2021.
  2. Write it down. Just make a brief note: I’d like to be fitter, I’d like to lose 10 pounds, I’d like to have 10 new ideal clients, for example. Then leave it at that. Don’t come back to it and keep editing. Just write down broad headlines, and then leave what you’ve written there.
  3. Keep thinking about what you want to achieve this year. Don’t worry about coming back to change what you’ve written down. Just keep what you want to do top-of-mind: keep it tumbling over in your mind and see what starts to build from those initial ideas.

Go ahead and take these three steps because next week we’re going to talk about the next step to take. We’ll cover turning your achievement ideas into Target Goals and how to think about each of your goals incrementally so you can put down something measurable that excites you and sets you up to achieve what you really want to master by the end of 2021.

Related: 50 Shades of Green: Better 2021 Planning for Financial Advisors