Shoot for the moon in 2015: The importance of goal-setting and personal happiness

2014-2015“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”
- Bill Gates

It’s hard to believe that we’re only two weeks away from Christmas! Where has the time gone?

Although I’m a warm weather person, I really enjoy December. I like to use this month as an opportunity to reflect on the year gone by – both the good and bad. It’s also a great time to chart out the near future so that the year ahead brings greater fulfillment.

I’ll never forget a conversation I had with my brother–in–law one Thanksgiving Monday. We were driving home from a family weekend and talking about my wealth management practice. He wanted to know how things were going and what I was doing to add value to my clients.

Full disclosure: At the time I wasn’t running my business as well as I should have been and wasn’t anywhere near as organized as I am now. After letting me talk for what was likely too long, he asked: "Do you realize that every answer you gave me started with, 'Ideally, I’d like to?'

I was taken aback. I had no idea I was operating more on hope than execution.

From that point on, I resolved to focus more on doing and less on hoping. I now understand that if I concentrate on putting one foot in front of the other every day, I’ll reach the destination I’ve plotted for myself.

I think about that conversation this time of year and reflect on how much it encouraged me to value goal-setting and planning. It reminds me of where I was back then and how far I’ve come. I’d like to urge you to do the same this month — reflect on your goals and how far you’ve come. When you’re doing it though, don’t forget to look beyond your financial situation.

When I started out as a financial advisor back in 1996, personal finances meant everything to me. I used to view the world very simplistically – more money equaled more happiness. In time, I’ve come to realize that money alone doesn’t make people happy or fulfilled.

Goal setting can have a huge impact on a person’s overall happiness and wellbeing. It makes a big difference in our lives to have meaningful objectives, be they financial, physical, mental or social.

We won’t always achieve every goal we set within the timeframe we want, and that’s okay. The point is to make progress then revisit and revise. What isn’t okay is letting a lack of planning and hard work, or a fear of failure, stop you from even trying to reach your potential. As Norman Vincent Peale once famously said, “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.”

Happy reflecting this month!

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and a prosperous 2015 and beyond!