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As we close in on the end of the first quarter of the year, now is a good time to check in on your resolutions. While in theory, resolutions are great, the reality is that resolutions are merely wishes unless you have an action plan to achieve them and habits in place to help keep you on track. From health and wellness goals to financial goals and beyond, the key to sustainable success is to ensure that for each goal or resolution you have, you pair it with an action plan that encourages the development of new habits. Our habits directly impact our choices, so it is vital that if we are looking to create change, we focus on creating new habits.

They say that it takes 21 days to develop a new habit. Consistency is key and habits carry with them muscle memory that needs to be developed. When looking at creating financial change such as saving for a home, a special vacation, or paying down debt, a critical step is looking at what choices are necessary to bring each goal to life. Our choices need to align with our roadmap to get to our goals – otherwise, we will be left with lofty wishes met by choices that are not synergistic with the overall goal.

When defining your financial goals, here are important steps that will help position your goals for success:

Step 1: For each goal, consider what habits you currently have that need to shift in order to support the goal.

Step 2: Determine what new habits you need to create to support the development of each goal.

Step 3: Decide how you will implement the behavioral choices needed to create the new habits you have outlined needing to create.

Step 4: Choose an accountability partner who can help keep you on track. This could be a spouse, family member, friend, or even your financial adviser. This person can help play a critical role in helping keep you on track or get you back on track when needed.

It’s more common than not by the end of the first quarter of a new year for most people’s resolutions to have fallen by the wayside. Nearly every time this happens it is because a proper plan was not in place to create sustainable change. However, knowing this, you can outsmart the statistics to not only achieve your goals – but exceed them. I challenge you to be uncommon. Develop the habits needed to create the financial future you have envisioned. Change after all does not happen in one giant leap – but rather in a series of small steps that add up over time.

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