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New Year: Same Old Resolutions?

The turn of the calendar year is often a time of reflection and planning. The transition from 2020 to 2021 has special meaning for many of us who fell sick, lost a job, or - worse still - lost a loved one. Today is a new day with renewed hope for our collective future and I, for one, am optimistic for a better "climate" in the coming months.

Why Make Resolutions?

A whopping 80% of New Year's resolutions fail according to an article published in Forbes1 in late 2019. It appears that the odds are stacked against us humans as we make a list, check it twice, and then find out if we are naughty or nice. But, it makes us feel good to write things down and plan them out for our annual goals. These goals (perhaps) keep us from falling deeper into mediocrity by reminding us that we CAN do better. But, WILL we?

What Are The Top 10?

In a November 2020 survey of 531 US adults, Statista2 found that 4 of the top 5 resolutions for 2021 focus on better physical and mental health. This theme continues as we look further down the list to round out the top 10. Number 6 pops out as perhaps a recent priority. It is far too easy to spend more time than planned looking at cute puppy photos or browsing recommendations for our new best friends.

  1. Exercise more (44%)
  2. Eat healthier (42%)
  3. Enjoy family (34%)
  4. Lose weight (31%)
  5. Live economically (30%)
  6. Limit social media (24%)
  7. Improve job performance (23%)
  8. Reduce job stress (20%)
  9. Quit smoking (19%)
  10. Reduce alcohol (15%)

One of the challenges of these resolutions is that they are typically rather vague and they may not be attached to a timeline with specific dates. Another challenge could be listing too many competing priorities for our time (exercise more vs. working more). Those of us who are fortunate enough to work remotely have more time to dedicate toward a simpler and healthier lifestyle.

Who Is Accountable?

One of the easiest ways to increase the likelihood of keeping our resolutions is to set SMART goals. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. Creating and documenting a SMART goal is a great start to make it a reality. Sharing that goal with another person (roommate, family, friends, or coworkers) is the next step to make sure we stick to our plan. Touching base with that accountability partner at pre-planned intervals is the icing on the cake.

Another spin on the SMART goal concept is called a HARD goal. In this case, the letters represent Heartfelt, Animated, Required, and Difficult. They have to be important in order for us to feel the pressure for completion. Simple and easy goals are often thought of as "nice to have" rather than "pound the table" mission-critical milestones that are both urgent and important. These four words warrant some further description.

  • Heartfelt - the motivation must come from within our deepest core for the goal to be relevant to our success.
  • Animated - the more we can visualize ourselves performing the tedious tasks required to achieve the goal, the more likely we will complete them.
  • Required - the only way to define our own success leads directly through this goal.
  • Difficult - If it were easy, it would already be done.

We have all seen family, colleagues, and personalities achieve great things. This is often reflected in photos - or videos - of a graduation, promotion, or awards ceremony. What we rarely see is the countless hours spent doing the tedious tasks that made their success look easy and instantaneous.

How We Help!

JQR Capital is about to publish a "Leaderboard" on our website to document our client goals and show their progress toward those goals. All entries will use a hybrid of the SMART and HARD approaches and will be sorted by the latest update timestamp. The table below shows a mock up of this idea that we plan to put into effect on Monday, February 1.

PersonAgeGenderGoalProbabilityTrendUpdate
JQR56MRetirement99%^2020-12-31
ABC42FCollege63%^2020-12-30
DEF34MDebt54%v2020-12-29
GHI36FHouse75%-2020-12-28
JKL62MBoat18%^2020-12-27
MNO24FCar36%v2020-12-26
PQR49MRetirement55%-2020-12-25
STU45FCollege62%^2020-12-24
VWX27MDebt89%v2020-12-23
XZA37FHouse48%-2020-12-22


Please contact us if you would like to join our leaderboard. We hope you reach all of your goals for 2021 - and beyond. Thank you so much!

References

1https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2019/12/21/the-top-3-reasons-new-years-resolutions-fail-and-how-yours-can-succeed/?sh=1f5151ed6992

2https://www.statista.com/chart/23812/most-popular-new-year-resolutions-americans/

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