New Year’s Day is my favorite day of the year. With New Year’s Day comes New Year’s Resolutions which bring hope and optimism for the year ahead. Every year, for the last fifteen, my wife Susan and I sit down and list out our personal and family goals for the year. Some years we knock it out of the park and hit all of our goals which have included completing a marathon, planning a family vacation and everyone’s favorite resolution: losing weight. However we are not perfect and most years our goals end up forgotten before Punxsutawney Phil comes out of the ground looking for his shadow. According to Statistic Brain we are not alone as 42% of New Year’s Resolutions are forgotten past one month.
Good news: although Punxsutawney Phil has already arrived the year is far from over and you can still hit reset and achieve your new year goals. In financial planning for Insurance Brokers I have found that many resolutions for brokers center on increase sales and financial independence. Much like my resolution of losing weight, agents can achieve their goals by concentrating on the following three areas when setting (or resetting) New Year’s Resolutions:
- Focus – Year after year I kept falling short on my New Year’s resolution of losing weight and attaining better physical shape. This changed once I narrowed my goal from losing weight to completing a marathon. By having a narrow focus of completing the race my goal of lost weight was completed with my crossing of the finish line.
In setting your financial goal, focus on the action that will achieve your goal. Rather than a goal of making $300,000 in commissions, focus your goal on growing your specific industry by x % or meeting one new business owner prospect in your specific industry each week. A result of your narrow focus will be an increase in sales which will lead you to your ultimate goal.
- Keep Score – In training for my marathon I tracked my mileage every week and I posted my training plan on the refrigerator so every time I went for a scoop of ice cream I was reminded of the progress I had made (most times that was good enough to keep me from opening the freezer).
In focusing on your resolution have a tracking system to measure your progress. Successful agents review their sales on a pipeline report every week to measure progress. The pipeline report (like my marathon sheet) will have past success listed and future prospects identified. Having built-in measuring sticks for your resolution will provide the necessary confidence to keep you focused on your goal.
- Have a Coach – The year I resolved to complete a marathon I relied on my wife to act as my accountability coach. Susan would gently nudge me out of bed at 6am on Saturday morning to remind me that I better start my 18 mile run early to avoid the summer heat. Of course I didn’t appreciate the nudge until I was complete.
For whatever your New Year’s resolution is, find an individual that can act as your coach to hold you accountable to your goal. Be sure that person has a genuine interest in your success.
New Year’s Resolutions are a great tool to help you become a better version of yourself. Don’ beat yourself up for failing to hit your goal. Hit the reset button and restart your new year with an increased focus to achieve your desired outcome… Life is a marathon not a sprint.
BDF’s Commercial Insurance Practice Group understands equity compensation and the valuation of business and uses this knowledge to help insurance professionals develop financial plans while minimizing tax bills. Whether working with a producer or business owner, we focus on one’s individual goals, family involvement and living a full life.
Jim King, CPA, CFP® is an owner and wealth manager at BDF where he leads the Commercial Insurance Professionals Practice Group. He uses his understanding of the insurance industry to help insurance professionals maximize their prime earning years, develop a discipline around saving those earnings and put a plan in place to best utilize assets. His focus on creating financial blueprints for his clients has earned him recognition as a “Five Star Wealth Manager” by Chicago Magazine.