Importance of Setting Goals

It’s a new year and that means people are either making, or thinking about making, New Year’s Resolutions. A new calendar year is supposed to be a fresh start, “New Year, New Me”, right? Well, it can be, but for most people it is often a temporary, unsustainable, change in habits that ultimately reverts back to the norm. In fact, a study by the University of Scranton suggests that of the people who made resolutions, only 8% of them were successful in achieving their goal. Additionally, they found that only 75% of resolutions were maintained through the first week. That’s right, 1 in 4 people failed to go seven days without returning to old habits.

Now I know this data can be pretty discouraging, but I still believe it is important for people to set realistic goals for themselves in their personal and professional lives. Without a general framework to outline where you’re headed and how you’re going to get there, it is easy to get off track. That is why I think it is important to take the time, if you have not already done so, to outline what your investing, trading, health, relationship goals are and how you’re going to reach them.

In 2014, I set a number of goals for myself and as you might imagine, I only fully achieved a handful of them. As I reviewed my year it became clear that the ones I achieved had a few things in common. If they help you great, if not no worries, everyone is different.

1. They were realistic – Don’t try to change the world overnight, success is the summation of a lot of small things done well.
2. I had a clear approach for achieving the goal – Without knowing what skills you’ll have to develop, resources you’ll need, etc… and how you plan on getting them, you’ll likely use your time inefficiently and unproductively.
3. I was held accountable – Whether you want to write it down, share it on a blog, tell a friend, it doesn’t matter, just get the goal out there and then get to work. If you put the goal out in the world, you don’t want someone to ask you six months later how it’s going and not have a good answer. Be accountable!
4. I was persistent 
– If it is something you really want, you won’t take no for an answer. Whether it is a rejection email, a trading loss, a failed test or whatever, take a lesson from the failure and move on. Progress is not always forward but as long as you keep at it you’ll reach your goal, eventually.

Now if you’re a cynic like me, you’re probably thinking; “Pffft, this guy is going to tell me what to do when he probably doesn’t do it himself.” You’re right, this is only the second year I’ve created this list and I’m not an expert of goal setting, but this helped me last year so why not give it a go again?

My 2015 Goals:

1. Pass CPA Exam & Get a Full-Time Offer at EY: 

  • Get a job for the spring to pay for CPA review & improve resume
  • Get CPA review materials in March
    • Study 2 hrs/day (4hrs on weekends)
    • Form study group
  • Network with 3 new people per week
  • Perform at the top of my summer internship group

2. Improve Trading Plan & Expand Blog / Social Media Reach:   

  • Social Media
    • 10k followers on stocktwits
    • 1k followers on twitter
    • Combined 20k total page views between DRC and
      • These will be achieved by creating weekly content that is relevant and informative for a variety of audiences
  • Trading
    • Only taking setups that fit my plan
    • Weekly journal & weekend analysis
      • These will be achieved by sharing all updates on the paper trading portfolio on the blog

3. Health & Exercise:    

  • Exercise
    • Perform a muscle-up with strict form
    • Perform a handstand push-up
    • Extend wall sit time to 5 minutes
      • These will be achieved by exercising Tuesday-Thursday-Saturday in between classes
      • Stretching on Saturday and Sunday
  • Health
    • Get a minimum 5 hours of sleep per night
      • I’ve yet to master sleep. I’ll let you know when I figure out how to approach this one

So there you have it, my personal and professional goals for 2015 and a quick framework for how I will achieve them. Not only will this post help me to stay focused and accountable, but I hope I encouraged you to take a few minutes to plan out your goals whether they be trading, investing or life related.

As always, if you have any questions feel free to reach out and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.


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