Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Set goals for 2022, but be gentle with yourself

Cathryn Cunningham / Journal

Happy 2022!

It’s a new year and we often set goals as new year resolutions. But maybe you don’t feel like setting goals or celebrating this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has killed far too many people and families are stressed.

Although many people have been traumatized by the pandemic, we hope that in 2022 we can return to “normalcy”. However, given the rapid spread of the virus over the past few weeks, it is difficult to imagine what a normal condition could look like.

I suggest we set goals, but we are extra gentle with ourselves this year. Self-care is essential. After 22 years as a paid financial advisor, I am convinced that our health is our most valuable asset. A huge investment account is worthless if we don’t have our health, and health includes physical and mental wellbeing. Hence, having a goal that will help us improve our health must be our primary focus.

Next, I believe relationships are extremely important so I recommend setting a goal to improve a relationship in your life. The third level of meaning relates to our finances.

I suggest that you select one goal each in the Health, Relationships, and Finance categories. The goals should be personalized however, and if you want all of your goals for this year to be about your health then feel free. Listen to your heart as you set your goals for 2022.

Below are a wide range of possible goals in the health, relationships, and finance categories. I recommend that you use these goals as a starting point. Take at least 15 minutes of rest to think about your goals for 2022. Write them down because psychologists tell us that this will greatly improve your chances of achieving these goals.

Share your goals with someone close so that they can support you. Set small goals that are realistic. If you want to write a book, you can set a goal to write one paragraph each day.

Health

• Exercise four days a week. Think about the types of exercise that you would enjoy, and include variety. Even lying down to stretch for 20 minutes can count. In addition to the typical forms of movement, look for movement, dance or yoga videos on YouTube. There are thousands of free videos.

• Make a commitment to eat less ___________________________. You fill in the blank. You can choose sugar, processed foods, junk food, red meat, coffee, soda, alcohol, dessert, white processed carbohydrates (like white rice, pasta, and white bread), or snacks at night.

• Make a commitment to eat more ___________________________. Maybe choose natural foods, fruits and vegetables, fiber, fish, breakfast.

• Get a massage.

• See a physical therapist for help with pain.

• Take a hot bath.

• Cook more at home. Take the time to plan healthy meals and purchase the ingredients.

• Make an appointment with your doctor or dentist and take active care of your health.

• Schedule a “Mental Health” day. Don’t make any commitments or work that day.

• Read books or watch videos on healthy lifestyles.

• Go to a wellness retreat.

• Buy something that you enjoy.

• Start a gratitude journal.

• Write your thoughts in a journal or a blank book.

• Start with meditation.

Relationships

• Decide which relationship you want to improve in 2022. Make a conscious effort to call this person more often, to meet (safely) in a restaurant, or to do something together.

• Schedule a weekly “date” night with your spouse. Enjoy a nice meal and talk.

• Use less email and social media and call a friend instead.

• Take up a new hobby, such as an art, photography, computer, or gymnastics class. Attend lectures on topics that address you. Join a hiking, running, or walking group. The aim is to broaden your horizons and meet new people.

• Schedule a family reunion.

• Make an appointment for a long weekend or a special trip with old friends.

• Volunteering at a charity, soup kitchen, school, assisted living facility, or library.

• Plan a trip with your spouse or friend. (Due to the pandemic, this may have to be the end of 2022 or 2023, but you will look forward to the trip in the meantime).

Finances

• Simplify your finances. If you have three bank accounts, delete two. (Choose your preferred bank or credit union and include the other two). If you have multiple IRAs, combine them.

• Open a Roth IRA and fund it for 2022. People over 55 can contribute up to $ 7,000. Those under 55 can contribute $ 6,000. You must have “earned” income to fund a Roth IRA, so retirees are not eligible. There are also income limits for funding a Roth IRA: the modified adjusted gross income for a single person must be less than $ 129,000 or $ 204,000 for a married couple.

• Find out why you own the assets in your accounts. Whenever you work with a financial advisor or broker, ask lots of questions and ask them to clarify why certain assets are in your investment accounts. Does the asset allocation (the proportion of stocks / shares versus fixed income securities) match your risk tolerance? Most economists agree that the US stock market is about to face a major correction, but no one can predict when it will occur. There is no reason to take undue risk with your investments. If you are unhappy with your financial advisor or broker, consider switching to someone who you like better.

• Find out about any of the following: Emerging Markets; foreign investment in developed markets; US industries such as healthcare, utilities, and technology; Types of bonds (US Treasuries, corporate bonds, mortgage-backed, foreign); passive vs. active investing; Exit rates in retirement; Costs within investments; or invest in a tax-efficient way.

• Talk to your child or grandchild about money. Share stories from your life that include both wise money decisions and bad money decisions. Tell them about the tough times, including family members’ experiences during the Great Depression, how difficult it is to save a large amount of money (and teach them the dangers of instant gratification), or how dangerous credit card debt can be.

• Address any money issues that you would like to improve in 2022, such as: B. Paying back credit card debt, financing your retirement account, or spending less on food, gifts or clothing.

• Plan money for experiences (trips, concerts, family celebrations) that give you more pleasure than buying “things”.

• Good luck setting your goals for 2022. I recommend that you track your progress toward your goal on a calendar or in a journal. If your goal is to exercise four days a week, put a check on each day that you exercise. This shows the progress you are making. When you reach a goal, take time to celebrate. We often forget to give ourselves rewards, but it’s important. Treat yourself to something that you enjoy.

Zelana Montminy, positive psychologist and author of “21 Days to Resilience,” encourages setting mini-goals. She says, “Our brains work best when we break down major lifestyle changes and goals into small, actionable things.”

These small steps may seem minor, but they quickly add up to a massive improvement. Happy 2022!

Donna Skeels Cygan, CFP, MBA, is the author of The Joy of Financial Security. She served as an honorary financial planner in Albuquerque for more than 20 years before retiring in 2021. She welcomes emails from readers at [email protected]

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