The new year is a time when many of us focus on the upcoming year and what we would like to accomplish. For many of us, we plan to accomplish our objectives by setting goals. The problem with goals is they can be fleeting. One of the best examples is setting weight loss goals. We can starve ourselves and avoid foods that cause us to gain weight. However, when we achieve our weight loss goal we often times will resume eating the foods we avoided to lose the weight. Guess what happens? The weight we lost is gained again and we’re back where we started. A more effective method is to establish good eating, sleeping and physical activity habits that will, in the long run, lead to sustained weight loss. We may not lose the weight as fast, but we will effectively keep the weight off.
The goals versus habits conundrum is applicable to all areas of our lives. As humans, we instinctively want fast results and aren’t always willing to put the time and effort into something. While this is comfortable and appealing in the short-term, it can be quite frustrating and counter-productive in the long-term. It would be better for us to develop an understanding of the effort required and of the important factors surrounding the sought after outcomes in our lives.
It’s no different with investing. Developing the necessary habits of exercising patience, being disciplined in following a plan and consistently saving are the keys to success. While you may be able to attain short-term gratification by following the latest trend or chasing performance, you will ultimately be frustrated in the long-run.
So, as you look at 2020, think of the habits you need to develop to get to where you want to be. Start small and work your way up from there.