It’s a new year. And that means it’s the perfect time to set goals for 2022.
Whatever your investing goals are, now is the right time to define them. Get specific about what you want to accomplish. Whether you prefer to have a five-year plan or to make decisions on the fly, there are some basic steps you can take to help you reach success.
Last year I was able to accomplish all of the goals I set for myself at the beginning of the year. So I feel optimistic that I can do the same in 2022. And I feel optimistic that you can too.
So how can you achieve your investing goals in 2022?
I’ve got five easy steps you can use to create a road map. Let’s dive in.
Write It Down
The first step is to write down your goals. And then figure out how to keep them visible all year long.
In 2021, I wrote my goals on a piece of notebook paper that I left on my desk. In writing it down, I helped myself commit the goals to memory. And there was a literal paper trail to hold me accountable. Every day, I saw that paper and was reminded of what I wanted to accomplish. And that helped me stay focused throughout the year.
Write your investing goals down in whatever way works best for you. Maybe you’d prefer typing them into a Google document or using an app on your phone. If you’ve got a wall planner or a trusty notebook, those can work too. Just be sure that you’re writing them down in a place where you won’t forget about them.
Keep It Specific and Small
Make your goals as straightforward as possible. You want to be specific and focused. If you aren’t clear about what you want to accomplish, you won’t accomplish anything.
So for an investor, the goal should not be “get rich.” The goal should be “save 10% of this year’s earnings to set aside for retirement travel.” Or “invest in 25 new startups.” Or “set aside $300 every month to put into the online private markets.”
Be clear about what you want. Then go after it.
The flipside of this is that you don’t want to create an overly complex or rigid plan to reach a goal. We can’t predict the future. Any number of things – from a career change to a new relationship – can cause significant changes to your status quo. Life happens, and that will affect your goals. Be flexible. Give yourself room to meet your goals in multiple ways. Be okay with adjusting them if it’s necessary.
Once you have your goals clearly defined, you can make a plan to achieve them. The best way to do that is to break your big goals down into smaller sub-goals. Create a series of small, achievable steps – daily or weekly goals – that will help you make progress month over month.
Track Your Progress
It’s not enough to define your goals and create a plan for them. You also have to hold yourself accountable. I think tracking your progress is the best way to stay accountable.
You can be as creative as you’d like in this step. Maybe you’d prefer to track your progress the same way you recorded your goals, be that written in a notebook, typed into a document or otherwise. Planners – both physical and digital – can be great for progress tracking.
But you could also track progress visually. Play to your strengths. If you’re a very visual person, try taking photos of your progress every day. Maybe take a daily or weekly video on your phone. If you’re more of an auditory learner, try voice recordings so you can listen to your progress throughout the year.
Of course, the nature of your goals will play a big part in determining the best way to track your progress. But you have room to be creative. And the more enjoyable you make the process, the more likely you’ll want to keep going – and ultimately achieve your goals.
Celebrate Wins Along the Way
As you track your progress, make sure you take the time to appreciate your accomplishments. Even if it’s a small step – like setting aside $100 out of your $5,000 goal – it’s still worth celebrating.
This is especially rewarding if you share your goals with another person. That person can be a sounding board and a source of encouragement for you. And they can also help hold you accountable. If they share their goals with you, you can share your progress too. Celebrate small victories together.
You want to keep your long-term goals in mind. But if your long-term goal will take a year or more to achieve, you need small wins to keep you going. Reflecting on the progress you’ve made is encouraging and energizing. Don’t deprive yourself of that.
Remember Your “Why”
Finally, it’s important to keep the big picture in mind. Why do you want to accomplish these goals? What will they bring to your life? How will they help you or the people you care about?
Investors are often thinking ahead – so having a “why” is almost second nature for us. We’re often strategizing about what to do with our money so it can best serve us. And everyone’s reasons for investing may be different.
But sometimes we can become so focused on achieving our goals that we forget why it’s so important. Staying grounded in the “why” of your goals will help you maintain a balanced perspective. Maybe you want to accumulate enough money to be comfortable in retirement. Or to keep a family business alive. Or to help someone in need.
Whatever your “why” may be, keep it in mind all year long. It may even help to add it to your written list of goals. The important thing is to not lose sight of what made you want to achieve these goals. That kind of motivation can’t be found anywhere else.