By ASHLEY FOLKES
There is no other time of year that reminds us of our accomplishments and encourages us to identify self-improvements for the coming year. Here is a checklist of 2019 New Year’s resolutions that can help you protect those gains you worked so hard to achieve in 2018:
1. Make your personal time a priority by scheduling “down time.” This includes vacations, long weekends, and occasional days off. It will create some excitement and will help you stay focused and motivated for a longer period of time
“We need solitude, because when we’re alone, we’re free from obligations, we don’t need to put on a show, and we can hear our own thoughts.”
2. Make planning a priority. This includes your business planning for the New Year and also comprehensive planning for your clients. Business planning is an essential tool to get the year off to a proactive start. For your clients, it adds a tremendous amount of value to their lives and will create lots of extra business as you uncover new opportunities.
“Life is what happens to us while we are making other plans.”
3. Delegate tasks to your team to free up time for you to do the things that are most impactful to your clients and prospects.
“When you delegate work to a member of the team, your job is to clearly frame success and describe the objectives.”
4. Learn something new. Make it a habit to read something regularly. Earn a new designation. Learn a new or better process. Embrace a new product or strategy.
“Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow”
5. Create an “ideal calendar.” It instantly creates more productivity. We are pulled in a ton of directions. I often ask myself at the end of the day, what did I actually accomplish and how did the day get away from me? Having things on the calendar and sticking to them can help you feel less cluttered and more fulfilled, and, in turn, eliminate stress.
“You have a choice in life. You can either live on purpose, according to a plan you’ve set. Or you can live by accident, reacting to the demands of others. The first approach is proactive; the second reactive.”
6. Get Healthy. Balancing physical and mental health is important. Business can sabotage both. Having to constantly react to our clients’ needs can cause lots of stress. We also do lots of entertaining; so, diets can become very inconsistent. Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health. It has many benefits, including improving your overall health and fitness, reducing your risk for many chronic diseases, boosting confidence, and reducing stress. Endorphins trigger an overall positive feeling in the body, which allows us to handle day-to-day challenges.
“To ensure good health: eat lightly, breathe deeply, live moderately, cultivate cheerfulness, and maintain an interest in life.”
7. Be Grateful. Gratitude improves psychological health. Gratitude reduces a multitude of toxic emotions, ranging from envy and resentment to frustration and regret. Research confirms that gratitude effectively increases happiness and reduces depression. Make a list of what you are grateful for and what you need to be grateful for in year ahead.
“Gratitude makes sense of your past, brings peace for today and creates vision for tomorrow.”
8. Get organized. I have to guard against my tendency to “let things go” or say “I’ll do this later”. This is because things get out of hand more quickly than I ever anticipate. Then it is painful to get back on top of them. Not being organized can sabotage other areas of your life. To help: write things down, make schedules and timelines, don’t procrastinate, declutter your “stuff,” discard things you don’t use and create as many scalable, repeatable systems as possible in your business.
“Clutter is not just the stuff on the floor. It’s everything that stands between you and the life you want to be living.”
9. Embrace change. Change is inevitable and embracing change encourages development. Be aware of trends that allow you to be more efficient, productive and which insulate you from being commoditized. Technology is a great place to start.
“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change.”
10. Have more fun. Life is short. Make sure you enjoy it!
Ashley Folkes, CFP®, CRPC®, RICP®, is now a Senior Vice President—Investments and Phoenix Complex Manager—at Moors & Cabot. Folkes has 20 years of experience in wealth management as a top producer, and has held several leadership roles in his career, including various producing sales management roles with Merrill Lynch, and AIG. Prior to his new position, Folkes was a founding partner and Director of Private Client Solutions for Signature Wealth Concepts, a division of AXA- Advisors.
Folkes has been a contributor in numerous financial publications and outlets, such as Morningstar, Investment News, MarketWatch, Financial Advisor Magazine and The Street. He is also a member of the Financial Planning Association and the Investments and Wealth Institute.