Why You Won’t Make Any Progress on Your Financial Goals in 2017

Why You Won’t Make Any Progress on Your Financial Goals in 2017

What do you want to accomplish in your financial life during this new year? Do you need to get a better handle on your investments? Get out of debt? Change your spending? Switch advisors? Create a plan for retirement? Update your estate plan — start your estate plan? What is it that you really need to do this year?

I need to be blunt with you. You’re not going to make any progress on your goals this year. Everyone says they want their financial lives to change, but only 20% are actually ready to change. Four out of five flirt with the idea of it, dwelling on the frustration or stress they feel. But the vast majority of you won’t do anything about it.

Here’s why you won’t make any progress on your financial goals: you don’t really want to change.

I know a part of you wants things to be different, but right now that part of you is a minority. You mostly have gotten used to the way things are now. It’s like you’re made up of two Congressional parties, and the one that lost the election is the one that’s not in power right now. No matter how loudly that minority party clamours for reform, the majority wins out. I know this about you, because that’s what the statistics say. And if the change party were in power, you would have already started making progress.

In order for change to take place, there needs to be a build up of what social scientists call “activation energy.” This is the power needed to get out of bed when the alarm goes off instead of hitting snooze. Your bed is the status quo — the very warm, comfortable status quo. The easy, natural thing to do is to hit snooze and roll over. If you want to make a change (like getting up to work out), your activation energy has to be strong enough to overpower the pull of your cozy bed. But instead, the first decision you made today was probably to go back to bed.

Yes, you know you need to make a change, but honestly, you’ve gotten used to the way things are now. It’s just easier to go with the status quo, the comfortable, what you know. So when you start to fret about that issue, you hit the “inner snooze button” and go about your day. The same activation energy must come into play to make your financial desires become financial reality. A year from now, when you’re planning your dreams for 2018, will the same things be on your list?

When You Are Ready

If the time comes that the party of change wins your inner election and you’re one of the 20% who are ready to make progress, it still won’t be easy. You’ll be pushing yourself to go uphill. But when you are ready, here are three tips to help make things a little easier on yourself.

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