Working Wealthy – Take A Minute

December 25, 2018

The days are shorter and, depending upon where you live, the temperature is most likely much colder.

It’s almost year-end, and in the world of personal financial planning, we’re focusing on helping our clients take stock of all they’ve accomplished over the past year.

But here’s the thing—many of us don’t take the time to reflect on all the positive things we’ve accomplished. Instead we focus on what’s next and potentially disregard all the good we’ve created.

In the area of brain science, Daniel Kahneman has made popular the concept of how we have the ability to think slow and think fast. But we cannot do both at the same time. We’re either doing one or the other.

And if you’re anything like me, you probably spend a lot of your time thinking fast. What’s the best way to get to work, how many meetings do I have today, did I lock the front door? We bombard ourselves with snippets of thoughts and ask our brain to think quickly all the time.

That’s why year-end is such an ideal time to slow down and reflect on all you’ve accomplished. We encourage our clients to think through a few different lenses when it comes to this level of contemplation.

Where did you start the year and where are you now?

This could apply to you professionally or personally, so take the thought wherever it makes most sense for you. Did you hit a savings goal that really makes you feel good about your discipline? Did you accomplish something at work or receive a promotion that affirms your hard work and focus? Did you improve a personal relationship that needed tending or more attention?

Who has helped you this year?

We have a 5-year-old and 2-year-old at home, and I’m pretty sure we remind them to say “thank you” about every 90 seconds. We’re all rather familiar with the power of gratitude. Is there someone or something that helped you have a great year? Conversely, if 2018 wasn’t exactly what you expected, did someone help you along in an unexpected way or lighten your load to make tough times more bearable? Perhaps take some time to reflect on what or who has made you most grateful this year.

What’s important for you to do next year?

Set some goals for 2019 that will help you focus on the big picture. Ruminate on what truly makes you feel good and think how you might incorporate that into your set of goals. You might be surprised how the littlest things can really make your day, week or year. And if you’re really feeling motivated, jot down a few ideas so you can look at them this time next year.

I realize I’ve laid out a lot of questions, but that’s by design. Through some self-reflection, we can hopefully recognize how much we’ve challenged ourselves and then also how much we’ve gotten done. Think of it like sweeping out the garage at the end of the summer—lean on the broom when you’re done and admire the tidy space you’ve cleared out.

And if it’s any motivation, folks that know a ton more about brain science will tell you that your ability to think slow will only enhance your ability to think fast.