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Life Goals

A Look Back at 2005
by DeDe Jones, CPA, CFP™

2005 is almost done. Another year has sped by, with all of our busy schedules, family commitments, and putting out fires. Which squeaky wheel got your grease this year? Now’s the time to take a look back, and see what you might adjust for the New Year.

Let’s start with this holiday season. Enjoy it! Remember the meaning of the season, regardless of what religion you do (or do not) practice. Try not to get into the mindset that says you have to get the perfect gift for each person and go into credit card debt just to have a nice holiday. Step back, hug your kids, your parents, your spouse, your friends. Take someone out to lunch. Go see the lights at the City and County building downtown. Decorate your house because you like the process, not because you’re obsessed with the results. Managing the holiday stress is so important – for you and for those you love. Remember: however it turns out is just right.

If you’re like most people, you’ve been keeping a closer eye on the other people in your family than you have on yourself. Have you neglected having a physical exam this year? What about a mammogram, PSA test, eye or ear check-up? OK, you’re probably not going to do it on December 20th, but you could schedule it for January. Your family needs you here, which requires you to take care of your physical health.

What have you accomplished professionally this year? Do you like your job, or the business you run? Do you dread Monday mornings, or do you feel blessed to make a living doing something you love? If this is another source of stress, give yourself permission during this “end of year” season to think about alternatives. You are literally never too old for a change! Being a “Professional Victim” never solved anyone’s problems, it only keeps you stuck in a place that drains your spirit.

How could you change your circumstances? That’s what goal setting is all about. Without goals, dreams, we just keep spinning our wheels, doing the same things over and over again. Same stuff, different day. It’s tough not to feel like a hamster on a wheel when you’re in that mode. So make it better, don’t wait for someone else to do it for you. Change jobs. Adjust your company’s emphasis. Work with different types of clients. Make your financial goals such that the changes are possible, so you can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Lastly, sometimes it helps to stop looking at ourselves, but to look around us at others. Yes, we have to be cognizant of our wants, needs, goals, but we can get to the point where we only think of ourselves. What do you do for others? You may be surprised to find that unselfishly helping others does more for you than it does for them, and it does so much for them. Show your kids, by example, that a city is made up of small towns (neighborhoods), and it’s so important that we help our neighbors, and those less fortunate, whenever we can. And not just during the holidays, all the time. Writing checks to charities is wonderful – getting in and helping out physically feels even better. Deliver meals to the elderly, clean up a stretch of roadway of litter, volunteer at an animal shelter, whatever interests you…..expand your world, and you’ll expand your heart.

Life goals. Money goals. In that order.

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