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Ending the Year Right Part I!

There is still time!

Happy November Folks! I typically spend the November blog reminding you to plan out your holiday shopping (can never plan too far ahead!), especially since many of us treat holiday shopping like it's an emergency. It's not, y'all. It comes around every year. But this year, I decided to give you all a gift instead. And that gift is encouragement with a little mix of faith in yourself.

I know that at the end of the year many of us start looking back on what we have (or have not) accomplished and looking ahead to what we want to do next year. Some of you might already be looking at the goals or new year's resolutions you set for yourself this year and chastising yourself for not actually achieving them. Well, I'm here to tell you that you've still got time left! You have two whole months to get started or continue moving toward those goals. To that end, I'll be writing a two part series on ending the year right.

If you're like me, you might feel defeated and when you realize you either haven't started, or stopped progress toward, one of your goals. Let's address that first. It is not out of the ordinary to feel annoyed or disappointed in yourself because you didn't go through with what you said you'd do. What would really be tragic though, is if you let that feeling stop you from trying again. Just because you stopped or never started, doesn't mean you can't start again now! Two months is nothing to sneeze at, and can give you a running start to the new year. So brush off those goals and choose one to make progress on.

Let me give you an example from my own life: investing. If you've been following my blog, you'll see that for about two years, I've been writing about, researching and learning about investing. I'll let you in on a little secret: I was scared to invest! Having an investment plan was on my goals list for two years, y'all. And I kept looking at the goal and looking at the goal and doing nothing. Fear held me in place for far too long.

Finally, in July of this year, I'd had enough. I'd been carrying the weight of guilt for letting myself down, and not living in my value of Fierce Finances for too long. I'd been using research and preparation as an excuse not to take action. So I set a deadline of the end of September to have an investment plan that I felt comfortable with. And I set an amount I'd be comfortable investing. I refreshed myself on why I wanted to invest, i.e. what were the long-term goals I was trying to achieve, chose a method of investing (Ellevest for my ladies!), and then I just did it. And I did it before my September deadline. By August I had made a plan and taken action. July and August: two months. See what I did there?

Here is the secret to investing: just do it. Pick an amount you feel comfortable losing, whether that is $10 a month or $100 a month and just invest in something. Work those muscles so that when you want to invest larger sums, you've already rode the waves of emotion watching your small amount of money go up and down. Because the ups and downs will come.

Maybe the goal you want to work on isn't investing. Maybe it's spending more time with family, or meditating more, or finally creating a budget. Regardless of what your goal is, here are some tips to help you end the year making progress on that goal rather than carrying the same goal to the next year.

  • Remind yourself of your motivations: Why are you doing this? What do you hope to learn about yourself, grow into, or be able to do as a result of accomplishing this goal? Your why has to mean something to you in order for you to do this. If your why doesn't resonate deeply with you, then maybe the question is: should this even be a goal of mine?

  • Set a deadline: Determine when you are going to make progress on this goal (not necessarily complete it) by and put that time on your calendar; or as a reminder on your phone; or tell your friend. Use whatever method will hold you accountable to the deadline so that you start to create a sense of urgency for yourself.

  • Pick a small first step: All you have to do to make progress is start with one first step. My first step to achieving my investment goal was to have a conversation with my cousin. He does investing and I wanted his advice. Maybe your step is setting the alarm for your morning workout, or writing a grocery list so that you don't buy lunch every day next week. Whatever that small first step is, commit to taking it.

I know that you can do this. You are dedicated to improving yourself, whatever that looks like, and may just need a little boost to get you started. Here is the boost: Time is a gift. You get to chose what to do with it. Don't let another day go by at the status quo. Don't let fear keep you in place for another minute. Take that first small step. I can't wait to see where it takes you.

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