Two Secrets to Crushing Your New Year Goals – Solid Advice From Warren Buffett

Resolutions / Goals / Finance / Money

Do you feel behind when it comes to achieving your monthly, quarterly, or yearly financial goals?

In the past, things worked out great at the beginning because you were making progress and crushing your goals. But wait… two months in and you realized that something’s changed. What happened? Why did you suddenly stop?

Did work get in the way?

Are you a busy parent?

Or did you just lose all of your motivation?

Maybe all of the above.

Whether your goal is to save more money, get fit, or become the winner of America’s Got Talent, it’s important to work on them and stick to your plan. If you reallyyyyyyy wanted it that badly, you’d go get ’em, Tiger!

Today, I will share with you an approach that tends to work more often than not. Just hold your horses before we get to that section. 😉

 

In one of my previous posts, 11 New Year’s Resolutions That Will Improve Your Finances (#11 is a Game Changer), I talked about goals that would make you financially (and physically) healthier. If you haven’t read this post yet, go ahead and check it out. You’ll love the last two tips!

Now, it’s great to set New Year goals and actually achieve them. But according to Joesph Luciani from U.S. News, about 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February. No matter how good your intentions are, that’s just the unfortunate truth.

Fortunately, there are two secret ingredients that can help you!

 

New Years Resolutions / Goals / Warren Buffett

 

Secret #1: Why do we fail to reach our goals?

According to this same article, it’s aligned with what I wrote in my post as well. Luciani says:

Unless you first change your mind, don’t expect your goals to materialize. As the saying goes, it’s not the horse that draws the cart, it’s the oats.

 

Yes, your mind and how you think will motivate you to act. In addition to changing your mindset, there’s an approach I recommend when listing out your goals.

“Well, what’s that?” you ask.

Some of you may have heard the story about Warren Buffett and his personal pilot, Mike Flint. But if not, here goes.

 

Secret #2: A Bedtime Story of Mike Flint’s goals

According to this story told by Mike Flint, Warren Buffett asked him to do the following:

– write down a list of his top 25 career/life goals
– review the list VERY carefully and circle his top five goals
– separate his top five goals “List A” (circled) from “List B” (his other 20 goals that are not circled)

Once that was done, Flint told Buffett that he will work on his top five immediately.

“And what about the ones you didn’t circle?” Buffett asked.

Flint’s response was: “Well, the top five are my primary focus, but the other 20 come in a close second. They are still important, so I’ll work on those intermittently as I see fit. They are not as urgent, but I still plan to give them a dedicated effort.”

Ah, that makes sense! Sounds good, right?

Goals - Nope
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Buffet replied, “NO! You’ve got it wrong, Mike. Everything you didn’t circle just became your avoid-at-all-cost list. No matter what, these things get no attention from you until you’ve succeeded with your top five.”

 

“The difference between successful people and very successful people is that very successful people say no to almost everything.” – Warren Buffett

 

 

Unless you’ve achieved your top five goals, say no to everything from #6 to #25 regardless of how great they are!!

So, here’s an example of how the two lists should look:

New Year's Goals / Resolutions / Warren Buffett

 

Eliminate, Prioritize, and Focus

Less is always more. It’s a philosophy I go by.

According to the story, Warren Buffett says to eliminate even the “good options.” To him, the other 20 goals on your “List B” are just a distraction no matter how great they sound.

I know that there are so many great opportunities out there, but the truth is we can’t catch ’em all.

 

I mean, we only have a pair of hands, right?

Not to mention, we have 24 hours in a day but only about 9 to work with (and most of that time is spent at your job). This is after factoring:

– eight hours of sleep

– an hour or two to get ready (for women)

– half an hour to poop (for men)? BTW, who uses money to wipe their… you-know-what?? haha…

Stick To Goals - Bitmoji poop
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– an hour or two of total commute time to work, and back home

– another two to three hours to eat your breakfast, lunch, and dinner (even longer when you’re spending time with your friends and family)

 

For goodness sake, can you believe that 16 hours is dedicated to sleeping and just doing the basic stuff to live?? It’s no wonder why Warren Buffett says to only focus on your top five career/life goals and just forget the rest (for now)!

Overall, there’s only ONE of you!

 

I recommend you to read this awesome article If You Commit to Nothing, You’ll Be Distracted By Everything, by James Clear. In this article, he brings up the “complete it or kill it” approach. Clear says if something is really important to you, then complete it. If not, kill it.

It’s better to have five goals accomplished than 25 that are a quarter to half completed. The truth is that nothing will ever get done in the latter. Again, less is always more – and I mean A LOT more!

 

It’s okay to set short-term goals that eventually become longer-term.

So far, I’ve been talking about longer-term goals (okay, maybe your “2018 resolution” isn’t a long-term goal, but you get what I mean).

Aside from thinking about career/life goals, you can also apply Buffett’s strategy to your quarterly, monthly, or even weekly financial goals. A great way to do this is to set short-term goals that will lead you to your ultimate end goal. For example, if one of your top five financial goals for 2018 is to save at least $10,000 for your emergency fund, you might want to consider breaking this down into a weekly goal.

 

Related: How To Build Your Emergency Fund Stress-Free!

 

So, you may write down: “My goal for this week (by January 7th) is to save $200 for my emergency fund by selling $100 worth of stuff that I don’t need and saving $100 from my paycheck before buying anything.”

Next week, your goal may stay the same (i.e. to save $200 again), but your source of money may come from somewhere else.

For instance, this time, you may write down: “My goal for this week (by January 14th) is to save $200 for my emergency fund by earning $50 from mowing my neighbors’ lawns and selling one of my refurbished coffee tables that I designed for $150.”

Whether it’s weekly, monthly, or quarterly, make sure to write this down and keep track of it for the entire year. As you progress, you WILL see incredible results! If you promise me that you’ll stick to your plan despite the ups and downs, I promise you that things will work out!

Also noticed that my goal examples are specific to what I want to achieve and by a specific time (a date). When setting your goals, also make sure they are realistic and achievable. Most importantly, you must take action! But of course, don’t give yourself something that is too easy either. That would be pointless and defeats the purpose of setting goals in the first place.

 

Free Printable Binder That I Highly Recommend

Enjoy Small Goals / Resolutions / Goal Setting

 

Speaking of financial goals, I was reading Eden’s blog from Mint Notion. She just created a gorgeous “2018 Budget/Financial Freedom Binder” (free printables) for her readers to download. I downloaded this binder and I absolutely love everything about it. It’s very pretty, well-organized, and simple to use.

It will help you track your income and expenses and motivate you to spend less, save money, and pay off your debts. When it comes to budgeting tips, Eden’s your go-to girl. 🙂

To get more details about it, visit her post here. So, head on over to grab your free binder and start crushing your 2018 financial goals!

 

It ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings!

Again, you have to stay focus on your top five priorities! Even if you hit a roadblock halfway, don’t give up. For example, you may have missed your weekly target of $200 in your 20th week. Or even worse, you may have missed two whole months! Whether you saved $0 or $80 for that week or month, pick yourself up and keep going.

Ask yourself why you fell short of your goal.

Is it because you were too busy, lazy, or you just forgot? Perhaps the goal wasn’t realistic. Whatever the reasons, don’t give up.

At that moment, ask yourself what options you have to make up that shortfall and get back on track.

Yes, I’m telling you that it’s okay to be off track a bit sometimes (only if it’s for good reasons). All that matters is the end result.

This is the part where I’m going to tell you again and again that your mind plays a critical role in achieving your goals.

Once you tell yourself it’s over, then yes, it’s over. This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, so don’t let it happen to you. Tell yourself that you CAN do it! Sounds so cliche, but hey, it works!

 

“I didn’t come this far only to come this far” – Anonymous

 

Summary

80% of New Year’s resolutions fail by the second week of February according to Joesph Luciani.

There are two secret ingredients that will help you achieve your new year goals. So, don’t worry. You can still make things happen. It’s never too early nor too late!

Honestly, I just call them “life” resolutions or “life” goals because it doesn’t matter when you start. Most people like to use January as a benchmark, but I personally see every day the same way. The most important part is that you start and stick to it.

Anyway, to sum up, the two secrets are to:

1) Follow Buffett’s “A-List” (top five goals) vs. “B-List” (ignore list) strategy.

2) Change your mindset.

When you’re done writing down your 25 items and circling only your top five (and ignoring the rest), you can break them into a weekly, monthly, or quarterly progress. These baby steps will ultimately lead you to your end goal(s). Once you fully completed your top five goals, it’s time to move onto your next most important goal.

And of course, work on your mindset. If it’s determined, your actions WILL follow!

 

Over to you

Are you ready to crush your 2018 (*ahem* I mean “life”) goals??

 

Want some more Warren Buffett and RICH inspiration to get you movin’ for 2018? I got some here for you!

5 Amazing Money Tips From a Billionaire

This Investment Beats Bitcoin

This Quote Will Make You Uber Rich!

You Can Live Like This Billionaire: Here’s How!

10 Ways To Develop a Rich Mindset: #10 is Seriously Mind-Blowing!

15 Financial Goals That You MUST Achieve: What’s Your Score?

 

If you like what you read, don’t forget to subscribe (at the yellow bar on top) for more weekly money tips and inspiration! I promise that I do not spam. I also do not share anyone’s information.

 

I’m wishing all of you a Happy New Year! May 2018 bring you joy, health, and prosperity!

New Year Resolutions Goals
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34 Comments

    1. You’re very right, Tom! I always try to focus on one thing at a time. I know sometimes it may seem like I’m ignoring people or pushing off certain tasks bc I give 0 attention. But I’ve found that accomplishing one thing at a time (before moving onto the next) has returned FAR better results.😊

  1. This is such a great blog post. I try to break up my goals into months but the Warren Buffet idea is perfect!! Having to many goals or New Years resolutions could have us not focusing on the right stuff making us fail! Thank you for sharing your knowledge 🙂 Can’t wait for the next post!

    1. This advice from Buffett is so true! That’s why I don’t like multi tasking. I know so many people swear that multitasking helps them get stuff done quicker, but I’m a bit skeptical on that one.

      To me, when I multitask on too many things, my mind goes all over the place and everything I do becomes a distraction to each other. Lol. The same applies to setting goals and achieving them. Smaller list is much more manageable w/ out outside noise.

      I cannot wait to hear your results by following this method! 😊
      fin$avvy panda recently posted…Two Secrets to Crushing Your New Year Goals – Solid Advice From Warren BuffettMy Profile

  2. Great follow-up on New Year’s resolutions!

    Mentality means everything in life. If you don’t have the mentality to succeed in your finances, relationships, work, sports, etc., then you will never reach your full potential. The second you flip the switch and begin to tell yourself how you will live your life instead of your life telling you how you will live, you will then begin to truly live.

    Thanks for sharing Buffet’s list/idea! Life is actually really simple, we just find ways to complicate it. The solutions/answer sheets to most of life’s problems are provided via the Internet. It is never the knowledge that we can’t accept, it’s that we never change our behavior and habits.

    1. Hey Sean!

      I agree that life is simple, but people make things complicated. It’s like people who buy soooo many stuff they don’t use and end up jam packing their space. That becomes a burden and the stuff ends up owning them and causing stress.

      Simple philosophy: less is more! It applies to “stuff” and it also applies to our goals in life! Actually, it applies to almost anything I’m life 🙂

      Thnx for dropping by!!

  3. This reminds me of one of Buffett’s quotes:

    “The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”

    ― Warren Buffett

    I said no to a book club last year (I was doing it for a few years with my girlfriends) but I got tired of reading fiction novels so I decided to drop out. Best decision ever!!! No one liked reading my book selections anyways haha (Into the Wild etc.)
    GYM recently posted…Canada’s Favourite Points Program is Ending: Shoppers Optimum Points turns into PC OptimumMy Profile

    1. Hey GYM!

      A book club sounds great, but I guess it wasn’t your priority and there are so many other things you need to do!

      I admit that I sometimes feel bad for saying no to people, but I started to realized that I am living the life for me and not others. Yep, it definitely applies to that “no” Buffett quote!

      Hehe I actually have that quote in my post, but I think it’s easily missed lol!

      I knew that I should’ve hit enter twice to give it more white space so readers can see it!

      D’oh I failed there!! I went back to WordPress to create a bit more white space below so that the quote is more visible now (hopefully)! That was a quote I wanted to emphasize on in this read haha!! Looks like we are on the same page though!! 😁

  4. Wow! First time I’m coming across this quote from Warren Buffett. I see a very good point here – especially for people like me who like to get a lot done at the same time, and perfectly too! Prioritize your goals and ditch the secondary ones…or at least leave them on the back-burner until your top priorities are accomplished!
    Enoch@SavvyNewCanadians recently posted…15 Smart Money Habits That Will Boost Your Finances in 2018My Profile

    1. Hiii Enoch!

      I feel like the quote is so true! The same applies when I’m caught multitasking sometimes (but I rarely multitask lol).

      I always stop and just focus on one thing. Forget the rest until I get the most important task done. I’ve followed this approach so many times and it works like a charm. Not to mention, the results are far better!! Hehe.

      Thnx for dropping by!! 😊

  5. Image of a white horse…yassssss! Channel those animals girl!OK – and I’m also dying over here, laughing at your bitmojis. Check your pinterest messages…I just told you the quote of “$*** or get off the pot”…and then I come over here and you are. Wow – yup, internet twin.
    Mind blown on the top 25 goals, and crossing off 20 of them. I usually fill a notebook page at work with my 25 list of goals/to-dos for the week. I’m going to only do top 5 and see how it goes with my boss. jk. Still need day job. Doh! Your point about the Secret #1 was also inspired by someone as well to me today. We have to first decide we want to change. And we have to keep making that decision daily to make it happen. #mentalgame
    8hrs of sleep? Ohhh I miss those days!

    1. Hellooo both mrs. And mr. DS!

      Hahaha I decided to use a white horse because it represents wisdom, knowledge, and power! And also white is so purifying. Everything that mr. Buffett is!

      And I still gotta read your messages (again, not ignoring. Just haven’t got to it because I wanna make sure I read it thoroughly and not skim through it).

      And that’s funny that you mention that before seeing the Bitmoji hahaha!! I was going to use my fiancé’s Bitmoji (because I did mention “men”) but he wouldn’t let me! He said his Bitmoji is too ugly to be seen online, and that it would give away our identities in person… 😂😂😂😂😂.

      And about the goals, you can still technically have a whole list of 25. As long as you fully accomplish all of them in order of importance without letting the bottom list distract you then you’re all good, soldier!! 😁

    1. Lol the golden toilet with money paper roll is the best, eh? I guess that’s how royals roll hahaha!!

      Wishing you an awesome 2018, DM! 😀

  6. Great post! Thanks for mentioning my Budget Binder. I love your tip about breaking down your big goals into smaller goals. That’s the best way to reach your goal since focusing on just the BIG goal can become overwhelming.

    1. Hello Caroline!

      Thanks for dropping by and reading. I really appreciate it 🙂

      hehe I agree with you that we waste 80% of our time. The 80/20 rule is a great concept! I can’t wait to check out your page!

      Happy New Year, Caroline!

    1. Hi Richest Man In London (haha what a name! I love it!!)

      Thanks for dropping by! Yes, that’s an awesome quote. It’s something I’m trying to improve on… say no to everything especially when it comes to coworkers/friends constantly inviting me out and I don’t always have all the time in the world.

      Happy New Year to you!

  7. I haven’t even wrote down my goals yet for this year, I just have it in my head. Your post reminded me that I need to jot them down….maybe even do a post of my own goals soon.
    Five goals is a good number to try to accomplish for a year. I think accomplishing them is a matter of focus and commitment. If you have these two down then you should be on your way to achieving them.
    Kris recently posted…Expense Chronicles – December 2017 Holiday Shopping and Using Gift CardsMy Profile

    1. Hey Kris!!

      I still have to write mine down too and I’m going to use Mint notion’s printable binder. 😁

      I find writing them down tends to make you do it more than thinking about it. And yes, if you write a blog post that works too! Now the www knows what your goals are and you’re more likely to act hehe.

      Happy new goal setting for 2018 👍

  8. I’ve heard about Buffett’s goal setting approach before but have never tried it. Maybe I’ll give it a whirl this year. One piece of advice to add, after setting your goals make them visible! Out of sight, out of mind…

    1. Hello FP!!

      The advice by Warren is fantastic! Giving yourself less to focus on will lead you to quality results. I absolutely love the less is more approach! 😊

      Definitely give it a shot, but of course set challenging and reasonable goals!

      Happy new year to you!

      Thanks for dropping by. I saw your note RSF. Thnx for the warm welcome. I’m looking forward to visiting your bloggie 😁

  9. I am so bad at writing goals down! I definitely have goals I want to achieve but they are mostly in my head and I would love to have them written somewhere!

    But 2018 is the year!
    I will write my goals and see what happens by the end of the year.

    Thanks 🙂

  10. Just recently spelled out my goals for the year (a tad bit late, I know). But I’m excited to get into action. I have definitely been part of the 80% failure statistic in the past.

    Definitely a scary number to have to deal with. That doesn’t stop me from making goals. But just like you mention – less is more. I completely agree! It’s better to pick your battles and tackle what’s really important rather than trying to hit a million goals with no real chance.

    Great post as always!

    https://www.kongtemplate.com/2018-blog-update-goals-resolutions/

    1. Hey Kong!

      All recovered up from Canada’s cold weather? haha.

      Yeah, once you focus in just one area, you will likely excel at it. 🙂

      It’s never too late or too early to start. The most important part is getting started and progressing without giving up!

      Thanks for dropping by!!

  11. Setting less goals is definitely more productive for me every year. In recent years, I have narrowed down to less than five a year. This is because I have four minor goals and one major goal. If I achieve all my four minor goals, I will most likely achieve my major goal.

    My major goal every year is to increase my net worth by either $100k or 10% over the previous year. I am happy to have income net worth by 16.8% last year and will try to increase it by another 10% this year. Hopefully, the market continues to cooperate so we can all achieve our goals this year.
    Leo T. Ly recently posted…My Personal Net Worth Review – 2017 Year-endMy Profile

    1. That’s amazing that you set yourself only a few goals. That’s why you’re killing all of it!! (as we can all see on your NW updates) 🙂

      Awesome job, Leo!

      Even if markets fall, then oh well… there are always future opportunities that will come! Plus, it’s how you do overall in the long term. As long as you stick to your regular savings/investing plan, you’re set for life 🙂

    1. haha I love that “burning desire” term… it’s like my new favorite term now LOL

      And by the way, that “burning desire” comes from the person’s mindset. 😉

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