David Chedgy on setting achievable goals for the New Year

PUBLISHED: 17:31 02 January 2020 | UPDATED: 17:31 02 January 2020

David enjoying a run on the beach in Poole

David enjoying a run on the beach in Poole

Archant

In his latest column, Harlequins rugby player turned financial and wellbeing blogger David Chedgy discusses staying on track with New Year’s resolutions

Goodbye 2019. Hello 2020. So what can we expect from the year ahead?

If last year was anything to go by, the only certainty is uncertainty - and lots of it.

At this time of year, many of us will be reflecting on the last 12 months and looking to make some positive changes / New Year resolutions, but how many of us will follow them through? This year I'm going to be fitter, richer, start saving for retirement, change my job etc. The problem is that rather than making small, manageable lifestyle adjustments it's in most people's nature to attempt huge alterations in order to reach their goals instantly. More often than not this ends in failure. Sometimes the goals seem so way off and unachievable that inertia sets in and you just give up before you even start.

The secret is to set realistic goals with manageable targets along the way. The British Cycling Team successfully used the idea of marginal gains to go from also-rans to a world beating powerhouse on the track. Making small improvements in a number of areas which are all achievable cumulatively add up to making a big difference to the overall performance and therefore outcome.

So if you're looking to lose weight don't try and knock it out the park and drop a stone in January. After the excesses of Christmas, total abstinence whilst hitting the gym five times a week is not sustainable over the long-term. You are far better off making small, positive changes to your diet and exercise regime and focus on losing 1-2 pounds a week. This is achievable. It's about improving your general lifestyle so it becomes part of your normal routine. Diets don't work (over the long-term anyway) but a healthier style of living can be forever.

Likewise, financial adjustments should be small and achievable rather than 90 degree turns. Simply checking that your income exceeds your expenditure every month is a good place to start. Seems obvious, but most people don't keep a close eye on their own personal balance sheets. If you can then invest or save the balance it's amazing what the power of compound interest can achieve over the long-term!

Albert Einstein famously called compound interest "the eighth wonder of the world", adding "He who understands it earns it; he who doesn't pays it." And he was no fool!

Your 2020 Financial health-check list

- Write out a spreadsheet of Income vs Expenditure. If you're not in positive territory at the end of the month look at where you can spend less.

- Unfortunately loyalty is seen as a weakness. If you've been with a utility supplier, insurance co etc for a couple of years or more re-negotiate or move.

- Set up a direct debit to pay £100 (or whatever you can afford) in to a savings account on the day you get paid - if it's not there you can't spend it!

To find out how to make compounding work to your advantage subscribe for free to TheEscapePlan.co.uk - a wage slave's guide to financial freedom and health.

Former Harlequins rugby player David Chedgy spent more than 20 years as a financial trader in the city. He now blogs about financial freedom and wellbeing whilst running a private PT and pilates studio with his wife in Poole.

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