A RAD Reflection
Do you listen to podcasts? I listen to a variety of podcasts so when a common theme surfaces seemingly serendipitously, I pay attention. A few years back, one podcaster shared the idea of planning for the next year in the current year. The idea was to take time to reflect on the current year (i.e., 2022), create a plan for the next year (i.e., 2023), and deploy that plan early (i.e., before the end of 2022). Then, a couple of different podcasters suggested the same idea on their respective podcasts. When something like that happens to me, I tend to pay attention!
After those experiences, I decided to begin a similar practice: a RAD reflection.
Recollect the good and the grate (intentional spelling). As you approach the end of a year, reflect upon where you are in relation to the goals you wrote down at the beginning of the year, personally and professionally. Did everything go according to plan? Better? Did some unexpected hurdles get in the way? Write down three wins, three challenges, and three things that grate on you—these can be challenges you are facing or a circumstance you find unnerving. (Result: list of nine items.)
Assign. Identify times when you are most productive or challenged by assigning dates to your nine items. By each of the nine items listed, write down a month and a year indicating when they occurred. Once you’ve written down the dates, notice whether there is a pattern. When you accomplished your wins and experienced your challenges, are the dates clustered together or spread out over time? When you experienced your grates, were there other events going on in your life? Why do your grates bother you? Grates tend to show us where we may have feelings of insecurity or anxiety: what are your grates trying to teach you? Take some time and reflect on why these nine items are important to you. Set a timer for five minutes and write down what you’ve noticed about these nine items. (Result: one or two pages of free write on your nine items.)
Design. Plan out your next moves. Based on what you have written so far, what is your next right move? Will you continue down that path or try something different? What do you plan to accomplish in 2023? Make a list of one to three achievements you aim to accomplish in 2023, writing them down in past tense. (This convinces your brain you can accomplish the work—that you’ve already done it.) Then, beside each of the items on your list, write down the one next step you need to take in the direction to accomplish your plan and the date by which you will accomplish that next step. Consider one potential obstacle and write it down. Also, write down a proactive step you may take to overcome the obstacle. (Result: one page of up to three aims you have for 2023 along with your first step for each one and a proactive step to address an obstacle.)
Following is an example: I saved $500 by February 15, 2023. I opened a savings account with the minimum deposit. I knew I would want to spend my money on other things (or forget to deposit money into the account) so I set up an automatic transfer from my checking account into my savings.
Where does finance come into your RAD reflection? These RAD steps may apply to a year-end reflection on your personal and professional goals. They may also apply to a semi-annual check-in on your retirement, assets, and debts—another RAD idea!
Consider practicing your version of a RAD reflection. A nearly-year-end review may help you see where you can make small changes today to end your year closer to where you aim to be tomorrow.
Wendolyn Forbes is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ with Wealth Transition Finance, A Member of Advisory Services Network, LLC, where she offers financial planning and investment management services for either a one-time or on-going cost. For more information about Wendolyn’s financial services practice, please visit her website at www.wtf-asn.com.
Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and federally registered CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.
This material is provided as a courtesy and for educational purposes only. Please consult your investment professional, legal or tax advisor for specific information pertaining to your situation.