Investing in your future often begins by figuring out what you want that future to look like. For me, it starts with self-reflection and identifying areas that are ripe for improvement. I also find it valuable to seek feedback from others who can help clarify my goals and priorities.

I’ve used the following approach for myself for many years, and I hope it will work equally well for you:

  • Start with the “why.” Understand why you want to make a change and clearly identify your end goal. If the change is health-related or about feeling or looking better, that’s great, but be specific about your reason for doing it and make it personal to you.
  • Visualize success. This is a common practice for athletes, and it’s a simple, effective tool for many life circumstances and situations: Get a picture in your mind of what the change is going to look and feel like. It will help you to focus on this goal better and provide an incentive to push you forward. Keep that vision in your head if you feel your effort start to wane.
  • Create small steps that lead to change. As a runner, I find it best that if I want to set a new race or training time, I need to make small improvements over time, not giant leaps. Progress takes time, and gradual changes are likelier to create lasting success.
  • Make a commitment. It might mean enrolling in a class or signing up for a new activity that you’ve always wanted to try. Once committed, especially financially, you’ll be more likely to stick with it. And tell your friends or loved ones about your plans. They can help to hold you accountable.

Of course, a great commitment for this or any year is starting or finishing the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) program. If that’s in your plan for 2020, I commend you. I’d also like to hear about how it’s going, so be sure to share your progress with me. I wish you much success as you invest in yourself—and your future—this year.

You can reach me at to discuss this or any other subject.

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