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Top tips to assess your year and plan ahead

Plan ahead

Top tips to assess your year and plan ahead

We all know when we set goals, we should commit to regularly reviewing how we’re doing, but the truth is that life tends to get in the way. However, the turn of the year is the perfect time to pause, reflect and take stock of how 2019 has been for you. Here are some tips to get you started.

1. What went well? Psychologists agree that writing down three things that have gone well each day is a great way to focus on the positives, but it can be a hard habit to get into. As the year draws to a close, try to identify three standout moments from 2019 – they could be personal, professional or financial. What is it about those moments that really count? Whether it’s spending time with loved ones, achieving a sporting goal or securing an important deal – acknowledging positive outcomes can help identify what’s important to you and what you could be doing more of.

2. What lessons did you learn? Consider any areas of your life, events or moments that went wrong. Don’t dwell on failure, but analyse situations or outcomes that didn’t turn out as expected. Try to see where and how it moved from success to failure. Could you have done something differently or taken a different path?1.

Ask yourself, did I achieve what I set out to?

3. Can you evaluate your performance? Setting goals at the start of each year is a great way to focus your mind. You might write them down or even just have a vague sense of what you want to do or where you want to be by the end of the year. However, it can be easy to set goals and forget them. Review them now. Ask yourself, ‘did I achieve what I set out to?’ or ‘did I make progress?’ Be honest and critical. If the answer is no, ask yourself whether they were realistic. Did they rely on other people or outside forces, for example, the performance of the stock market or global economy to boost wealth? Have the goals become unimportant as the year has progressed and you’ve moved on with life? This can help you formulate new targets for 2020, reframing your ambitions so that they’re achievable but still stretch you.

4. How did you score? Use a scale of 1-10 to check how you’d rate different aspects of your life. Your scales could cover your professional and personal life, finances, community, hobbies, friendships, family, etc. It can help show where things are going well and where your weak points are, so you can make adjustments. Steve Jobs said that “if you don’t truly believe in what you’re doing, you’re never going to be completely satisfied”2.

Use your scales to check your life satisfaction and make the tweaks necessary to improve your wellbeing

5. Are your finances on track? Review the performance of your investments over the course of the year, checking, for example, whether returns are in the expected range, whether there has been any deviation from what you anticipated and why. Also consider whether there have been any changes to your tax arrangements or family circumstances that may affect your investments. Consider whether you need to adjust your approach or hold the ship steady. Take advice where necessary and remember to look forward as well as back, considering the outlook for 2020 and how that may influence your investment decisions.

6. Have you taken time to reflect? Once you’ve assessed, analysed and considered, take some time to step back and cast a critical eye over everything. Putting all the pieces of your life into the frame, you may spot missed opportunities, potential upsides or even something that’s missing from your life that you’ve overlooked in the busy everyday bustle.

Perhaps you need a holiday or to spend more time with family, perhaps there's a gap in your investment portfolio or a chance to change position

7. Can you take note? Writing down your thoughts can help you decide what action you need to take (if any) to make sure you meet all your goals. It can help reinforce that you’re doing a great job, or it can inform your plans for the year ahead. It’s also great to have something that you can review when December 2020 rolls around (or even mid-way through the year), so you can see just how far you’ve come.

Whatever your goals for 2020, your Relationship Manager is here to offer tailored support and help illuminate the world outside your world.


This material is issued by HSBC UK Bank plc which is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority in the UK. It has been issued for your information purposes only.

Please note that HSBC does not provide tax or legal advice and clients should seek professional advice from their tax advisor. Any reference to tax is based on our knowledge of the current and proposed tax regime and is subject to change.

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