New Year’s Resolutions – With a Twist

by Dec 31, 2020Personal Finance, Practice Finance, Success

We’ve written about it before, and you surely have read it elsewhere: New Year’s resolutions don’t work for 95% of people.

Goals, however, do work for most motivated people. There is a condition though. They need to be SMART goals, or even better, SMARTER goals.

Your goals have to be:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Action-oriented
  • Realistic
  • Time-based
  • Exciting
  • Rewarded

This year, we’d like to encourage you to pick ONE single goal in several different categories. Picking 17 financial goals is not realistic. We’d rather help you pick one that you can reach, with the understanding that once you reach that goal before the end of the year, you can pick another one. 

Are you willing to give it a try? 

If so, then pick ONE goal in each of the following categories:

  1. Personal finance
  2. Career
  3. Health
  4. Practice management
  5. Personal life
  6. Family
  7. Personal development
  8. Bad habits (drop one)
  9. Good habits (pick one)
  10. Friends
  11. Fun
  12. Love

You could work on several goals at the same time, or focus on one goal per month.

Let’s pick a few examples to get you started:

  1. Personal finance: save $100 per week. Save 10% of my gross income. Save $XYZ for a down payment for a house (or a car).
  2. Career: complete a course or learn a new procedure. Enroll 100 clients in our wellness plan. Attend a practice management meeting. 
  3. Health: work out 3 times per week. Lose 20 pounds. Run or hike 5 miles 3 times per week.
  4. Practice management: hire a practice manager. Sign up with XYZ service. Elevate Susie Q to head technician.



  1. Personal life: cook or bake once per week. Learn to play the banjo. Meditate once per week.
  2. Family: play a board game as a family once per month. Organize a Zoom meeting for the entire family once per month. Have a deep phone or live conversation with one family member per month.
  3. Personal development: read a non-fiction book per month. Attend the Vet Financial Summit every year. Learn a new skill each year.
  4. Bad habits (drop one): stop smoking. Stop evening snacks. Stop biting my nails.
  5. Good habits (pick one): replace soda by water. Stop eating after 8 pm. Brush my teeth 3 times per day.
  6. Friends: call a friend once per month. Organize one activity with my 10 best friends twice per year. One weekend per year with my best friend.
  7. Fun: organize a talent show (for friends & family). Actually plan to watch a 10 minute funny kitten video (which could be a reward for reaching an important goal). Fly a kite, or play Frisbee, or play ball (basketball, softball, soccer, tennis, golf…).
  8. Love: dinner night. Movie night. A walk in the park, hand in hand. 

By focusing on only one goal per category, you have a much higher chance of success. Pick the one goal that will make the biggest difference. 

Pro tip: you can combine goals. In other words, you can run or hike with your best friend, or a group or friends, or a family member. This way you can benefit your health and spend quality time with someone you enjoy. 

To increase your chances of success, share your list with your accountability buddy (the one you chose during the Vet Financial Summit, or one you can choose now). 

And even if you never get to the point of choosing a second goal in each category, i.e. if you only reach 12 important goals in the new year, you will accomplish more than 90% of the population. 

And that’s a reason to celebrate!

Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS
Meredith Jones, DVM
Co-Founders of Veterinary Financial Summit