"Get curious, take inventory, then see what changes you can commit to making."
Goals. Love them or loathe them, the truth is they're integral to growth and well-being. Whether yours are about professional development, personal achievement, financial freedom or anything else, your goals are a reflection of who you are and where you want to be.
Learning to live with the realities of a pandemic has meant that you've likely had a spare minute or two to reassess how and where you spend your time and energy.
If you had goals that you had to put on hold in the last 20 months or so, now is a perfect chance to revisit your ambitions and maybe take a step (or several) toward them.
Solutions-focused coach and wellness expert Eva Redpath is a pro at setting goals and building actionable plans to help you achieve your dreams. She feels the pandemic has forced people to confront and focus on things that are important to them and has seen this repeatedly with her clients.
If you're ready to make some goals but are unsure where to start, Eva suggests identifying one area of your life where you'd like to see some positive change and going from there.
Envision your desired outcome and how it might feel, then ask yourself where you are now in regards to what you want to achieve.
If you're feeling stuck, you can narrow down your priorities by listing different areas of your life (career, friends and family, recreation, health, money, personal growth and physical environment, for example) and then rate how satisfied you are with each of them from 1-10. This can help you better visualize where you might want to invest more time and effort.
Another nugget of wisdom from Eva is to start small. She believes it's the little things compounded over time that create big results. This is handy to remember in those moments when you feel discouraged or lack motivation.
When things get tough — and they will — you can choose to stay the course. You're resilient and you can handle whatever life throws your way.
If it turns out finance is a focus area for you, you're certainly not alone. In fact, according to a CIBC survey, eliminating debt is one of the top long-term goals of Canadians.
Saving for the future is another popular goal, with 30% of survey respondents saying they want to put more money away.
CIBC is here to help in this area, and the bank believes there's never been a better time to celebrate your ambitions and turn them into a reality.
"The two best pieces of advice I've received are to pay yourself first and to start investing as soon as you can," VP of finance and investment advice at CIBC, Carissa Lucreziano, told Narcity.
"I remember when I was in my early 20s, a coworker who was getting close to retirement always encouraged me to open an RRSP account. I'm thankful that she did because the small amounts that I contributed really added up over time."
Carissa's big takeaway here? The sooner you start investing, the sooner you can let the "magic" of compounding do its work to boost your savings.
Compounding is what happens when you reinvest your earnings to get a return on them plus the original investment. Bottom line: the longer you're invested, the higher your growth potential.
You don't need a huge lump sum to begin investing. Carissa recommends starting small, even with just $25 a month.
And you don't have to figure it out on your own, either. A CIBC advisor can help you choose investments that suit your goals and your risk tolerance.
When it comes to hitting specific financial goals, Eva advises Canadians to save for a rainy day. But don't stray off course when you feel discouraged.
There'll be setbacks, obstacles and interruptions along the way, of course. Just focus on what you can control and pivot to get back on track.
Letting people help is an important strategy too. The 2021 CIBC Ambitions survey indicated that about half of Canadians agree that when you share your ambitions with someone, they’re more likely to happen. That’s why it’s beneficial to involve others, like friends, family, a coach, financial advisors or mentors.
Whether your goals are financially focused or centre around another important aspect of your life, remember Eva's approach.
"Getting in touch with our ambitions, what is important to us, and what we want to accomplish in life, helps us choose goals that are purposeful and in alignment with our values," she says.
"Achieving them leads to a sense of fulfilment and can have a positive effect on other areas of our life."
So, as you reassess what direction you want to head in for the rest of the year and beyond, take time to figure out what your next step will be. And don't forget, you have it in you to achieve whatever your goals may be.
This content is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute financial, investment, legal, tax or accounting advice.