The Law Office of Paul Black - January 2020


January 2020

Rethinking Resolutions IT IS ABOUT THE LITTLE THINGS

I am not really one for New Year’s resolutions. This might come as a surprise to some since much of my work involves helping people set goals for their future. But that is exactly why I do not really practice this annual ritual — why wait for January to make a change? Still, I can understand why some like the idea of a fresh start at the top of the year, so I have some advice on how to make those changes stick. Those who remember our May 2019 edition will recall my praise for James Clear’s excellent book “Atomic Habits.” The work advocates making small changes to our routine over time, easing ourselves into good habits rather than trying to make a jarring leap to a different lifestyle. Clear points out how writing these goals for ourselves is easy, but actually doing all the little things to get there is what we struggle with. But I do not think Clear’s approach works on its own. Gradual change can certainly make things easier, but at the end of the day, if you do not really want to do

something, you are not going to achieve anything from it. That is why I like to use a little exercise that Warren Buffet recommends. It is called the 5/25 strategy, and it goes something like this: You write out the top 25 things you want to achieve, be they personal or professional. Then you circle the five you most want to achieve

firm or counting the amount of time I dedicated to spending with my father. It is the great team members we were able to hire, the moments spent chatting with clients, and the meditative drives while going from one speaking event to the next. It is talking to my father about his plans for the day and watching our favorite programs together on TV. What I am trying to say is this: It is the small moments that can really be treasured in the long run. Having gotten married this year, I can say some of my fondest memories of the past 12 months are things like washing dishes together, going on walks, and enjoying the fall weather in the North Georgia mountains. These are not things I could quantify as “goals,” but they mattered to me. We do not live by numbers. So why would we let them blind us from the relationships we have in our life? In my experience, if you put people first, the numbers will follow.

out of that list and forget the other 20. It is a great way to really get yourself to think about what is most valuable (and most motivating) to you. This brings me to my final point: Forget the numbers. Some guides to goal setting will

tell you to set very specific, quantifiable goals — and I used to subscribe to that belief. But last year in particular has taught me that chasing digits is not nearly as motivating as the experiences you can have along the way. When I think back on 2019, what jumps out at me are not the quantifiable things like hitting our growth metrics at the

Happy New Year,

-Paul Black

Do you have estate planning or elder law-related questions? Write to me at with Asked and Answered in the subject line. Your identity will be kept confidential. The opinions offered in this column are not intended to replace or substitute any financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. | 1

Published by The Newsletter Pro •

Made with FlippingBook - Online magazine maker