How to Achieve Your 2022 New Year's Resolutions

You've already made your New Year's resolutions. Atlanta Falcons linebacker and Kiplinger contributing editor Brandon Copeland explains how you can stick with them and accomplish them.

Welcome to another very special episode of Cope'ing with Money. It is 2022, and like everybody else in the world, we as a family are battling COVID over here.

(So I don't trust you. I don't trust you. I can't trust you. Let me go ahead and do a little bit of this. Oh, get the germs from around me. Get the COVID. Come on. I think we're good. OK, OK.)

Listen, it's the COVID edition, Cope'ing with Money.

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On this episode of Cope'ing with Money, it is 2022. We are talking about not only setting but actually smashing your new year's resolutions. This is not just about money, but you know, of course, it's Cope'ing with Money, so we've got to focus on money, but this is also just in general.

We're going to talk about how we are going to realize our 2022 New Year's resolutions, how you realize any resolution, any goal in your life.

We're going to keep it simple. We're going to keep it short. Cope'ing With Money. Lock-in. Let's do this.

Make a Record of Your Goals

First and foremost, how are we going to make sure that we actually reach our goals in 2022? Well, first, we have to set goals and write them down, make them tangible.

I know some people are more visual thinkers. For me, when I write things down, they become realized, they become real. It's the first step in actually saying to yourself, "Hey, this thing is important to me and it matters."

Write the goals down.

Break Large Goals Down

The next thing we have to consider when we're creating resolutions or goals and attacking them, is big goals are only realized through small steps.

In order for me to be the best player on the field on Sunday, I have to put in the work on Monday. I have to outwork my opponent on Tuesday, I have to outwork them on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday in order for me to even have a chance.

We need to take big goals and break them down into smaller, more attainable goals.

For example, if I want to lose 60 pounds this year, I can make that goal much more achievable by setting a smaller goal of losing five pounds each month. This also keeps us motivated by allowing us to celebrate small victories along the way.

You look at that scale and after five months you say, "Wow, I've lost 25 pounds and I've hit my five-pound goal every single month. How awesome am I?"

Have Someone Hold You Accountable

My favorite rapper, J. Cole used to say, "If they don't know your dreams, then they can't shoot them down." I honestly truly love that phrase and that line, and I believed that with my whole heart, from my sophomore year of college, all the way until the end of my junior year of college.

But I realized: What good is a goal if you're afraid to tell somebody about it?

Find your circle of trust. Find those people you can bank on, who will tell you like it is.

"Hey, you said you were going to lose five pounds this month. You're eating a donut?"

"Hey, you said your business was going to focus more on marketing this year. I haven't seen one ad."

Whether it's a close friend, a significant other or a family member, find someone you can trust to be honest with you – or better yet, someone that you can hold accountable as well – and help each other stay on track toward achieving each of your goals.

It's 2022. We're going to be really direct this year. We all need to make sure that we reach our goals. That is what I am about. I'm about creating the life that we want. Whatever I want, I'm going to get. What's next?

Celebrate the Little Victories!

And finally, I told you we're going to keep this short and simple. The thing that I've personally dealt with in the past and had trouble with in the past – I admit it, I have lacked here – is celebrating my wins.

One of the reasons why I want to break these big goals down into smaller wins is because I want to have an opportunity to celebrate along the process, along the ride. Why wait two, three, four years to celebrate a goal that you set a long time ago?

It'll renew your energy, it'll restore you and refuel you, and it'll also remind you of what you're working for in the first place. When I have a great day in the market, when I have a great play on the field, when I flip a property, I should celebrate.

Cope's 2022 Resolution

Final thing on this version of Cope'ing with Money: I want to make sure that I am practicing what I'm preaching. I want you all to understand that.

With Cope'ing with Money, I'm telling you guys things that I am actively doing. I'm not of telling you anything that I'm thinking about or I've heard of, or I saw someone do on TV, I'm telling you things that I'm living.

So I'm going to share with you my biggest 2022 resolution, and that is reaching financial freedom.

I know for some, you look at it: "Oh, he's an NFL player. He's an entrepreneur. He is got to be financially free." Financial freedom has a different definition for everyone. For me, I want consistent income that allows me to fuel my lifestyle. It covers my monthly recurring expenses, so if I choose to wake up one day and not work, I'm OK.

That is what financial freedom is for me: I want to do what I want when I want.

During this process and our family's fight with COVID, my 2-year-old son was the first person in our household besides me to test positive with this disease, and I was able to stay home with him. There were nights, 3 a.m. in the morning, we're waking up, I'm turning on the hot water in the bathroom, I'm closing the door, I'm trying to help him go through coughing fits, and I realize: This is where I need to be.

Financial freedom for me is creating enough income consistently where when my family needs me most, I can be there. Personally, I haven't reached my goals for that yet. So, 2022, I'm reaching that.

I'm telling it here to you first: Nothing will stop me.

To everyone dealing with this disease, I pray that you are safe. I pray that you stay healthy. In 2022, I hope that we all love one each other more. I hope we all encourage each other more. I hope we keep our circles of trust strong. And more importantly, we break those big goals down into small goals, we celebrate our wins, and we smash our 2022 resolutions.

Cope'ing with Money, I'll see you next time.

Brandon Copeland
Contributing Editor, Kiplinger.com

Brandon Copeland, an active, eight-year veteran NFL linebacker, has spent the past two years teaching a class he created, and nicknamed “Life 101,” at his alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania. Life 101 focuses on life’s constant money decisions so that students are better prepared for the financial realities that adulthood brings. Copeland also spends time off of the field consulting and investing in real estate. He is the co-founder of a nonprofit organization, Beyond the Basics Inc., and was the recipient of the 2020 NFLPA Alan Page Community Award, the NFLPA’s highest honor given for extraordinary dedication to service, social justice and equality. He is a member of CNBC’s Financial Wellness Council and the NFL Players Inc. Advisory Committee. Copeland has interned for UBS and Weiss Multi-Strategy Advisers.