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New Year, New Goals

Tips for building a foundation key to goalsetting success

The new year is underway, but it’s not too late to take a step back, reflect, evaluate and set goals for the months to come.

Whether your goal is to improve your finances, start a new hobby, kick old habits, lose weight, connect more with your community or perhaps all of the above, it turns out the biggest part of getting started is knowing where to start.

Eliza Cole is Epic Trust’s tax team administrator, coordinating and managing client communication and providing general support for paperwork processing and other internal processes.

She was recently voted Employee of the Year for 2022 by her fellow employees. Having received the highest recognition of her peers, we thought she might know a thing or two about goalsetting.

“I was super surprised when I got Employee of the Year; I didn’t feel like I was doing anything special, but the thing I do try to do is be consistent.”

Two things she’s consistent with are working hard and doing what she sees needs to be done.

It seems simple, but that consistency is rooted in the foundational heart of setting goals and following through with them.

“One of the things that I find really helpful and important when making decisions is aligning my actions with my values. I evaluate what’s important to me and make sure they match up.”

This can be easier said than done.

“Sometimes, what we wish we were doing isn’t what we can actually do. One of my values is to take care of my family financially, so I have to work. I try to make what I’m doing matter. On the other hand, I enjoy nature and learning new things. I try to work effectively so that I can spend my time that I’m supposed to be working actually working so that I can disengage later. I value what I do, but I also value other things.”

She recalled that as a teenager, a psychology teacher told the class that they should only do things they wanted to do. At that age, those words seemed nonsensical, but over the years, Eliza has parsed out an interpretation that aligns with her values.

“The action you don’t have to want to do, but what you have to want is the outcome.”

At 25, Eliza has her 10 and 13-year-old sisters living with her. She said she gets a lot of practice reaffirming this concept with them when it comes to cleaning their rooms and completing schoolwork.

She said, too, that setbacks shouldn’t stop one from continuing in the right direction.

“It’s hard to do, you really have to practice. Finding that balance can be tricky. I have to tell tax clients that sometimes. They’ll tell me that they don’t ever want to owe taxes again, so they’re never going to file again. I try to help them reframe their thinking: the stuff that’s behind you won’t go away, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only way you can do things in the future.”

Eliza said that finding balance financially can be challenging, though having expert advisors for all aspects of one’s financial life under one roof—like at Epic Trust—is helpful.

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We can sit down and talk to you about your goals. What do you want most? To leave a legacy for your children and other family members? Are you wanting to get out of debt and build wealth? Are you getting close to retirement? Everyone’s values are a little bit different. Sometimes we get caught up in what other people value. It’s more satisfying to know what your values are and how to align your life with your own values rather than what other people want it to look like.”

Self-awareness and self-care are also paramount to squaring one’s values with decision-making.

“I can’t pour out of an empty cup, I have to know how to support myself. Sometimes, I’ve gotta take a walk around the building and talk to the geese, take a deep breath or have a drink of water so that I can be ready to be more responsive and less reactive. Knowing that for yourself is very tricky and complicated; it takes a while to figure out what will re-center us. When we’re reactive, we don’t always show up in ways that meet our own values.”

When not at her desk, you can find Eliza watering her grandparents’ strawberry patch or walking her handsome kitty cat. She shares her home with her spouse, sisters, two felines and a multitude of house plants.