At the start of a new year, many people find themselves setting goals for their lives, whether that be financially, professionally, or mentally. And while striving for more is productive, many end up feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to start to reach these goals.
That’s why the NYWICI Young Professionals committee teamed up with Lord & Taylor to host its annual New Year, New You: Tips to Live Your Best Life, with panelists Erin Hanafy, executive editor of Well+Good, Lauren Marcus, head of Internal Communications at WeWork and Jamila Souffrant, certified financial education instructor and founder of Journey to Launch podcast. With expert advice from the panelists, attendees gained insight on how to successfully reach their new year goals while managing expectations. Gabrielle Simpson, the event moderator, hosted a lively and informative discussion about the panelists’ successes, failures, personal resolutions for the New Year, and how we can all learn from them.
Here are a few highlights:
What moment or event do you feel enhanced or changed your career the most?
Jamila: When I had my kids and started my family, I had more of a sense of purpose and got more of an idea of what I wanted out of life. Being pregnant with my first child really encouraged me to start Journey to Launch. I felt like I wanted more opportunity for myself and for my children, so I turned my side hustle into a full-time hustle.
Erin: The best thing that happened to me in my career was also the worst thing: I hit a wall. I was working for AP and running the multimedia department; it was a 24/7 job. I was just so exhausted, and it made me assess, what do I actually want to do with my life? In my off hours, I started doing things to try to make myself feel better and figure out how to be stronger and how to get better sleep. It planted a seed for that passion I have now, of figuring out how to live life in a healthy way.
What are your personal resolutions for the new year, both health-wise and finance-wise?
Lauren: My personal resolution is to not have my phone on while I’m with people. I find it hard to disconnect sometimes, so I want to do that for myself to be more present when I’m around family and friends. Financially, I just want to maintain.
Erin: I call them intentions — I have a thing against “resolutions” because it implies that you need to be fixed, and I think we should be more supportive of ourselves. I’m trying to start the habit of not using my phone as my alarm clock, so I don’t pick it up first thing in the morning and be sucked into other people’s worlds. I probably only wait 15 minutes to check it but it does make a difference in my day to have that time for myself.
What strategies do you recommend for young people that can’t afford to save much?
Jamila: It’s all relative to what you have and what you can do; anything more than what you can do today or what you did last year is better. One thing that really helps is tracking your spending. I don’t come from a place of deprivation where you can’t give yourself anything, but if you have goals that you want to accomplish and you’re clear about them, you want to make sure that however you’re spending and using your money is in alignment with your goals. And the best way to see this is by tracking your spending; it doesn’t lie.
What is your proudest moment in financial success?
Gabrielle: Early in my career, after I finished graduate school, I went to negotiate a raise with my boss. I did not get it, but my boss gave me about $20,000 in stock at CBS Corporation. At the time, I was 22, and I was thinking I wanted a raise not this stock. Little did I know, the stock did extremely well, and I was able to purchase a home at 27.
Photos: Jan Goldstoff