Haste Makes Waste

As the new year begins, many people quickly write down a few goals they want to achieve for the year. While this is a fun thing to do, this Brief isn’t strictly another of the many goals blogs you have likely been inundated with over the last week. It is viewing goal formation in a new light.

I mentioned in a previous Friday Brief email that several of us in the Beacon office have begun reading Same As Ever by Morgan Housel. I was able to finish it over the holidays and certainly recommend it. There are many nuggets of wisdom throughout, but one thought that has especially stuck with me (in light of the new year) comes from the following section:

“Most young tree saplings spend their early decades under the shade of their mother’s canopy. Limited sunlight means they grow slowly. Slow growth leads to dense, hard wood.

But something interesting happens if you plant a tree in an open field: free from the shade of bigger trees, the sapling gorges on sunlight and grows fast.

Fast growth leads to soft, airy wood that never had time to densify. And soft, airy wood is a breeding ground for fungus and disease. “A tree that grows quickly rots quickly and therefore never has a chance to grow old,” forester Peter Wohlleben wrote. Haste makes waste.”

As many people start the new year with big plans and aspirations and goals for the year, I think this is a good reminder – haste makes waste.

This can apply to many areas of our lives. You may have a goal to exercise more, but if you just rush to the gym without thinking through what you want to do, you likely won’t stick with it. If you make a goal to read every day and then immediately jump into the first book you see (say War and Peace), you may get bogged down. If you want to start a new diet, but then don’t plan out what that looks like day to day, you may give up in a pinch one day.

There is nothing wrong with making goals for the new year. In the cold winter months of the year as the calendar turns, it can be a great point to stop and reflect at. The turning of the calendar can symbolically point you to a fresh start. That is a good thing. However, quickly deciding to make a big change likely won’t have the lasting change you are looking for if you don’t consider all of the factors at play. In fact, “as many as 80% of people fail to keep their New Year’s resolutions by February.” (Source)

I would propose to slow down, think through the goals you want to accomplish, and make an action plan that builds in margin for when things go wrong (hint: they always do). This can apply to any of the things I already mentioned, but also to your finances. If you are a Beacon client, now is a great time to think through your goals for the year and any savings targets you might have. We are here to help you reach your goals and think about them with intentionality.

While it can be more exciting to rush out and hit the ground running for your goals for 2024, patience in thinking through what you want to accomplish, and how you will get it done, can create long lasting roots.


The content above is for informational and educational purposes only. The links and graphs are being provided as a convenience; they do not constitute an endorsement or an approval by Beacon Wealthcare, nor does Beacon guarantee the accuracy of the information.

Daniel Logan
[email protected]

Originally from Alabama, my wife, Megan, and I moved to Raleigh a few years ago. I went to The University of Alabama (Roll Tide!) where I majored in Finance with a specialization in Personal Wealth Management. I love all things sports (you will most often find me playing pickleball), urban planning, and spending time enjoying the whole Triangle.