10 New Year’s Resolutions
New Year’s is the time to start over and make resolutions. You have a full 365 days to turn your life around and try something new. People resolve to be better and to do better, but unfortunately, many resolutions are never seen through to completion.
This is due to the fact that they aren’t passionate about their resolutions or because they choose a resolution that is impractical.
When deciding what your next New Year’s resolution will be, pick something that is important to you and make sure it is doable. Setting yourself up for failure doesn’t benefit anyone and will only frustrate you. Instead, make small changes that will result in major changes over time.
Here are some of the most popular resolutions that are made each year:
Improve Your Health
Probably the most made resolution is a vow to improve your health. This usually includes a combination of diet and exercise to complete the goal. If you are thinking about making your health your resolution, start small. You can start by choosing to either eat a little more healthy or to work out a few times a week. Your resolution could even be to lose 10 or 20 pounds over the course of the year. Don’t choose a fitness goal that seems impossible because you will be more likely to quit if you think you can’t do it.
Find a Better Job
Many people are unhappy with their jobs. When the New Year comes around, these people usually vow to find a better job. This is a great resolution if you are looking to better yourself or would like to see a pay increase. To make sure you follow through on this resolution, update your resume the day you make your decision. You won’t be successful unless you take that first step. Also talk to others that are in the field you want to find employment. Ask them about courses or training that would help you land your new dream job.
Finish or Further Your Education
Finishing or furthering your education is important, especially if you’re thinking about making that job change. This resolution is very doable as a long-term goal, but you probably will not be able to start classes right away at a local college. Most colleges will be starting a new semester soon, but there are deadlines to consider. If you are unable to enroll in a class or enter a program right away, go ahead and start working on your FAFSA form to see if you qualify for any financial assistance or student loans. While waiting for the class or training to start, spend time brushing up on your skills if it has been a while since you were in school. There are many online courses like Kahn Academy that are free to use.
Break a Bad Habit
Many of us have a bad habit or two, that might not be the best for our health. A common New Year’s resolution includes giving up such bad habits as smoking or drinking. If you decide to give up a bad habit, start by making a plan for what you will replace it with that will not be just another bad habit. For example, when you stop smoking, if you are not careful about what your hands are doing, you will find that you gain 20 pounds from idle eating. If you are trying to reduce your alcohol consumption, make a plan for how you will handle gatherings where it is served. You will most likely not be able to skip all the events, but if you have a couple of alternative beverages that you can ask for at the bar, it will be easier. Try writing down small goals that are achievable. If you can’t go cold turkey on not smoking, start cutting back by one cigarette a day. Over the course of a couple of weeks, you will have reached your goal of breaking the bad habit.
Discover a New Hobby
Another common New Year’s resolution is to try something new or to start a new hobby. If you do not have a hobby from your past that you would enjoy picking up again, spend a little time talking to people that work in the field that interests you. Find out if there is a local club that meets where you can learn the skills needed for your hobby. Perhaps you could volunteer to assist a crafter in the field you would like to learn.
New Year’s is the time to dream big for the year and a lot of people do that by resolving to travel more. If this is your New Year’s resolution, you can do a lot to make your success more likely by planning out both your trip and how you will pay for it. Start with a practical travel budget and then decide where you can go on this budget. If a major trip is not in the budget this year, look at places within four to five hours drive that you could visit throughout the year. If you are set on an international trip, look at ways to save and do your research on the best time to travel. If you travel off season, the cost will be at least half what it would be in high season. Start setting up pricing alerts with the airlines and travel sites like Priceline or TripAdvisor. Make sure to check on package pricing but make sure to do your homework by checking around before booking.
Clean & Organize
If you’ve been feeling frustrated and overwhelmed with a cluttered house or space, this might be the resolution for you. Make a goal to clean and organize a specific room per week or even your whole house over the course of the year. Just get started! Start with small steps like cleaning out the front closet or half bath. Move on from those small tasks to the larger ones. There are dozens of sites with cleaning schedules if you need some direction or motivation. Start with clearing the clutter and the things that you can get rid of before trying to clean and organize. Remember that you can’t organize clutter!
Relationships always seem to be high on the list of things people consider when making their New Year’s resolutions. Whether you are wanting to repair a broken relationship or to just remain in contact with old friends, start by being intentional with your time and efforts. Take a look at the relationships you have in your life and decide which ones need your time and attention to flourish. You may also decide that there are a couple of relationships that you need to step away from in order to have the time to build up the relationships you have determined to be important. If you have children, you could resolve to spend more quality time with them without any electronics involved. Maybe you’ll resolve to bring flowers to your significant other more often. Regardless of what the relationship is, make a plan for how you can improve it and make that person feel important to you.
Desiring to help others is usually within the top ten list of New Year’s resolutions. Certainly the marketing gurus flash enough commercials in front of us during the holidays. If you are looking for ways to help others, before pulling out your checkbook, take a little time to reach out to local agencies and find out what needs are in your community. Yes, all service charities can use a cash donation, but they also need people willing to serve as board members and volunteers. Consider becoming a mentor or offering to teach a class to someone that might make a change in not only their life but in generations to come. If you are donating money, make sure to check that the receiving charity is one that uses the majority of the funds received for actual outreach.
Budgeting or Debt Reduction
Financial stability is something most of us struggle with at some point, if not for all of our adult lives. If you are determined to get your finances under control, budgeting is the place to start. There are several programs to help with setting up a budget and learning money management in order to reduce debt. Each of them start with the basis of you can’t control your spending if you don’t know where you spend your money or how much you have coming in. Start by tracking every penny you spend in a notebook or spreadsheet. Also set up a spreadsheet with each bill that comes in the mail. List the name of creditor, along with payment date, payment amount, balance on account, and interest rate being charged. In order to create a budget, you will need to have the above information as well as your income numbers. Add up all the bills you have to pay, don’t forget to include the cash money you tracked during your set up (cash seems to just vanish if you do not keep track closely). Take the total from all the bills and cash that you spent, and subtract from your income for the month. Got any left for savings or emergencies? No? Then budgeting would be a good thing for you. Reducing debt and living on a budget is tough, but the long term benefits far outweigh the short term tightening of spending habits. Now, if like most Americans, short term tightening of your spending habits may not really be all that short term (most likely years), but there are other ways to reduce debt through extra jobs, selling things no longer needed. It’s not easy, and if you are really in debt, it will seem like a complete change in lifestyle, but if it is important, you can do it.
How will you spend your next 365 days? What resolutions did you make this year that have the potential to make major changes in your life?