I’m going to be honest, 2017 has already been much more eventful than I imagined it would be…
I got a new job! I accepted a position with a different organization in Columbus (still in research) and I’m loving it so far. The fact that it was a major promotion also helps too.
We spent the MLK weekend in Tampa, where my parents were also vacationing. I love Tampa. I’m convinced that nothing can rejuvenate you like a few days at the beach. I’m just saying–it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if we migrated down there permanently. And I might have ordered a new, tropical patterned bedspread from Amazon…
Usually, the long, desolate stretch of holiday desert between New Year’s and Easter is marked with a formidable list of New Year’s Resolutions.
I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions.
Too many times I’ve ended up with a list of goals that weren’t really goals at all, but rather a list of things I knew I should probably do but knew I would never get around to because I didn’t actually care about them.
To me, New Year’s Resolutions are such a drag because they’re basically a list of results, all grouped together to look absolutely impossible to achieve. And then, at the end of the year, when you realize you have yet to cross off any of them, you feel like a huge failure because you could never figure out where to begin!
This year, I’m doing something different.
This year, I am making a to-do list that will set me (and you) up for success. Instead of listing results, I’m listing ongoing processes that will automatically cause positive outcomes. Instead of worrying about pass/fail outcomes, why not just strive to make positive changes constantly?
1) Get your budget in order
Update your budget. Take into account any changes and reevaluate your expenses. Who knows–you might still need to trim the fat, but if you’ve been diligent in sticking to your budget, maybe you’re close to making an important purchase you’ve been working toward (or you can just bask in your growing savings)! Either way, make sure you’re on track for 2017 to cut down on financial stress later.
2) Purge your excess
Declutter–Donate or sell unwanted items. Humans are weighed down by material possessions. You’d be surprised how liberating it is to purge the excess in your life (figuratively and literally). You don’t need a house full of things to feel satisfied–instead, focus on activities and relationships!
3) Set up an automatic savings account of some kind
If you contribute to a 401(k) or 403(b) through your employer, evaluate your budget to see if you can increase the amount. If you’ve already maxed out your allowed retirement contribution, check to see if your employer offers an additional deferred savings account (also taken out of your paycheck before taxes).
If your employer doesn’t offer a retirement savings option, you can still set up your own. Whether it’s a separate savings account through your bank or cash savings socked away somewhere, make it your mission to save something. It doesn’t matter whether it’s $500 or $5, you’ll still be better off than saving nothing at all!
4) Get healthy
This one’s pretty cliche, but I’m not talking about throwing down on a gym membership that you’ll use for two weeks before flaking out.
When I say “get healthy”, I mean think about how you’re living now and make positive changes that will improve your health. Frugality is also about preventative health–the more you take care of yourself now, the less money you will have to spend later on preventable health problems.
Right now, you can make changes to your diet, you can drink more water, you can be aware of portion control, you can start taking more walks, you can decrease your alcohol intake, you can stop smoking, you can take the stairs instead of the elevator, you can start practicing self-care to improve your mental and emotional health, the possibilities are endless!
5) Reflect often
I found a book on Amazon called The 52 Lists Project: A Year of Weekly Journaling Inspiration. It’s a book of 52 list prompts designed for self-reflection and discovery.
It’s also a list-lover’s absolute DREAM. I’ve been trying to get back into journaling and this seemed like the perfect motivator. Self-reflection is just as important as moving forward. As they say–those who don’t learn from the past are doomed to repeat it. And who needs to be doomed? Why not celebrate how far you’ve come? So who knows, maybe I’ll share a few on here…
Happy (delayed) New Year, friends!