This time of year is such a race to the finish line in terms of getting all your affairs in order, getting through the madness of the holiday season, and heading into the new year. It is one of the most common habits in the world to use that time to reflect on the past year and set some goals or resolutions for yourself that you hope to see come to fruition in the new year. If this sounds like you, here are ways to start preparing now for some of the most common changes people vow to make so that come January 1st, you are already in your groove and feeling good.
Make movement a priority
Too often people make big promises to themselves that come the first of the year their fitness habits are going to be so strict and extreme it will change their whole life. As you can imagine this is pretty unattainable. If you are someone who has never enjoyed going to a group fitness class, the odds that you are suddenly going to join a kickboxing studio or yoga group, and actually attend the classes are slim.
Instead work with what you are already doing and make slight improvements in increments, so that when the new year hits you don’t have to do a total 180-degree turn. There are many benefits to wearing a smartwatch and if you don’t already think about adding one to track your progress. These devices can help you with daily movement and sleep patterns, both of which are key for a complete fitness routine. Start by setting a step goal for each day. This is common for a reason, it is easy, it works, and is so good for you. After a few days, then a week, then a month, of prioritizing moving your body daily you will crave it, and doing so will just simply be another daily habit, just like brushing your teeth is.
Review your budget
The holidays are notorious budget busters, and it can be hard to look at your finances come the first of the year and have a good handle on what is working and what is not. Instead, start early and review your budget outside of the holiday season. What are your spending and saving habits when you don’t have to worry about buying Christmas gifts, holiday outfits, and seasonal decorations for your home? Your every day, reoccurring expenses are going to give you the best insight as to where you need to rework your budget.
Home and auto insurance are two common costs that people assume are fixed, but they are not. Just like anything else you can, and should, shop around to get the best deal for your needs and your wallet. By searching for personalized rates all in one place you let the internet do your shopping for you and show you how to save money on both these costs, as well as student loans if you have them. Finding new rates can help lower your monthly expenses significantly and shape your budget for the upcoming year.
Become a savvy grocery shopper
Inflation, shortages, and limited employees, all contribute to you paying more for your groceries than you probably ever have before. Having said that, that means it is on you to find ways to become a savvier shopper so that in the new year you can try to combat some of these uncontrollable variables. Start making a grocery list for your trip instead of shopping on impulse or without a plan. This can lead to overspending and also a situation where you are making multiple trips because you forgot essential items. Look online for coupons, and also in-store. Weekly circulars will often have coupons available or at least alert you to sales so that you can tailor your list to save money. When you can, join frequent shopper clubs at the grocery stores you visit the most. The algorithm will eventually start to recognize your most frequently purchased items and send you coupons for them. Not to mention these clubs often have additional savings perks for members or opportunities to work towards bigger discounts on things you are already buying.
Take stock of your career
How you earn a living is a huge part of your life and your identity and it is a necessity, especially before a new year, to look at your career and really think about what is working for you and what could stand to be tweaked. If you want to change your career that can be a big undertaking so you should give yourself time for the process. Do you want to stay in the same industry and simply move to another company? Or are you hoping to pivot completely and venture down an entirely new path?
Think about what you want out of a job in general as well. Do you want the flexibility to also make family a priority? Are you someone who knows they need in-person collaboration to thrive? How much or how little do you need to earn to suit your lifestyle needs? You might be content at your current job and find that you want for nothing. That is a great realization that can come from this exercise but if not, now is the time to start thinking about how to make the next big move.