A New Year Brings New Possibilities
January rings in the New Year and the annual promise of something new: adopting resolutions, setting goals and looking ahead. I like opening a fresh new planner that’s wide open for possibilities.
It’s also a time to reflect on the previous year – what we’re grateful for, and what we’d like to do differently.
It’s Time for a Financial Checkup
At the start of each year I calculate my net worth to get a current picture of our financial standing. I’ve created a spreadsheet, so I can compare it to previous years and see where I’m at.
Take a look at your budget. It’s a good idea to look back on your spending patterns of the past year. You may be surprised to see where money goes if you don’t watch where you’re spending it.
Figure out what percentage of your financial assets you’re spending. Do you need to make any adjustments?
Forecast your income and expenses for the coming year and plan your withdrawals. It’s likely your regular expenses will increase during the year. It’s best to prepare for this as well as any variable costs that may come up.
A New Year – A New You
It’s so easy to get into a rut of doing the same things day in and day out. Give some thought to what you want for yourself this coming year. Setting goals gives you something interesting and exciting to focus on.
Learn something new or reconnect with something you used to love to do as a kid:
- Take a course – online, or at your local university or community college
- Try a new hobby or activity.
- Join an interesting club.
- Research a place you’ve always wanted to visit and plan your trip.
Set yourself a challenge:
- Read a book a week
- Run a marathon
- Grow the biggest zucchini
- Make some new friends
Plan an adventure.
Make a commitment to spend more time with your family and friends – all those people who have a special place in your life.
Break a Habit
This one is trickier and needs more focus. Resolutions to lose weight and get more exercise are the most common for people every year – and the quickest to be broken. If you want to try to get healthier there’s lots of help available – ask your doctor, join a group, or download an app.
- Purge your stuff once and for all. Be selective about what’s sentimental. If you don’t use your heirlooms often give them to someone who will treasure them more. If something is no longer of use to you, get rid of it – donate, sell, or toss. Be discerning about what you buy and what you accept from other people who are trying to unload their own clutter (yes, Mom, I’m talking about you!).
- Stop complaining – the long line at the checkout, traffic, waiting forever at the doctor’s office, the waitress who was curt to you. It’s exhausting to hear someone complaining all the time – so stop already. You know what you learned in kindergarten – if you can’t say anything nice, then shut it.
- Nothing says “old geezer” like comparing all your physical ailments and the medications you take. Let’s not dwell on infirmities and disabilities. There’s other things to talk about.
- Try to let go of regrets (opportunities you didn’t take) and grudges (the colleague who was promoted over you). There’s nothing you can do about it now, so let it go.
- Are you watching too much TV or spending too much time on the computer? Apple has a new report for iPhone and iPad users called Screen Time that shows how much time you’re spending on your device.
The Bottom Line
Cheers to the new year. I encourage you to have goals and dreams that you are shooting for. Regardless of our age or place in life, there are things that we can strive for and achieve. The only limits are the ones we place on ourselves.
Here’s to 2019 filled with love and laughter – your best year yet!