Plan for a Better You

Look Back, Check Up and Plan for a Better You

by Valerie Demetros

These days, resolutions seem to be more of a tradition than a solid plan. Studies show that about 22% of New Year’s resolutions fail after the first week. But that’s no reason to skip planning for a better year.

And honestly, resolutions and a firm strategy for a successful year are two different animals. It’s important to establish realistic goals for the best and most rewarding year possible.

Here are some points to consider as you plan:

Look Back

Last year should be your starting point. Don’t focus on the coming year while dismissing what happened last year. List your accomplishments, achievements, mishaps and timewasters, then reflect on these to plan for this year.

Relationships Checkup

Think about friendships to improve or relationships that have run their course, then make changes. Also, add important dates into your calendar including birthdays, anniversaries and other reminders to foster relationships and make things a bit easier.

Financial Planning

First, create a budget for the upcoming year by setting financial goals and action plans to reach them. If you slack off on following investments or paying credit cards (why pay late fees?), work up a plan to be more diligent.

Consider a financial planner to keep your spending and investments in check.

Be a Better You

Depending on your goals, establish specific habits to coincide with these. For more sleep, start a bedtime routine. Instead of watching TV, read a book or a do a crossword to relax.

For more exercise, plan with a trainer for accountability. To be more organized, schedule writing holiday cards during summer or schedule holiday gift shopping every two months to prevent being overwhelmed in November.

Short-term Goals

It may sound simple, but daily/short-term goals are just as important as long-term goals. Build a daily schedule and try to follow it. Add your workouts, chores, vitamins, phone calls, family dinners, etc.

Even though every day may not look the same, you’ll have a starting point.

Give Yourself a Break

Don’t overschedule yourself and lose your flexibility. Reading, traveling and spending time with friends and family is what it’s all about. Look back on what you most enjoyed last year and be sure to make time this year.

Be Realistic

If you’re overconfident while setting goals, you can get burned out before you even start. Do you really have time to work out for 90 minutes every day?

On the other hand, planning too small can lead to procrastination. Try to find that sweet spot that’s more than you’ve been doing but realistically attainable.

And remember, nothing is set in stone. Make a date to recheck every quarter and modify as your life evolves. The idea is to make your life better, not to overschedule and frustrate yourself.

It’s a new year with all new possibilities, and your purpose is to reach as many as possible while staying happy and productive.

Happy New Year!

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