Bills, Finance, Money, New Year, New Year's Eve, Personal Care, Weight Loss

Let’s Scratch New Year’s Resolutions

Comments Off on Let’s Scratch New Year’s Resolutions 31 December 2016

My New Year’s Resolution List usually starts with the desire to lose between ten and three thousand pounds. Nia Vardalos

New Year’s resolutions are often a joke – an old, sad one.  I have some acquaintances who own a bakery.  They always schedule a vacation right after New Year’s because historically that is when they see a drop in sales. Everyone is trying to get “healthy” and eat better. By Valentine’s Day, all those goals have been discarded and the business is up and running again! Because of this rush to fitness, January is historically a good time to get deals for gyms, fitness classes, fitness machinery, etc. Everyone wants to get on the bandwagon and within a few months, most have left the bandwagon. Unfortunately, this is just one example of good intentions gone bad in the new year.

So enough negativityLet’s scratch New Year’s resolutions. 

The New Year is every day you walk up.  You do not need to wait until January 1st to get your life in order. Issues come up all the time that can be addressed and changed. Here is how my 2016 shaped up.

The Tax Preparation Revelation

Metal Spike File With BillsEarlier this year, I saw how much time I was spending in the first quarter  getting my taxes in order for the accountant. This included documenting my spending, finding receipts, asking for receipt copies for those which were lost, and basically tearing through piles of papers trying to get my affairs in order.  I spent so much time on it that I could see it cutting into my income at that point. Plus it was aggravating and I resented the amount of emotional energy it was taking from me.

I decided that was not going to happen again and after I finally got my 2015 taxes in order,  I decided that for the rest of the year, I would regularly document my income and expenses, print up and file receipts on the spot and keep my financial affairs in order on an ongoing basis. So I did it. Now, this year,  everything is 90% done, except for a few loose ends. So that feels good.

Home Spending Revelation:

As a result of that exercise, I started thinking about my spending in general and have begun tracking my regular expenses. Have seen my spending habits – how much I spend on groceries, on household items, on my car and it is helping my decide how I am going to frame 2017 financially at home, too.

The Christmas and Gift Spending Revelation:

Concept of business on white background

2015’s Christmas season also revealed to me how much I was spending on gifts and events – and I don’t spend that much relative to most Americans.  However, it does take a certain amount of money to get through the holidays – at least for me.  I like to enjoy myself and I like to treat people I care about. I started thinking about that and how I could still do that without seeing a sudden dip in my December income. So I looked at my general expenses over the year on gifts and treating people and came up with a general amount. I divided that amount into 12, went to the bank and set up an account that automatically withdraws that 1/12th amount every month.   By the time Christmas rolled around the money was in the bank and I have a nice cushion for birthdays and other events throughout the year.  It doesn’t matter how much you put in.  Even $25 a month is going to get you further than you were before.

The Weight and Exercise Revelation:

diet concept. Jeans and yellow measuring tape.

The 2015-2016 holiday season was disastrous for my weight – I gained about 7 pounds and I am small framed person. I decided to be in denial about that, so it wasn’t until the summer that I started dealing with it.  Joined Weight Watchers online and decided to walk and exercise regularly – but in do-able moderation. At this point, I take one big nature walk a week and I do yoga about 3-4 times a week.  With Weight Watchers, I starting paying attention to what I was eating and making adjustments. In the end, I lost the weight and have kept it off – even during the holidays!

The Procrastination Revelation:

One thing that I did do early last year was to get a nice datebook.  I had always had datebooks, but the spiral bound ones where I would occasionally write down an appointment or a grocery list.  This new one is a small binder with pockets for papers, pens, thumb drives, gift cards, etc. Every year I can refill it with new calendar inserts. During the course of preparing taxes last year I had found $500 check from a job that I had never deposited, because it was “buried”. Other tasks were not getting done and my lists were on the phone, on post-its, on pieces of paper. This was not good.

Using the datebooks has been a bit of a learning curve.  At this point, I try to look at it for a few minutes every evening and jot down tasks for the next day.  Happily, because of the datebook, checks are now being deposited regularly, birthday gifts and cards are now going out on time, and things are getting done.

Your New Year’s resolutions start when you are ready for change. Whether that is on January 1st or April 25th, or August 17.  It doesn’t matter.  Figure out what is holding you back and then do something about it and keep doing something about it.  That’s what really counts.

 

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