The start of a new year brings new opportunities to organize all areas of your life. Some of that enthusiasm definitely starts to wane as January drags on, so this is a good time to plan some small tasks that you can do to make your whole year better.
Here are a few items to add to your to-do list that really will help get your life on solid footing.
1. Run a Credit Report
You can request a free credit report once a year from each of three different credit bureaus. Set a reminder to do one in January, May, and September, and you’ll have a much better control over your credit. Having a credit report run frequently lets you organize your credit, check in, and make sure nothing is amiss.
2. Evaluate Your Retirement Contributions
There are many different ways to set up your retirement savings, and no matter what you do, make sure you reassess your plan each year. If you got a raise last year, you should be able to put more into your retirement savings. If you turned 50 last year, you can add extra funds as part of a catch-up plan for those over 50. If saving money is one of your resolutions, this is where you put that into action. Designate what you might give up and figure out how much that would be each month (for instance, give up one coffee a week and save $20 a month). Then choose that as a set amount to automatically withdraw from your paycheck and go to your retirement.
3. Reset Your Environment
Lots of people advise clearing out the clutter to organize and have a more peaceful home environment, but that’s an overwhelming thought when you’re working a week of back-to-back shifts while juggling family and all your other commitments. So in the next month pick just one area of your environment that would bring you the most peace. Do you have a long commute? Maybe a clean and tidy car would make you feel a sense of calm. Is your kitchen the hub of your home? Cleaning off the counters will be like a breath of fresh air. Even a new playlist each month or a small bouquet of fresh flowers in your bathroom can brighten up your mood and get your day off to a good start.
4. Learn Something
Yes, learning a new language would be fantastic, as would playing the guitar or succeeding at skiing. But if you’re short of time, inspiration, and energy, find a small goal and perfect it. Learn how to make one go-to appetizer so you’re not perplexed when going to a party. Nail down your elevator speech. Find a new route to an old place. Clean up your resume. Fine tune three yoga poses to take care of yourself. Learn how to make your signature drink (coffee, alcohol, fruit – whatever you like). Gaining control over one thing often helps launch other accomplishments.
5. Accept Yourself
This one is harder than just about any other personal commitment. Once a day (or more if you remember!) tell yourself you are good enough and that you are strong. Say it out loud so you set that as an intention. Yes, we all can get better and can improve, but we all fail. We all mess up. Humans are far from perfect (even the ones on Instagram who look like they have it all together).
What are some other ways you can take small steps for big gains?