With the new year comes the time for New Year’s resolutions to begin. Most of us go into this time of year with great expectations with regard to how we can change our lives for the better. But, change takes time and can require some serious work. Since very few of us actually stick to our New Year’s resolutions, we’ve got to find a better way to create more success with them.
Introducing smaller changes a little bit at a time have proven to be successful. This creates habits that will have long term staying power and is the way to help ensure success. So, we have come up with some great tips to help you achieve some long term success with your New Year’s resolutions.
One of the biggest hurdles that most of us face is getting our finances in order. In some way, shape or form, we feel that there is something not operating at 100% with our finances. This could be any of the following things:
While we would all love to wave a magic wand and our finances would miraculously be in order, that seems highly unlikely. Instead, we usually aim for lofty goals to fix one entire category in a year’s time. But most of us have more than a year’s worth of work that will need to be done to fix recurring issues.
Instead, it makes more sense to take things in smaller chunks with our finances. This can help create a longer term plan that is more easily digestible, which makes it much more attainable over the long run.
Create a Budget
One of the best ways to do this is to first create a budget. This may sound harder than it is, but you can start with the basics and get more advanced as time goes on. When you create your budget, make sure to include:
- Income from all sources (only what you take home though, since this is the money you have to work with)
- Mortgage or rent
- Utilities (gas, water, electricity)
- Recurring household expenses (cable, streaming, internet, cell phone, etc.)
- Household expenses (toiletries, linens, etc.)
- Grocery expenses (we include alcohol in this category, but you can split that out, if you prefer)
- Automobile expenses (this includes gas, car payments, car insurance and anything else for the car)
- Clothing and shoes
- Monthly recurring extracurricular expenses (gym, memberships, dues, children’s activities)
- Luxury (eating out, traveling, etc.)
- Misc expenses (anything that is a one off, such as stamps)
Weekly Budget Meeting
Once you have your budget created, then move onto having a weekly budget meeting to go over everything. This may sound extremely time consuming, but it really isn’t. If you are having a budget meeting every week, then it should really only take you about 10-15 minutes to go over everything. What you want to cover during these meetings are:
- What did you spend last week?
- How much did you make last week?
- Where are you with regard to the monthly budget in each category? Are you over or under?
- Are there expenses coming up in the next week that you need to discuss and account for?
- Where are you at with your emergency fund savings?
- Where are you at with your retirement accounts?
- How is the debt repayment coming along?
- Do you want to attack your debt using the debt snowball or the debt avalanche method?
- Are there any other places you would like to put your money this week?
- Will you be bringing in anymore money this upcoming week?
- If so, where should it be allocated?
- Are you on goal for your overall monthly budget?
- If not, what areas do you need to focus on to get back on track?
Once you have answered all of these questions, you are done with the meeting and can move on with your day. But the more frequently you have these meetings, the easier it is to stay on track. And by doing so, you have a much higher long term success rate for changing your overall financial picture with these types of New Year’s resolutions.
Changing your physical health can be just as difficult as changing your financial health. Approaching it with the same smaller steps method can really increase your odds of success though.
One of the best first steps to make with your physical health is to increase the amount of water you drink. Most of us simply aren’t drinking enough of the clear, delicious nectar of the Gods. Instead, we are choosing sodas, teas, coffees, sports drinks, etc. While some of these still have great nutritional content and redeeming value, they still aren’t water. As humans, we contain, on average, up to 60% water. Which means that we need to replenish this water regularly in order to operate at our optimal potential.
Some of the basic benefits of drinking more water are:
- Increases proper digestion
- Regulates body temperature
- Lubricates joints
- Helps the brain produce hormones and neurotransmitters (aka metabolism)
- Increase cell production and survival
- Ensures the immune system is functioning properly
As you can tell, water is pretty darn important for us. And this includes making sure our digestive tract is operating properly. And when it is, we have an easier time losing or maintaining weight.
Optimal Water Levels
The amount of water you need to maintain your optimal levels will vary based on weight, sex, activity level and environment you live in. On average, you should be getting between .5 – 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day.
Here is a good example:
- A 150 pound person in a temperate environment with a higher activity level should be getting approximately 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day.
- 150 x 1 = 150 ounces
- 8 ounces per cup
- 150 / 8 = 18.75 cups
While this formula works pretty well as a generalization, you know your body best. So play around with different levels of water intake to see where you find your sweet spot to be.
Another great way to work on your physical health is to change the way you eat. The 3 larger meals most Americans are used to nowadays are actually not the best way for us to eat.
Seeing as we derived from hunter/gatherer’s, our digestive system isn’t meant to handle the vast quantity of food we assault it with 3 times a day. Instead, it is meant to handler smaller amounts of food more regularly, and it operates more efficiently that way. Plus, when you eat smaller meals, you should naturally be eating less calories. Eating less calories more frequently should keep you filled up for a longer period of time. Which translates to eating less calories per day, which can equal weight loss.
By changing how you eat to more of a grazing lifestyle, you will help your metabolism operate more efficiently, and therefore, store less fat. Since this can be a large change though, start small. Begin with eating a lighter breakfast than usual and trying to graze throughout the day, whenever you are hungry. If you can get rid of lunch altogether, then do it. If not, work your way up to that. Dinner is usually the last meal to go, because it is our most social meal.
Ultimately, if you can make some of these small changes for your health, you can really see some long term results.
New Year’s Resolutions Summary
Overall, there are a lot of ways that you can ease into a New Year’s resolution with staying power. But everything comes down to small changes. If you want to change your finances, start with creating a budget. Then begin to have a weekly budget meeting. This will ingrain the information in your brain and create a new habit.
And if you want to change your health, start with drinking more water. Next you can add in smaller meals per day with less calories, for longer staying power.
If you can start small, you can really make some positive differences in your life a year from now!
What are some of the best ways you have found to make New Year’s resolutions stick in your life?