Hello everyone! Welcome to our weekly Top 5 where I’m sharing 5 amazing articles from my favorite bloggers. This week we’re focusing on goal setting as we’re almost a month in to the New Year and if you’re anything like me, you’re struggling a bit to keep up with the 2017 goals that seemed so easy back at the beginning of the month! I hope these articles inspire you to stick with your New Years Resolutions!
1 Do You Really Need to Set Goals this Year?
Well, we might as well start with the big elephant in the room. Should we even have these in the first place?
Is one of your New Year’s resolutions include losing weight or being healthy? How did I guess? According to Statistic Brain, over 55% of New Year’s resolutions include health and/or weight loss. So I guess we’re all in good company right?
Well, for right NOW we are.
In fear of sounding like a Debbie Downer, I always wonder how many people keep up their New Year’s resolutions come …. say October? Heck even June? Let’s make it easy, April? Or even one month in … February?
The gold standard rule to stick with a new goal is to continuously do it for 21 days in a row. Supposedly if you can make it 21 days, you’re much more likely to stay with it long term.
While I’m no expert on health and weight loss, I’m pretty disciplined with planning and organization. So many resolutions & goals that don’t make it past the 21 day mark probably could with a little planning and organization.
Here’s how I’m incorporating a little planning & organization in to my
Health & Wellness New Year’s Resolution
Get a Plan
I start with an annual goal and break it down to monthly milestones that I need to accomplish to hit my goal. For some it might also be helpful to take it a step further to weekly milestones, but I know that weekly is just too much for me. The key to setting the annual goals is to make them tangible and measurable. For example, ‘become healthier this year’ is great and all (don’t we all want to be healthier?), but it’s difficult to determine success at the end of the year. Another way to write it could be ‘loose x pounds this year’ or ‘train and successfully complete a ½ marathon’.
To Do List
Yes, we all have one. Some are longer than others. I review my annual goals and monthly milestones to determine the action items I need to take.
While a to-do list may seem like a necessary evil, having one central location where all your action items live is truly the most efficient way to get things done. No need to have a separate list to keep goal oriented action items in. It will be more streamlined (and likely easiest) to add these new action items right in to your already existing to-do list. Hopefully you’re already trained to look at your to-do list regularly (:) ). Personally, I use the app ToDoist, but there are many options for smart phone apps and even more paper printable to-do lists.
Prepping Meals in Advance
I like to grocery shop once a week, with a list in hand of everything I’ll need for each meal for the coming week. In order to do this, prior to my trip I plan out each meal for the next 7 days. As planned as I am, I’m never 100% perfect with meal planning. I’m OK with that because even if I stick with it 90% of the time, I save time, money and eat healthier. I’ve never been known to grab a healthy vegetable when extreme hunger hits and I have no food prepared!
Supplements made Easy
Since we all know there is no such thing as a perfect diet (don’t we wish!), dietary supplements help fill nutrition gaps and promote overall health and wellness for the many Americans who cannot get enough essential nutrients from diet alone. More than 170 million Americans take dietary supplements each year, according to a survey from the Council for Responsible Nutrition, so you’re in good company if you already are taking one.
Since supplements work best if you actually take them regularly (:) ) and since I have an awful memory, I use a pill case stored with all my daily toiletries. It makes it fool proof, even for me.
Another fun fact: The multivitamin is the most popular dietary supplement, with 75 percent of supplement users taking one, according to a 2016 survey from the Council for Responsible Nutrition. So that’s what I fill up my pill case with each week!
Exercise in my Calendar
I noticed recently that although I add all work and personal events into my Google calendar, I wasn’t incorporating exercise time into my calendar. Since it wasn’t in my calendar and I wasn’t getting reminders to exercise, it soon became out of sight out of mind. By simply scheduling my workouts, just like I do conference calls, it encouraged me to stick with it and commit.
Double Dip Exercise
I love eating out and grabbing drinks with girlfriends as a way to socialize. In fact it might be one of my favorite things to do. But with goals to be healthier this year and only so many hours in a day, I’ve started trading in my dinners for walks with friends (easy way to exercise while still getting some quality friend time). Living in Seattle, I have so many hiking options available. Admittedly I’m not exactly a ‘nature girl’, but I’ve started taking advantage of some of the outdoor opportunities that Washington has to offer. It’s been a great way to try something new while getting in some serious exercise.
Making Water Delicious
Whether your goal is to lose weight or become healthier this year, drinking water should be high on the list. Now I’ll admit it. I hate water. Yep I do. I’d rather have a cup of coffee or ANYTHING else other than water and rarely reach my daily water intake. So to encourage my stubborn self to drink more water, each week, I make a couple large jugs of infused flavored water. Once I finish drinking them, I simply refill the water.
Reviews & Revising
After years of not sticking with resolutions that I deem not important, I’ve learned the value of reviewing and revising my goals regularly. I decided that there’s no shame in changing or removing a goal that no longer makes sense. For example, a couple years ago I was insistent on running a half marathon. While it sounds like a reasonable healthy goal, half way through the year of training I finally came to grips with the fact that I hate running. Yep, I just don’t like it. It was a big lesson learned on setting goals that I actually WANT to accomplish. But I also gave myself permission to change this goal to something I DO want to accomplish. Ever since then I review my goals at least monthly.
What are your best tips to keep organized with New Years Resolutions? Share them in the comments section!
As cliche as it is, I really believe the New Year is the best time for a financial gut check. The problem that I historically ran in to is not the making of resolutions (hello, fun part), but sticking with them. Come February I’ve forgotten about those oh so important ‘resolutions’. So it goes without saying that by the end of the year, I likley haven’t accomplished what I set out to in January. It’s no surprise then that a recent Capital One survey found that only 1/3 of Americans felt they accomplished their financial goals in 2015. If this 1/3 was anything like me, they likely forgot what their goals were :).
After a couple years of this trend, I knew I needed to do something different. Below are my top 5 ‘doable’ financial resolutions for those that need a little push to get started!
1 – Assess priorities | Before creating a financial resolution game plan, it’s important to really look in the mirror (errr… not at your pores) and evaluate what’s important, what’s realistic & what are your long term goals. This is the time to be honest; if you know that you’re not going to be able to give up regular takeout meals after work, for example, don’t promise yourself that this is where you’ll save money. It sounds like a no-brainer, but every year I do crazy things, such as swearing off wine, in order to save money. Sure enough that one always falls flat.
2 – Automate, Automate, Automate! | Two benefits to automation 1) it’s a time saver & 2) what you don’t see you don’t miss. With a Capital One savings account, you can set aside a fixed amount of money to be moved from your checking account to your savings account (aka – higher interest rate) each month without having to lift a finger! Check out their ‘Automatic Savings Plan’ tool. Hello auto pilot.
3 – 24 Hour Rule | The 24 hour rule is … you guessed it: wait at least 24 hours before making any non essential purchase. Note that I’m not telling you NOT to purchase things, but just to give yourself a reasonable amount of time to assess whether you really need that item. I’ve learned from experience, what seems like a Container Store ’emergency’ doesn’t seem so urgent after I sleep on it. When the 24 hour buzzer is up and you still want to purchase, make sure you’re using a credit card that has a rewards program that fits your needs. The Capital One Venture Card has unlimited rewards and bonus miles for all your jet setters!
4 – Track! | Another past mistake that I’ve learned is that tracking needs to be easy and quick. When it’s not, it can feel overwhelming to keep up. The most ‘beautiful’ formula crazy spreadsheets aren’t worth the effort to create if the maintenance on it is too high. I’m an intense lover of spreadsheets, but for those of you who aren’t too crazy about SUMIF formulas, the ‘My Savings Goals’ tool within Capital One is pretty slick and …. you guessed it: EASY!
5 – Evaluate | Remember that gut check that I mentioned in January? Well, let’s continue that quarterly. It’s ok if you realize that the goals you created in January just aren’t realistic come March. If that’s the case, you need to have another personal heart to heart with yourself and determine what IS realistic. Instead of blowing off the resolutions, just REVAMP them.
May your New Years financial resolutions stick and may you NEVER try to give up wine in order to save money 🙂
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.