The beginning of a new year can bring about many changes. Some of those changes can be positive and planned, or sometimes they are unexpected challenges. Regardless of your situation, a new start requires focusing on the things that matter most to you. There are endless distractions in the world that can take you off course. The good news is, with the right mindset and strategy, you can make a positive start to the new year. Here are a few critical areas to focus on as you navigate this time.
Focus on Health
While the benefits of living a healthy lifestyle include staying physically fit, one of the greatest parts about staying healthy is clarity of mind. When you consistently exercise and eat healthily, it significantly helps alleviate any anxiety you might have. On top of that, one of the quickest fixes for mental clarity is making sure you’re getting enough sleep. This is especially important if you’re also exercising regularly. The body needs enough sleep to properly repair after workouts. Working out without proper sleep will leave you feeling increasingly tired and unable to focus.
One of the biggest obstacles to transforming your lifestyle into a more healthy one is habit building. Not many people truly enjoy working out, but they do it because they’ve built the habit intentionally. Habits can be extremely beneficial or detrimental. For example, if you’re always going to bed late, you’ve built up a habit that is detrimental to your health even though you know it’s not good for you. One of the most effective ways you can build healthy habits is to get an accountability partner. If your plan is to start working out, don’t be like the 99% of other people who make new years resolutions and quit on them a few weeks into the new year. Ask a friend or loved one to hold you accountable, either by working out with you or by providing frequent check-ins to ensure you are staying on track.
Mental health is just as important as physical health and sometimes there are issues that are bothersome or need to be worked through. Maybe these are issues that you don’t know how to deal with on your own and are afraid or uncertain to reach out to someone in your life to help. Hopefully there is someone in your life you feel comfortable reaching out to, but if not, consider trying therapy. Having the ability to sit down and work through problems with someone confidentially can be a great way to make positive changes in your life.
Keep Orderly Finances
Many Americans are not in a great financial position, as we can see from these staggering numbers, credit card debt is a large factor. Finances can be a huge personal stressor and become an issue that distracts you from reaching your goals. Fixing your finances isn’t as easy as waving a wand, but you can make intentional and consistent changes to how you use your money. Doing so will put you in the best position to move forward.
Debt is one area of finances that can hold you back. Paying off your credit card is one of the most common issues in America, right along with student loan debt. The most effective way to pay these off is to create a budget forcing yourself to commit to paying off a certain amount of debt each month. This number is up to you, and it depends on other expenditures in your life, but if you are able to start chipping away at that debt it will give you much more freedom in the future. The most expensive part of a loan is the amount of interest you have to pay in the beginning. The amount of money you pay each month goes partially towards the principal amount and partially towards interest. If you can afford to make larger payments early on, you can lower the principal amount faster, which in turn reduces your interest expenses and saves you money.
Focus on Family and Friends
A new start requires support and advice from those around you. If you’ve set new goals for the year but aren’t certain where to start, consider reaching out to your family and friends. If you’re of the age where you have many older relatives, reach out to them and learn more about their lives and experiences. You would be surprised at some of the stories they have that you can learn from.
In general, when you have a new start, it’s important to focus on what matters to you. At the end of the day, friends and family are among the most important to have. Developing those relationships and pushing any distractions aside will help you live a more purposeful and fulfilling life.
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