It happens every single year. We stay up too late on New Year’s Eve. We eat too many cookies and stare dreamily at the Christmas Tree and then watch the ball fall on TV as we count down into a new calendar year. It’s a brand new day, a brand new month, and a brand new year. Life is ripe with opportunity. But if you’re not careful, you can wind up with a case of the post holiday blues, flying by the seat of your pants.
This year, start things off on the right foot. Knock out these 5 simple tasks in an afternoon’s time to set yourself up for success.
Set 3 Concrete Life Goals
You can choose a physical goal like running a marathon. Maybe you’ll decide to reach an academic goal like reading one book per week. You can select a spiritual goal like serving in your church or community or reading throughout he Bible. Setting a small number of attainable and well defined goals allows you to actually be able achieve those goals during the new year. If you’d like you can break down the goal into smaller milestones. What if you achieve one of your goals before the end of the year? Good news, you can choose another. Just begin with three (one should be financial, more on that later because it takes some more planning) and channel your energies into achieving them.
Knock Out 3 Household Tasks
Have you been meaning to change that light bulb? Been putting off replacing the furnace filter? Need to seal your windows to block out the cold air during the winter months? Go ahead and choose three small projects that can be completed in an afternoon’s time with minimal purchase. Rather than a grand renovation, concentrate on those small projects that can make a big difference.
I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t tell you need to get a good handle on your budget before the new year begins. In Slaying the Debt Dragon, I wrote an entire chapter on the process of budgeting and why you need to change your attitude about it. I’m not going to shame you about blowing it during the holiday season. Even the most excellent budgeters can veer off course due to a festive mood. Now is the time to get reconcile those expenses and look ahead. You can use these free printable budget forms to get the ball rolling if you’ve never budgeted before. I like to budget six months at a time, simply because it helps me anticipate irregular expenses like quarterly bills, birthdays, and holidays. No closing your eyes or just living paycheck to paycheck, now is the time to get organized.
Choose 1 Financial Goal
It may seem like I’m duplicating two of our categories but I feel like this goal is essential that it needs its own explanation. Every year, you should have at least 1 Financial Goal. Maybe you are planning to pay off a specific amount of debt or save to pay cash for a vacation. Maybe you are setting aside a weekly amount of money for a down payment on a home. Choose at least 1 financial goal and jot down 5 methods you’ll use to help reach it this year. For example, if you’re seeking to pay off debt (because you totally should!), maybe you’ll 1) Drop dining out for a designated period of time and use the money you would have spent to launch at your debt. 2) Sell a few items that you no longer use (hello old treadmill!) to help fuel your journey. 3) Pick up a part time job to help increase your income to put more toward paying off debt. 4) Weekly meal plan to make better use of the groceries you’re buying, bringing your spending down. 5) Commit to packing your lunch.
If you’re looking to pay off debt in the New Year, I can’t stress enough to you that you need to Subscribe to Queen of Free. Every day in January, I’m going to be doling out inspiration and practical steps that you can take to kick debt in the teeth and make financial progress. PLUS, there will be freebies and give aways and fun galore! Follow me on Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. Let’s get this party started!
It’s not glamorous or exciting but saying yes to something always requires saying no to something else. That means you need to pick something to quit this year. Maybe you’ll go on a self imposed spending freeze for a set time frame. Maybe you’ll quit eating at restaurants. My husband went 2.5 years without a single restaurant purchase while we were paying off $127K in debt. It can be done! Cancel your subscription. Eliminate cable. Quit smoking. Choose something to intentionally quit and then use the money you would have spent on that practice to pay off debt or achieve your goals.
HOORAY for a new year. I can’t wait for you to kick things into high gear and to cheer you along. January is my most favorite month of all.
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My book is now available: Slaying the Debt Dragon: How One Family Conquered Their Money Monster and Found an Inspired Happily Ever After. You can also check out The Debt Free Devotional on Kindle.
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