Careers & Money

Revise your New Year’s Resolutions

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2014Find that you keep making the same resolutions every year but get nowhere? Perhaps it’s time to revise your New Year’s resolutions so that you can achieve them and move onwards and upwards – here are some suggestions to help you get going.

Make bite-sized resolutions

The reason New Year’s resolutions often end up going nowhere is because we simply think far too big. Aiming for big goals without putting real effort and thought into the steps you need to take to reach them will end up with you getting lost along the way. If you want to reach a particular destination on a map, you need to ‘fill the gaps’ in between your start and finish points so you have the directions laid out for where you need to go – and this is no different.

If you want to lose weight

Pick a realistic timeframe you would like to lose the weight in, so you have a ‘due’ date for your task. For example, if you would like to lose 5 kilos and slowly work on lifestyle changes to get you there, aim for a kilo a month – or around 250 grams a week. Each week, make one single change to your lifestyle that will give you the best results, and write down your mini goals list. Focus on positive goals – the things you want to achieve – rather than negative goals – the things you feel you should cut out/stop doing. Then build up on them by adding on your new goal to your routine the following week. Such as:

– Week 1: Be active for at least 30 minutes every day (this can be playing with your kids, walking the dog, a gym workout…)
– Week 2: Drink at least two bottles of water a day (one by lunch time, the other by dinner time)
– Week 3: Chew my food slowly and thoroughly (eating food too quickly means you can have a hard time knowing when you are full)
– Week 4: Add some vegetables to every meal (side salads, omelettes, savoury wholegrain muffins, steamed veges, stirfries…)
– Week 5: Finish eating when I am full (don’t be afraid to reserve leftovers for another meal or throw food out that you are too full to eat!)

If you want to stop smoking

Quitting smoking can be challenging, and many people who attempt it will often try multiple methods before finding something that works. If you have tried to quit in the past, think about what worked and what didn’t, and put together a plan to give yourself the best chance at achieving your goal.

This includes getting rid of all tobacco products in your house so that you won’t be tempted, and doing some self evaluation on any triggers you may have and trying to eliminate them. For example, don’t let other people smoke around you or have cigarettes etc. lying around you in plain sight. Find a new distraction if you are stressed out, such as going for a walk around the block. Take it one day at a time

Recruit someone to support you; whether this is a good friend, a family member or a counsellor, it’s important to have someone else on your side in your anti-smoking campaign. They will be a good person to talk to if you feel you are struggling, and they will also help to hold you accountable which means you’re more likely to stay on track.

If you want to improve your finances and save money

Take a good hard look at where your money is being spent by going over your eftpos and credit card bills for the last few months and use a highlighter to categorise your spendings. What portion is being spent on ‘wants’ – things you like to do and have (going to the movies, eating dinner out, buying new clothes every month) – versus ‘needs’ – things you need to live comfortably (power bill, water bill, rent, petrol etc.).?

From your ‘wants’, what could be cut back or substituted for something less costly? For example, rather than you and your partner going out to a movie once a week for $15 per ticket along with food and drinks, versus having a special dinner at home and going out for mini golf afterwards? Could you invest in a wardrobe that is easier to mix and match, and just buy two or three new pieces of clothing or accessories each season to keep up with the trends rather than changing out everything in your closet once a month?

Figure out how much you can realistically save each week, and put it into a high interest savings account (preferably an online-only account that you can’t access with your eftpos card!) as soon as your pay comes through each week. If the money is already set aside before you start spending, you won’t miss it. If you want to save for a particular thing, such as a new car or a holiday, don’t touch your savings account until you have saved enough to pay for it outright.

This also means no more hire purchases or taking advantage of interest free deals! There are always administration fees that can overinflate the final cost of an item. If you don’t have the money to buy something, don’t buy it!

Image / FreeDigitalPhotos.net -Stuart Miles

Article brought to you by NZ Real Health

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