New Year, new you, new outlook

Jan. 1 signifies a new beginning. A new chapter. A clean slate. And for some people that means drastically changing your life overnight to become “a perfect person.” What does that even mean?

For some, it means big changes to their life whether physically, mentally, financially or otherwise. Perfection to some could be the perfect body (i.e. slaving away at the gym), and for others it could be to save money (i.e. stop spending money at Starbucks). About 45 percent of adults ring in the New Year with a resolution in mind, but according to U.S. News, about 80 percent of resolutions fail by the second week of February.

Now, I’m not knocking resolutions. But, I do believe in being realistic about your expectations. Because change takes time. And it’s better to start small because small changes can have a big impact on you.

Invest in YOU

Your health is one of the most important things you can invest in. It’s essentially a 401K for your future. And, if you’re reading Chicago Parent, you’re a parent to some little people who want you to be around for a long time to come. You know how it works, get moving. Does that mean signing up for a fancy gym or spending a small fortune on private barre or Pilates classes, it doesn’t have to. There are plenty of free ways to get moving.

Clear your mind

Stress is one of the leading causes of disease and sickness. Taking a mental timeout can help you shift your thinking. We tend to have a negativity bias, which makes us ask what went wrong? Instead, ask what went well or tell yourself it will go well. Use an app like Headspace to do some inner reflection. Try yoga (bonus points as this counts towards physical activity, too!) Block off your calendar for quiet time, coffee breaks, and general reflection time. This means put your phone away. Stop scrolling through meaningless social media and allow your mind to rest and recharge.

Time is on your side

See what I did there? I shifted the paradigm. Rather than complain there are not enough hours in the day, time can be your friend. Sure, the clock continues to tick on by. Your little ones continue to grow with a blink of an eye. Make each moment count. Be present. Plan special outings just for your family. Whether that means taking a walk and grabbing a scoop of ice cream or escaping to a fun destination to explore. Make sure to take lots of pictures to capture the moments so you can look back at all the wonderful memories you’ve created.

Financial health

Everyone wants financial freedom. Keeping your finances ‘healthy’ helps with less stress (see above). Start small with some money saving tips like bringing lunch to work versus eating out every day or skip Starbucks and brew your own for pennies on the dollar. Going on spending diet will help you with purchases – do you really need this or just want it? You can also increase the amount you allocate to your savings account or 401K. It’s money that you never even knew you had to spend. Over time, it will grow.

Resolutions don’t work unless you actually follow through with them. So, out with the old and in with the new. Bring it, 2018!

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