This one is personal for me. I quit smoking earlier this year after being a heavy smoker for nearly eight years. To put it simply, it really, really sucked. I did it cold turkey, but I don’t recommend this for everyone. I was in the right mental space for it to work for me, but I only got through it because I had friends (former smokers) who helped me put things in perspective. Most of them recommended easing it off with a nicotine patch or gum, but not to be tempted by e-cigarettes. Take it from a former smoker who dabbled with them – recently they’ve been getting bad press for their health risks, they can be pretty costly and, if you live in a state where smoking is banned indoors, e-cigarettes fall under that category, too.
The best thing you can do for yourself is to change your routine. If you’re used to smoking on the way to work, after lunch or whenever, break up your routine so you miss these traditional smoking moments. It helps if you have a different outlook smoking in general, and multiple former smokers recommended one self-help book over anything else: “Allen Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking.” He does a great job of breaking down every reason you have to continue smoking. Even if none of these work for you, try to find support in former smokers and grill them on their techniques. Others have done it before, so know that you can do it too – no matter how long you’ve been smoking.
This may be the most cliché New Year’s resolution (next to quitting smoking, of course), but an important one nonetheless. Getting healthy can mean many different things: losing weight, eating better, drinking less or exercising more. Make sure you have an end goal in mind before adding the all-encompassing “get healthy in the new year” goal to your list. You want to go to the gym and exercise more? Cool, but what’s the goal behind that? Are you losing weight, trying to run a mile as fast as you can, or do you want to get super ripped? You’re going to save yourself a ton of time (and potentially money) if you’ve got a clear, tangible goal to achieve. Same thing goes for eating healthier: Are you looking to eat fewer calories? Cut a specific food out of your diet? Lose the beer belly by not drinking? Figure out your underlying goal before you dive in.
No matter what your health-centric goal may be, there are a number of apps you can download to get started strong. If your goal is losing weight through exercise or cutting calories, check out MyFitnessPal. After setting up a profile, you can set your healthy goals and input your meals and work out details. The app will calculate how many calories you’re gaining/burning in an average week, and it’ll give you a clear idea of how your diet influences your health. It’s a great tool to use at the beginning of the year because it puts your diet habits in perspective.
Improve Your Finances!
The best thing you can do to improve your financial habits is to educate yourself on all things money. You don’t need to be wiser than Warren Buffett to put yourself in a solid financial status, you just need to be aware of what you’re capable of with your income and current expenses. Start the year off with a proper reality check of your cash flow: How much are you making each month, and what are your monthly bills and common expenses? From there, get an approximate idea of how much you can save. If you have a goal you want to reach in 2015 that may cost a lot (new home or car, vacation), figuring out how much you can save in a month will give you a solid idea of when you can reach this goal, and how much you can comfortably spend.
If you do the math on your monthly savings and it’s not where you’d like it to be, then make 2015 the year you start cutting costs. Frugal living is easier to pull off than most people realize, from grocery shopping to pretty much any expense you can think of. You have to cater frugal living to your lifestyle, so take a look at this massive list from the Zing blog, which goes over ways to live well and cut costs.
Have Better Relationships!
If this is one of your goals, make 2015 the year of better listening. All relationships are based on strong listening between the people involved, so think about the last fight or argument you had with a family member, significant other or co-worker. Odds are the root of the altercation was one or both of you wasn’t listening hard enough to the needs or wants of the other person. Active listening is the best way to keep relationships strong, and Forbes has a great list of tips to get you started. Once you get a hang of patiently listening to others, conversation and observation become much easier. You’ll also be able to identify issues that your friends have, but may not want to say.
Make Your Job Better!
Again, start your 2015 with a reality check. Ask yourself this question: Do you want to stay at your job? If the answer is yes, then your goal should be making the best of your situation. Set a goal to better yourself at your current job. Typically, this means going for a promotion or a pay raise, so what can you do to achieve it? Telling your boss that your intention is to get promoted could work for you, or maybe churning out great work is a better way to show you’re ready to move up. Figure out the right path for you.
If you don’t want to keep your job, at least your goal is pretty clear: Get a new job! This is no simple task these days, but you can at least narrow down your search by clearing up what you’re looking for. Do you want to stay in the same career path you’re on, or start anew? It’s a heady question to start the year with, but it’s an important one. Your job doesn’t need to be your life, but it can be a strong source of happiness. Don’t settle for less if you’re not getting what you want out of your job. When you do start the job search, check out our list of tips on landing a job, and start sending out your resume!
That’s all the tips we have for your resolutions in 2015, and best of luck with them! If there’s a topic we didn’t cover, or you’d like more information on any of these resolutions, comment below.
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