As 2015 comes to a close, I hope that everyone has the opportunity to reflect on the year. Sometimes, we get so busy with the “to do’s” that we forget the time to actually process the good times, the hard times and the lessons that we’ve encountered through the year. My challenge for all of us is to take time for ourselves, sitting by the tree lights or taking a walk outside, to really think about how we’ve grown through the year and what changes we want to make for 2016.
As I begin to identify what things I might like to achieve next year, I think about them in ways that are stepping stones to the top. Let’s use money as an example… if I say I want to save more money next year that’s a valuable goal. But unless I break it down into little steps and measure how much and when, I will probably be disappointed at the end of the year. So here are some ways I can save money:
- Save the coins of a designated amount (like all the dimes or quarters)
- Save all of the change
- After making the last payment on an installment loan or credit card balance, pay the savings account
- Deposit the income tax refund
- Save any overtime or bonus pay in savings instead of putting it in checking account.
- Choose to pack lunches instead of eating out or limit it to 2-3 times a week.
- Choose to save a certain amount each pay, like $5.00 a pay or a week
- Decide that I to save, more than I want to spend and buy nothing unless it’s really needed.
When I’ve decide what I want to do, I need to put it in writing to affirm and share it. Write it on an index card or post it and place where I will see it several times a day. This way my family members will remember what my goal is and how they can help me get there.
Some of the same guidelines might apply if my goal was to pay off all debt. Check out Powerpay at https://powerpay.org/login.php. It will help to identify which bills to pay off first and how to strategize with the rest to be successful. Having a plan is half the challenge, the other half is sticking to it.
Whatever your plans for the New Year might be, just remember that it goes beyond just thinking about it or wishing it would happen. By putting simple steps in order, writing it down and being reminded by posting them where I’ll see them every day will help me and my family be successful in achieving my goals. And, if you have children, you’ll be teaching a life lesson to them. By planning, we can accomplish many things that we might not have been able to do if we just take one day at a time.
From all of us at Ohio State University Extension, we wish you all a wonderful season of memories and best wishes for a great New Year!
Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722.