With each New Year comes a reminder of the things that you didn’t accomplish during the last. As adults, we tend to have long lists of things we know we should do each year, from finally creating a budget and sticking to it, to updating our resumes and professional portfolios.
While these things may not be as exciting as deciding to travel more or expanding your ethnic food palette, they are goals that can help you to live a happier, more stress-free life this year and in the future.
Take a look at this post to discover some of the things you may not want to throw on your New Year’s checklist, but should.
Financial Goals for the New Year
A New Year is almost always associated with finances and budgeting. While many of us are aware that we should dig into our finances, it often doesn’t go any further than acknowledging that yes, we should probably get around to that this year, then forgetting about it as we continue to scroll through our preferred social feed.
But the longer than you put off financial planning, the more difficult it is to get things in order down the road. It doesn’t matter if your current financial situation is complex or simple. Understanding where you are financially lets you know where you are in terms of your future life goals, like buying a home or traveling abroad.
Some of the financial goals you should explore this year include:
Look Into Retirement Planning
When do you want to retire, and what will it take you to get there? In today’s world, with an unlimited number of personal finance apps available, taking control of your finances is easier than ever before. Even something as simple as setting up a savings account and adding to it each month can make a significant difference.
Think about it this way: if you were to put away $100 each month over the next year, you would have $1200 by the time December rolled around. And if you are hoping to retire in, say, 25 years, that $100 a month would become a $30,000 nest egg for you to fall back on.
You don’t have to start counting pennies, but even a simple budget can help you to better manage your finances.
Start small by calculating your total monthly expenses and income. This will show you how much income you need to live, and what you have left over once every expense is covered. Then take it a step further to see if you are spending money on unnecessary costs like monthly subscriptions you don’t use, or internet, cell phone, or TV add-ons that just aren’t worth it anymore.
Pay Off Debt
Maybe you have a student loan, or perhaps you have a credit card you have been meaning to pay down. Regardless of what your debt is, there’s no time like the present to start moving towards getting it off of your plate.
Paying off debt is a big part of budgeting, and though it may be painful at the time to put large chunks of cash towards something that only requires a minimum monthly payment, once the debt is clear, your monthly expenses will decrease and you can reallocate those funds to another goal like taking a vacation, buying a house, or adding it to your new retirement plan.
Career Goals for the New Year
Generally, we tend to be a bit more active in our career goals than our financial goals, since we spend so much of our lives at work. A happy balance between your professional life and personal life is essential, and many people strive to balance the two in harmony.
To become happy in your profession, and to continue to grow and expand your career, it helps to set some loose goals each year that will ultimately help you to be happier and more satisfied in life. Consider some of the following career goals to see if they are a fit for you in the coming year.
Update Your Professional Profiles
Whether you are on LinkedIn, Behance, Dribbble, or you host your own website or blog, make sure to update it regularly. Sure, it can be tedious to check that you linked to your latest blog post in your LinkedIn profile, but it’s a great way to showcase your work and keep track of everything you have done.
Even if you aren’t actively seeking a new job, an unexpected opportunity can happen. By keeping your profiles up to date, you won’t have to scramble to find links to the work you’ve done if you suddenly find yourself in need of samples.
Update Your Resume
You’ve probably gained new professional skills and experience in the last year, even if your position hasn’t changed. Add any new courses, responsibilities, title changes, or jobs to your resume while the information is still fresh in your mind.
It’s also a good idea to add any new references that are more relevant than the ones you currently have listed.
Expand Your Education
If you have been thinking about taking a course to enhance your professional skills or even considering returning to school for an entire career change, now might be time to make that happen.
Research what you want to do, find schools or colleges that offer classes or courses and figure out what your options are. It might be that you can’t start right away due to your living or financial situation, but you can begin to create a plan that will help you to be in a better place this time next year, or even just six months down the road.
Get a New Job
Maybe you are still interested in and dedicated to your industry, but your current workplace isn’t making you passionate about your job anymore. It could be because you feel as though your role has become stagnant, or because there are little-to-no opportunities for growth and you are ready for a new challenge.
Whatever it may be, if you have been thinking about exploring the job market because your job is taking away from your life instead of adding to it, it could be time for a change.
Use your updated resume (or create a new one) to get the ball rolling.
Real Estate Goals for the New Year
Unless you own your dream home and have no renovations or upgrades to make, you likely have some real estate goals to add to your list this year.
Some of the things you might want to get around to this year are:
Get that leak fixed, those new windows put in, or that draft taken care of. Make a list of home repairs that need to be made and get to them before they become major issues.
Find a New Home
If you live in a rental, or you are ready to upgrade from your starter home, finding a new place to call home might be a perfect goal to aim for this year. It could be in your current city, or a different state altogether.
Personal Goals for the New Year
Personal goals are just that—personal. Whether you want to start eating healthier, or you want to be timelier with your dental and health check-ups, the goals you set for yourself should be ones that will make your life better.
Perhaps the biggest, and one of the most important personal goals that people tend to put off is estate planning. What may seem like a daunting and intimidating task really isn’t that complicated once you determine where you need to start.
For many, this means creating a Last Will and Testament. You may think that because you are young, or because you don’t have children, a Last Will isn’t relevant to you. But without one, you won’t get to choose where your assets are applied or who you would like to leave a specific gift to.
After creating a Last Will, you should complete a Power of Attorney to allow an individual of your choice to make financial, business, or real estate decisions on your behalf if you travel for an extended period of time, or if you become temporarily or permanently incapacitated.
And last but not least, you should set out your health care preferences using a Living Will.
If you already have all of these documents in place, be sure to review them this year to see if any changes need to be made.
New Year, New You
A lot of the responsibilities that come with adulthood can seem tedious and complicated, but often, once you actually start looking into what it will take to accomplish a given goal, you will find that it is easier than you had anticipated.
We often don’t think of how much stress and pressure we put on ourselves by procrastinating, especially when it comes to things that could improve the quality of our lives. A lot of this stress can be alleviated by taking the initiative and moving forward with the goals that are the most important to us.