What will 2018 bring for you? Aim for the moon and even if you miss, you'll land amongst the stars; or in other words, it pays to plan for your best 2018, and even if you don’t achieve them all, you will still be ahead of the game.
With 2017 drawing to a close, this is the time to upgrade your life by taking some time to think, plan and take action to set yourself up for success in 2018; and if you do, I promise you will thank yourself later.
Day 1: Goal Setting
Who do you want to be this year? What are your values? What is important to you? What do you want to strive for? If you've had lots of ideas in your head about changes you want to make in your life, now is a great time time to write them all down and take stock. I am not talking about setting a heap of lofty New Year's Resolutions which will fall over after a few weeks. I am talking about clearing the decks, making space and setting achievable-able goals which will work with the reality your life.
Start by writing down all the ideas you've had about how you would like to change or improve your life; little & big. Sit down and let them fall out onto the page; but also allow yourself time throughout the day to add to this list as they pop into you head whilst you move about in your life.
Here are some ideas to get you going:
Get your Will done
Arrange life insurance
Reduce your use of single-use plastic
Write a personal financial budget
Pick a course to study
Write a list of books you want to read
Select a new exercise or sport to take up
Go on holiday
Visit your relatives more frequently
Reduce your take-away food consumption
Finish something you started
Spend more quality time with your children
Once you have your list, it is time to consider and prioritise:
Which ones are realistically achievable?
Which will bring about important change?
Which do you want to prioritise?
When should they happen?
Which require saved money?
Which will cost you nothing?
Which require a small amount of time and effort, and which require a lot of time and effort?
Once you know what you want to do, consider the best time to introduce these new goals into your life. Adding or achieving 1 new thing each month is a great way to spread change out across the year and allow you time to adjust and form habits. Importantly, be realistic with your time frames, and remember to make all goals SMART:
Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
Achievable (agreed, attainable).
Relevant (reasonable, realistic and resourced, results-based).
Time bound (time-based, time limited, time/cost limited, timely, time-sensitive).
An example of a SMART Goal is:
In 2018, our family agree to limit our consumption of paid for take-away food to once per calendar month/12 times per annum. This includes fish'n chips, pizza, burgers, bakery products and sandwiches. If we want to eat these foods more than once in a month period, we must either borrow our allocation from the next month or make it at home ourselves. This will save our family money and improve our overall health.
Day 2: Health & Well-being
Choose 2 things you can change/improve/add to your health and well-being routine in 2018; one around diet and one around exercise. Don’t try to add in too much or go for complex goals, or you’ll become overwhelmed and fall off the wagon fast. Instead, go for things which are can be easily integrated into your life. If you already covered diet and exercise in your goal setting on Day 1, you're already ahead of the game!
Exercise: Whether you’ve never exercised a day in your life, or you’re at it 5 days a week, everyone can can add in just 1 thing to stretch themselves. It might be committing to an extra walk per week, trying a new exercise or sport, or adding yoga/meditation to your morning routine. What have you thought about doing in the past?
Diet: It might be a simple swap in your diet, removing something from your diet, drinking enough water daily or ensuring you eat salad or veggies with every meal. Commit to changing 1 thing that you feel would benefit your health and well-being and start from there.
As you master these, add more items in as you feel ready. Seek guidance from a health professional if you’re unsure.
Day 3: Home
Make space for an an awesome 2018 by shedding excess baggage from your home. Now that you know what you want your 2018 to look like, it’s time to bring your home into alignment with that vision.
Clean out the fridge and pantry. Ditch anything mouldy or out of date, give the shelves a wipe out, and insert some trays and baskets to keep things organised. Also discard any food items which aren’t in your best interest (remember your commitment on day 2 around diet).
Fill 1 large garbage bag of unwanted items from around the home to donate to charity. Go through your drawers and cupboards where long forgotten items tend to hide.
Clear off all your benches of clutter, only leaving your carefully considered decor items.
Sort through your cleaning supplies, cosmetics and personal hygiene items and ditch the old stuff you haven’t used in years.
If you'd like more in-depth assistance around de-cluttering your home and life, sign up for the free 7 Day De-clutter Challenge.
Day 4: Car
Messy cars can make us feel like we are living less than a 5 star life. Even if you have an older car, you can still upgrade your experience of it with a little effort. Clean out & vacuum the interior of car. Top up your supplies including:
a reusable coffee cup
first aid kit
sunscreen and other items you’re often caught without when out and about.
I like to put the smaller items into a pencil case, and sit it in the glove box.
Then wash the outside, and pop down to the servo to pump up your tyres and check your windscreen washer fluid.
Day 5: Digital
With so much time spent at computers and on smart phones for most people, these areas can easily become cluttered and in-efficient. So let's give it all a spring clean in readiness for a the new year.
Clear out your email Inbox by deleting old and unnecessary emails and sorting the rest into folders.
Unsubscribe from email lists you don't value, and get your Inbox down to 0.
To help your phone, move/back-up all your photos from your phone to your computer and clear out the old stuff from your phone.
Move all your old computer files into a folder named 2017, and start a fresh one for 2018.
Day 6: Finances
Want more money in 2018? Now is the time to review the last 12 month's worth of spending (via online banking or bank statements) for insight into where your money went. Add it up across the major categories in your life, and you may be surprised to see how much money was lost on meaningless purchases.
Workout how much money you can shave off across your expenses, and set up an automatic transfer of that amount into a seperate savings account the day after each payday. Using automated processes via online banking can really help you to save money painlessly, because it happens without you remembering or taking action. Alternatively, switch on an automatic round-up service such as the ING Direct Everyday Round Up and sit back while the savings happen for you.
Day 7: Environment
Consider ways that you can reduce your impact on your world in 2018 and feel good as a responsible citizen of the world. Put in place some new rules for yourself, and stick to them.
Here are a list of switches and actions to consider for 2018:
No coffees without your re-usable cup
Saying no to straws
Bringing your own bags to the supermarket
Re-usable produce bags instead of plastic produce bags
Re-usable make-up wipes
Only eating meat on weekends
Buying clothes made from natural fibres
Taking more care to separate your recycling items from general waste
Planting bee friendly flowers in the garden