New Year, New YOU!
YAY It’s 2016! The start to a brand new year, filled with possibility, opportunity and promise! But what exactly do you plan to do differently to ensure this year kicks 2015’s butt? Change, although not much desired, is necessary for ones personal and professional growth, and each year brings with it, the platform to do better, and be better!
1. Work Smarter Not Harder!
Stop yourself from burning out again in a few months, by simply planning better. Even though this may sound cheesy and time consuming, draw up a checklist of projects, tasks or things you have been meaning to get around to at home or the office, but keep forgetting to do. For me these include picking up my driver’s licence (Oh those darn queues), getting those new medical aid quotes (sigh… the hassle), taking down the Christmas Tree and decor (I’ll get to it soon) and much more. By placing all your ‘must-do’ things out infront of you, allows you to tackle at least one of these per week head on.
Make a monthly plan and allocate sufficient time per project or task, this way you maximize the hours in your day efficiently, and you can finally check-out (mentally) on your time out, without constantly thinking about things you may have forgotten. If you’re a workaholic like me, you tend to get a lot done in those quiet hours of the night, that’s when I sift through answering those countless emails without actually getting the ample sleep my body needs. One major change I will (try) to make is, when I am home, I am actually home (mentally), those emails can get answered the next day. Sleep is now my best friend!
My love-hate relationship with the gym continues… During the festive holidays, I even surprised myself and worked out. To de-stress and rejuvenate, I have added quality Me-Time to my new schedule, this is a must for anyone with a demanding lifestyle. I have introduced gym time, as a new candidate for Me-Time, so I will be spending at least an hour a day, unwinding (and possibly head-boppin) to my fav tracks at the gym! The key is to make working out fun, so don’t be afraid to switch it up, add in a yoga or hip-hop dance class in place of your treadmill time once in a while. We all know that looking great, helps you feel great!
3. Me-Time is a Must!
Me-Time is the ultimate solution to insanity! Be it, as we mentioned, a session at the gym, getting your nails done, watching a movie alone (yes that is allowed), or taking on a new hobby- it is a time where you enjoy your own company and allow yourself to do the things you like to do, that you don’t usually get the chance to. I recently bought myself one of these, Colour Yourself Happy books, the ones that promise therapeutic, relaxing vibes while you colour, and truth be told, it works! Not only have I not coloured since primary school, I found my creative side taking over, for two hours straight all I thought about was shades, brush strokes and making something beautiful, and my masterpiece was done. What this allowed me to do was to escape in the solitude of colour, something so simple enabled me to focus my energy on creating a masterpiece- making it a truly fun escape!
4. Step away from the fork!
Eating right goes hand in hand with working out! You are wasting your time if you think that workout session is going to make up for all the junk you consume, yes I’m talking about that half a slab of chocolate that mysteriously disappeared! If you make just one change this year, I would strongly recommend changing the way you eat! Let’s not even call it a diet, because this is a lifestyle change, a complete food makeover.
Learn to make good food yummy again. You need not only have salads and water, although these do the trick, I suggest taking a happy and healthy balanced approach to food. Quit the soft drinks and fruit juices, and swop them out for veggie juices, smoothies and fruit-infused waters- these actually taste way better.
Make simple swop outs, like I have at home. Swop out white bread for wholewheat or rye; white rice for jasmine or brown rice if you must; full-cream milk for fat free or low fat; potato chips for nuts; cooking oil for olive oil; sugar for xylitol; cereals for muesli and more. There are small yet effective changes you can start with at home, and slowly build up to bigger changes, but all in moderation. Try not to starve yourself, only to result in binge eating, if you simply must have that burger, add in a workout session to burn it off the next day.
5. Be Present!
Whether you’re at work, at home with family, or out with friends, be in the moment, be present! Put that cellphone away, and take in life as it is happening in front of you. Yes I know, we are all on the quest for that amazing Instagram image of our food, the selfie with friends, the cocktail in hand, the table setting and more, rather than focusing on capturing that moment, focus on experiencing that moment in time instead. Enjoy the vibe, take part in the life’s conversations, laugh more and live harder!
One game that’s slowly taking shape is at the start of dinner, get your family or friends to place their cellphones face down in the middle of the table, first one to glance at their phone- pays the bill! If this doesn’t work, create a drop-off phone station before dinner and enjoy a phone-free dinner 🙂
6. Save More, Spend Less!
This is a tough one to enforce, as ‘I Want’ usually supercedes ‘I Need’ and if you’re like me the line between the two is often blurred. Daily shopping trips to Woolies for one item, usually sees me leaving with bags full of things I end up throwing away, not using or having duplicates off at home. This is where I have made the biggest change, and have applied it to shopping for groceries. By creating a weekly or a monthly meal plan for my family, I am now able to list the items I need for each meal and I try to really stick to the list. I haven’t got the total hang of this yet, and I doubt I ever will lol, but by doing this I am able to also stick to my eating plan, avoid buying junk food and unnecessary items, and save loads in the process. Win Win all around! To help you make the most of your shopping trip, there are great Apps to help you keep track of what you have at home, to reduce your spending!
7. Invest In Yourself!
Investing in yourself and your future is something you need to think about! You spend your entire adult life working, and are you prepared for the benefits of your hard work. Think of savings and investments as part of your monthly expenses. Take an affordable investment, and have it debited from your account the day your salary is paid in, what you don’t see you wont miss. Never save up what is left over, save up before you spend!
Rainy days rear their heads, always make sure you have a plan for this. Be it to pay for your studies, that pesky account you may still have, to put a deposit down on your dream home, or to take that well deserved holiday break to have croissants at the Eiffel Tower- whatever your financial needs, a savings or investment plan is key to helping you along.
There are loads more tips and tricks that will bring about a much-needed change to your life! Plan ahead and think wisely about how you make 2016 work for you! Cheers to Change! Here’s to a New Year and a New YOU!