With a new year, comes new resolutions:
I want to lose weight.
I want to get a new job.
I want to stop smoking/drinking.
I want to have more money.
Billions of people around the world wait until January 1st to proclaim a new start on life. Then those same people will slip back into their old habits around January 10th. With today being January 23rd, it’s a good time to do a progress report on yourself. Are you still maintaining your resolution? Odds are, you probably have made a slip up or two. Maybe even screwed up completely and just went back to how you were last year. If this is you, don’t feel ashamed, you’re in the majority.
Normally, I would go on a rant about how people love to make public proclamations (usually on Facebook/Twitter) about how they’re going to change or how “2013 is MY year” even though they’ve made the same claim every year before, but what will that accomplish? A few good laughs I’m sure, but today I’ve decided to go another route. I’m going to help you achieve your goals.
Cutting down that stomach fat is a constant battle for millions of Americans every day. Hell, I find my weight climbing up, then plummeting down, and finally climbing back up again. The major factor that people aren’t considering is the fact that a complete lifestyle change is in order. Try not to think of your goal of losing a specific amount of weight, think of it as you’re committing to eating a much healthier diet. If you spend 6 months eating a well balanced diet, losing weight will become a positive result.
Cook ALL of your meals and if you don’t know how to cook, learn. If you don’t want to fork over the cash for professional cooking classes, watch some great videos on Youtube. Make it a point to learn how to cook a new meal every week and before you know it, you’ll be getting your Iron Chef on.
On the subject of cooking, make sure you eat more vegetables than meat. There’s a reason why vegetarians and vegans tend to be in much better shape than everyone else. It’s what they eat.
Of course exercise is a needed component, but you don’t have to make a daily trip to the gym. There are plenty of healthy and ripped folks out there that may go to the gym twice a week. Again, the secret is in what they eat. Can’t stress that part enough.
Find a partner or support group to help you get through those tough times. Weight Watchers is a great support group, but it costs money. Myfitnesspal.com is a great alternative. It’s a free app that functions just like Weight Watchers, but instead of counting points, it counts actual calories. It also functions as a social media app as well, so you can meet other people that are going through similar struggles.
Get Out of Debt
The first step into getting out of debt, is to figure out what you owe. You would be surprised that a lot of people have no idea how much debt they have. Sure, they know WHO they owe money to, but not the actual dollar amount. Once you’ve figured out your debt, it’s time to make a monthly budget. If you don’t have a budget, it’s very difficult to properly manage your finances.
Once your budget has been created, try to increase your monthly payments on the lowest loan by at least 10%. So for example, let’s say you owe $800 on a credit card. Your monthly payments are probably around 30 bucks but you’ve been paying $50 so a 10% increase would bump that up to $55. If you can afford more, then you’re more than welcome to add more to that monthly payment.
When the bill is paid off, treat yourself to something nice for whatever your monthly payment was. In the above example, you would buy something for yourself for $55. In the next month, find your next lowest loan and apply that extra $55 plus whatever monthly payment you’ve been making. After that debt is paid off, treat yourself to something nice for the amount of what you were paying. Continue this trend until you’re debt free.
Of course, the above tips may take awhile based on how much debt you have. So if you have the will power, you can do what this 25 year old journalist did to pay off $25,000 in school loans in just under 2 years.
I Want A New Career
With the economy going through terrible times since 2008, the job market has been flooded with resume after resume in hopes of landing something to pay their bills. It’s the to the point now, that there are folks who have a doctorate that can’t find work. Even though it’s a scary time, it’s not impossible to land that new job.
The first thing you want to do is write down a 5-year career plan. What sort of roles do you see yourself doing, what firms do you see yourself working for, and so on. Make sure you make this plan as specific as possible. You’ll find that physically writing out this plan will help you achieve your goals faster.
Make sure to perform at an exceptional level at your current job. Whether you’re the VP of Marketing at a tech firm, or you’re a janitor at a high school. When you perform at a high level, you get noticed. You also want to keep a positive attitude at all times. A positive attitude reflects on your character.
Stay up to date with the industry you’re trying to enter. If it’s healthcare, make it a point to read up on some articles daily regarding that field. The more knowledge you have towards an industry, the more marketable you are and the more value you can add to a firm. Remember, firms hire people that ADD VALUE.
Finally, network your ass off. You can’t expect to land a gig just by applying for jobs online. There are a lot of job openings that HR doesn’t post online. Speak with family and friends and find out where they work, find out who they work with, and find out what everyone does around them. Attend networking events and don’t be afraid to speak to total strangers.
If you’ve fallen off the horse with your resolutions, I hope this helps you get back on. No one said it was going to be easy, but just remember, anything obtained without a struggle is seldom appreciated. So if you want to change your life, don’t talk about it…BE ABOUT IT.
As always folks, stay classy.