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The New Year and the Proverbial New Opportunities

Many people start the year with renewed energy, after a little holiday break.

It can feel like the whole world is your oyster, and you can accomplish anything, until you go back to work for a few days and start to get ground down all over again.

Still, starting the year with fresh new goals is exciting.

Experts say that having realistic expectations about what you can accomplish, and how you go about achieving your goals can make all the difference in whether you will stick to them or not.

A Little Exercise Goes A Long Way

Many people overdo it with health and exercise resolutions at the start of a new year.

Too much, too often can end up being none, very often. This has led to countless memes about how full the gyms are during the first 2 weeks of the year (and how they empty out again when people bomb out).

When people say they will do precisely this much exercise on these exact days, and will lose exactly this much weight, it can lead to high levels of drop-off when those highly specific goals are not reached.

Making small, positive changes can be a more sustainable way of introducing more exercise into your routine. Setting broader goals like, “I will be more active whenever I get the chance, take the stairs when I can, walk more,” can be more sustainable at first. Once you start to build up a routine, then you might get more specific with your goals later on.

TIP: Doing so with a friend can make you even more likely to stick to your new, healthier routine. Why not try using half of your lunch break to go on a walk with a colleague, or setting a couple of mornings or evenings a week to attend a yoga class, go for a jog, or go swimming with a friend?

Exercise helps us to feel better both physically and mentally. While it isn’t the solution to all mood and emotional challenges, for many people, even a little exercise can have a significant impact.

None For the Road

Alcohol may be an everyday part of our society and culture, but it can have a much wider reaching impact on our mental health than many people realize.

It can also hit your pocket pretty hard.

Excessive drinking (and the reason we do it) can become a negative cycle, with many people drinking more to try and hide other areas they are struggling with. This, in turn, can exacerbate these struggles and lead to even more drinking.

Many people fall into a habit of drinking to change their mood as a form of ‘self-medication,’ which just masks the problems, rather than addressing them. Alcohol can also disrupt us from being able to rest (leading to reduced energy levels) and can create an overwhelming sense of anxiety, and even depression.

If you are worried that your drinking may be bordering on alcohol dependence, working with an expert could be the key to disrupting negative patterns that may have formed, and help you to break away from these cycles of self-medication.

Tip: You can try tapering off your drinking, or maybe skip a few weeks suddenly to see if it has become a problem (or solution). If you can’t go a few days without a drink, then seriously consider if you need assistance.

Sleep It Off

image: pexels karolina grabowska

Do you wake up tired?

Not getting enough sleep can lead to feelings of anxiety and irritability, while at the same time, lowering energy levels and can give you a general feeling of lethargy. Feelings of exhaustion can also lower your overall mood and sense of wellbeing, as well as lessening your ability to feel that you are able to cope with challenges ahead.

If you have trouble sleeping, just going to bed earlier doesn’t solve that problem.

Making small changes, such as putting down your phone for an hour before bed or switching out ‘just one more’ episode on Netflix for reading, meditating, or practicing mindful breathing can help. Switching out your evening coffee or tea for decaf, and establishing a relaxing bedtime routine can help you to feel more able to relax, switch off your brain, and get the much-needed rest for your day ahead.

Money, Money, Money

image: pexels, pavel danilyu 

If you are having money problems (who isn’t), then why not ask someone for some advice?

Just as you wouldn’t ask a random person for medical advice, don’t just ask your cousin John for their opinion on your situation. Rather talk to an NCR registered professional.

Find out if there is anything obvious you are missing, and what your options are, your situation may not be as extreme as you think. Some minor tweaks could put you in a better position. Sometimes all it takes is a new and experienced set of eyes.

If you ended 2023 in a similar tricky financial position as you started it, then maybe getting a professionals assistance this year, is a good way to reach your financial goals.

Set Some Goals, Reach Some Goals

A sports match without any way to score, or any goals, might be very boring to watch.

Imagine how boring 2024 would be without any goals.

Whatever you decide to set yourself as a goal this year, take reasonable and realistic steps to achieve those goals, and you should be able to achieve them. 

Whether it is getting out of debt, getting in shape or getting enough rest, start with small changes and make them a regular part of what you do and work your way from there.