We talk a lot about the things you can do to improve your business, your website, your blog, your social media accounts, your conversions, and so on and so on. Today, we want to talk about you.
You pour a lot of time and effort into your work, but if you’re not looking out for number one, you’re undercutting yourself. New Year’s resolutions are right around the corner, but it’s never too early to think about making some improvements in your life.
By developing new skills, adding to your credentials, and learning more about yourself, you’ll be more competent, efficient, and useful in every aspect of your life. The more effective you are, the better equipped to handle any curveballs you’ll be, and the less stressed you’ll get when things go sideways. Let’s get started!
Get Your Financial Life In Order
How confident do you feel, right now, looking at your bank account? Most people would rather not look at their spending, and as a result, they lose discipline in terms of where their money is going. Their checks come in every two weeks, they pay their bills, and they don’t give it much more thought.
In this day and age, there’s no excuse for poor budgeting. Apps like Mint and online banks like Simple make it easy to see how much money you’re bringing in, how much you’re spending, and where it’s going.
Examining your budgets is a great way to see where you’re spending too much — do you really know how much money is going toward your morning coffee habit? — and where you can afford to spend more.
Budgeting doesn’t necessarily mean being thrifty, either. If you can get your spending on daily expenses like work lunches, groceries, and gas under control, you’ll know exactly how much you have left to pay down debts, spend on luxuries, or save for vacations.
Focus On Fitness
Going to the gym isn’t just about looking good in a bathing suit — though that’s a perk. Exercising regularly will boost your metabolism, reduce your levels of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, and clear your mind. Even taking a ten-minute break in the middle of the day to walk around the block and get some fresh air will give you an opportunity to brainstorm, relax, and reset.
Exercising can also help you fall asleep more quickly and sleep longer and more deeply — both key ingredients for less stress in your life.
So how many times have you told yourself that you’re going to start taking care of yourself better? And how many times have you fallen off your routine?
The solution probably isn’t to just power through your routine, or to try harder. No matter how strong your willpower, you won’t keep up an exercise routine if you don’t like it. Take a moment to think about why your previous routines have failed. Is it that you can’t find the time? Your gym is too far away? Or you just get bored?
Solve for that problem instead of beating yourself up over your lack of discipline. If you’re bored, consider a class led by a trainer who will mix up your routine. Listen to podcasts while you’re on the treadmill. Consider getting home exercise equipment so you can work out while you watch football on Sundays.
Take Time For Your Emotional Health
Make a list of all the things you did well this year. Then, make another list of all the things you didn’t do so well at. You’ll start to see a pattern emerge — what areas of your life did you prioritize and what did you set on the back burner?
How do you feel about the list? Obviously, some things will inevitably take a higher priority than others, so do you think you arranged your life fairly well? Maybe you spent a lot of time on work, but you’ve been trying to make work a higher priority in the first place. Maybe you got into cooking or photography but didn’t spend much time on them.
Your emotional well-being can be derailed by worry about how time is passing, what you’re doing with your life, and wishing you were doing something else. Fear of missing out and fear of better options can lead to stress and dissatisfaction. Take the time to sort out your priorities and you’ll be much happier with the results.
Never Stop Learning
How many books did you read last year? How many documentaries did you take in? Did you listen to any good podcasts? More importantly, how many times did you watch The Office (again) on Netflix?
Just because you graduated years (or decades) ago doesn’t mean your education is over. Doctors and lawyers are required to take continuing education classes to stay up to date on the developments in their industries, why should the rest of us be any different?
Take the time to find some podcasts, websites, blogs, or books about your industry and your business, or just about something you’ve always been interested in. Then, more importantly, take the time to actually read them. If you drive to work, podcasts are perfect. If you take the bus or train, reading is a great option too.
The point is that continuing to seek out new things is not something you should give up on just because you’re getting older. Whether it’s keeping up with developments in your professional world or developing your personal passions, maintaining a sharp mind will have benefits in every part of your life.
Don’t Let Personal Projects Take A Back Seat
And no, we don’t mean side projects at work. To keep yourself sane and mentally healthy, in addition to well-rounded, you should work on your own projects at home. Stimulate your creative energy and put it to good use with your own passions and hobbies.
The best part is, it doesn’t really matter what that is. Maybe you’re meticulous and organized, and you can spend your weekends building shelves, hanging hooks, and getting your closet and garage as ordered as possible.
Maybe you’re more of a classically creative person, and you can spend your time on painting, drawing, music, writing, knitting, cooking, or even something like a puzzle or model. Legos aren’t just for kids!
Or maybe your project can be more of a physical challenge. Going to the gym twice a week is all well and good for staying healthy, but it’s not terribly exciting. Train for a marathon or sign up for an obstacle race like Tough Mudder or Rugged Maniac — the buildup will keep you motivated and the success will inspire you to set even loftier goals.
Whether your project is something big like a race at the end of the summer or a series of smaller goals, this isn’t about putting something on your resume or getting rich with your Etsy store. This is about keeping your mind and spirit healthy and thriving.