For most people, the problem with setting too many New Year’s resolutions means some will inevitably fall by the wayside. Vowing to lose 50 pounds, exercising every day for an hour, eliminating sugar from your diet, and/or saving more money by drastically cutting back on expenses are examples of resolutions that are often unattainable.
While taking better care of your health and body and making smart financial choices are great goals, the aforementioned resolutions can leave people feeling overwhelmed instead of inspired.
With that in mind, here are some more realistic and attainable life hacks that will help get you on track for a successful 2020:
1. Assess Your Finances: Know Small Changes Add Up to Big Savings
This year, perhaps you want to eliminate some credit card debt or save up to buy a home. Regardless of your financial goals for 2020, the key is to make a series of small changes and decisions that, over the course of the year, will really add up — quite literally.
For instance, if you're ready to buy a house but are concerned about all the closing costs, strive to set aside 5 percent of your take-home pay every week. Additionally, take a close look at your bills and determine if you can pare down or eliminate some areas of spending. Who knows? You might decide that you would rather put the $100 you pay each month for a gym membership you rarely use toward your house savings.
To get an idea of current mortgage rates in Ontario, bookmark a website like Rates.ca. This way, you can be aware of any rate dips and know when to contact a real estate agent. The website also contains information on car insurance options and packages, which might also help you to effortlessly save money to add to your home fund.
2. Eat Better: Focus on Small Choices
Rather than vow to never look at an Oreo again, experts suggest ditching the so-called “grand plan” and instead focus on the next small choice you can make in your day. For example, when deciding what to eat for each meal, strive to go with choices that give you a net gain in health, rather than a net loss. Opting for a salad with grilled chicken versus a pepperoni pizza for lunch will give you a net gain, as will selecting an unsweetened iced tea instead of soda.
At the same time, don’t make any food off-limits or taboo, as this usually results in wanting it even more. Additionally, if you want to lose weight, look for easy ways to trim back calories during the day. For instance, wrap your burger in lettuce instead of a bun, put one taco on your plate instead of two, and enjoy a small bowl of your favorite flavor of ice cream instead of two huge scoops.
3. Get Fit: Use the Power of 15
If you vow to exercise for an hour a day, you might do well the first week or so before ditching this resolution. Instead, try to fit in 15 minutes of movement a day, which is a more attainable goal. To get started, get up 15 minutes earlier than you would normally each morning and immediately spend five minutes stretching and 10 minutes doing aerobic exercise while your Keurig heats up. You can also get on your exercise bike or do some brisk calisthenics.
This way, you'll start each day with a solid exercise regimen. As you get more comfortable, take a short walk while on break at work, go for a 15-minute walk around the neighborhood when you get home, and/or find other ways to add additional 15-minute chunks of workouts into your day.
Look Out 2020, Here You Come
As you can see, you don’t have to make extreme resolutions to meet your financial and/or health goals. By adopting these life hacks and remembering that less is often more, your small wins each week will quickly add up to amazing accomplishments.