As we face challenges in our lives and our schedules become overcrowded with to-do lists, children’s activities, family functions, work, and the like, it’s common for our dreams get pushed to the back burner.
With Christmas in our rearview mirror, I took the time to reflect on many of the things I failed at in 2012 and pondered what’s necessary to make more of what I have, to live life to its fullest, and to accomplish those things that I continually put off for another day.
While I’m not big on the whole “New Year’s Resolution” thing, the reality is that with each year comes a new opportunity. An opportunity to capitalize on the areas we may have fallen short the year prior; an opportunity to take a step forward in critical areas such as our finances or careers; an opportunity to live a little more and pursue the things that make us tick.
Areas You Can Improve in 2013
Whether you’re a budget Nazi or a shopaholic, we can all use a fresh start to re-evaluate our financial outlook. Consider a few of these to get you on track for 2013:
- Create a budget
- Finally take the plunge, sit down with your spouse, and have the much-needed conversation you’ve put off for years
- Shop your home owners and car insurance rates
- Increase your retirement savings and analyze your asset allocation
- Build a $1,000 emergency fund
- Analyze your bank accounts and consider taking advantage of programs like PerkStreet’s best online checking account
For years I worked a job that I dreaded, all for the large paycheck. I loathed going to work every Monday and I celebrated every Friday like I was a kid on his last day of school.
While some of you may not despise your job to the extent which I did, the statistics suggest that you’re not happy doing what you’re doing. With that in mind, use 2013 as your opportunity for change! Consider opening up a side business that you’re passionate about, start a blog or online business, or go back to school to get the education you need to pursue your dream job.
Working a job you hate sucks the life out of you, damages your personal relationships with your kids and spouse, and zaps every creative bone in your body. Don’t settle in 2013 or spend 2014 reflecting on the things you wish you could have done.
3. Family and Friends
One of my big struggles in 2012 was managing my time well and all of the commitments I have. The busier my schedule got, the more I pushed off some of the things most important to me. I neglected dates with the wife, personal time needed for reflection (and relaxation), and certainly time with my closest friends and family members.
With any career-driven, goal-oriented person, the fact is that our friends and families are the people that take the brunt of our go-getter mentality. Instead of dwelling on where you went wrong in 2012, take some time in the next few weeks to determine how you can improve in this area in the coming year.
“You have the perfect amount of time each day for the things that matter most.
They key is spending time on those things.” – Jon Acuff
For me, this involves being more selfish with my early morning hours (which is needed to get things done) and be more intentional with setting up functions with friends and dates with the wife.
4. Dreams and Goals
Regardless of where you are in life, it’s likely you’ll look back on 2012 and wish you would have done more with it. The more we age, the more quickly time passes; the days get shorter and months fly by with no regard to the limited time we have remaining on this planet.
While I could kick myself for the year that I let get away, I’m making a point to maximize 2013 by focusing on a few goals and dreams that I’ve pushed off for a myriad of reasons:
- Take guitar lessons. Yes, I know, I could teach myself but I know I won’t make the time to do that.
- Go sky diving
- Learn a new language
- Take some cooking classes
Readers: what are you planning on doing different in 2013? Are you planning to start a new business or develop your current one? Or do you need to pull the reins back a little bit and focus more on family and goals?
Editor’s note: I could not agree with Jason more. While I am not big into New Year’s Resolutions, the New Year is a great time to reflect on your accomplishments for the ending year and where you’d like to go the following year.
Jason is a financial advisor and Dave Ramsey-trained counselor that blogs over at WorkSaveLive. He aims to educate his readers on a variety of financial topics while sharing his family’s journey out of debt.
Photo courtesy of: Chris Rawlings