Another year is unfolding. That gives us 12 new chapters and 365 new pages to fill. How are you spending the first days of 2018? Let’s hope we’re all off to a good start.
It is often said that good things come to those who wait. But even better things can happen to those who refuse to wait. To make the best and the most of the new year, it might help to have a checklist of things we need to do or goals we want to accomplish. It will give us a sense of focus and direction in a world that can be so distracting. Living mindfully and intentionally will keep us from wasting time, neglecting the important things, and having regrets in the end.
Here are some practical things you can keep in mind this year to make sure you’re on the right track.
1. Get an executive check-up.
Many of us find this terrifying. Nobody enjoys getting pricked for a blood test or having to force out the requirements for a stool or urine check. Most of all, we’re afraid to find out anything that might be going wrong inside our bodies. But each new year also means we’re about to get older and our physical systems will become a little less efficient just like any machine that bogs down with time and use. Annual checkups ensure that we stay on top of things instead of waiting for the consequences of ignorance to hit us.
It’s also a good time to reassess lifestyles and habits. Are you eating properly? Do you get enough exercise? Do you smoke or drink too much? Do you consume too much junk food? We want to stay healthy not just for ourselves, but also for the people we love and the people who count on us. Remember your children, your spouse or partner, your parents. Try to live longer for their sake and for the many more wonderful moments and memories you can build and share with them.
2. Do a house or apartment inspection.
Are there things in the house that need to be repaired or replaced? Are the heaters in need of some maintenance check? Is it time to revarnish wooden ledges and floors? Are the rain gutters clean? Are there leaks in the toilet? Your home is your private kingdom and sacred personal space. Make sure it is a comfortable and safe place to return to at the end of each day.
3. Review your finances.
Check where you stand financially. Review your income, expenses, and savings. What expenditures can be eliminated or avoided? And what additional expenses do you need to plan for this year? Knowing your current financial position will give you insight on what adjustments to make.
You can meet with your banker to go over your bank accounts or renegotiate your mortgages. If you have an accountant, set an appointment for an overall inspection of your financial records. You might as well throw in a quick insurance policy check-up with your insurance agent.
4. Reevaluate your properties and other belongings.
Is it time to sell that real estate property? Should you have your car tuned up? Are there possessions you no longer need which you can either sell or donate? Belongings that no longer work for you can only become clutter or a burden in your life. Decide which ones to let go of and which ones to keep.
5. Check your travel documents.
It is time to renew your passport? What a hassle it would be if you were to find out last minute that your travel papers are expired. Make sure they are updated so you’re always ready to go in case life or work calls for you to travel.
6. Review your usual activities and preoccupations.
Which interests, hobbies, and social engagements are vital to you? Which ones are just a waste of your time, money, and energy? When we’re young, the goal is to accumulate as much experiences, interactions, and adventures as we can because we’re still trying to find ourselves and our place in this world. But as we get older and things become much clearer, the time comes to let go of what no longer serves us and to focus on things that are truly worth it. Since our energies decrease with age, we want to reserve our mental, emotional, and physical resources for activities that matter to us and are aligned with who we are.
7. List down your work projects and goals.
What do you hope to accomplish professionally this year? How can you be more productive and useful at work? It may be a good idea to chat with your boss or employer just to see if you are on the same page. Or maybe you have a personal project that you’ve been too busy or too afraid to launch. Defining those goals will give you a better sense of direction, structure, and purpose.
8. Review your personal relations.
We meet new people all the time. Some of them become friends, others become colleagues or mere acquaintances. Some are meant to stay, others go. Who are the ones worth keeping in your life? And which ones are you better off without? Which relationships are healthy and which ones are toxic? Who will you let into your personal, intimate space and which ones will you keep at a distance? We have limited time and attention. Let’s give them to those we really care about and those who are truly deserving. The same goes for our social media friends and contacts.
9. Re-examine your character and wellbeing.
What recent experiences and events left an impact on you? Every experience and event in our life can affect us psychologically or emotionally. They can influence our disposition and outlook, and shape our personality in either positive or negative ways. If we’re not careful or mindful, we may develop or absorb certain unhealthy ways of thinking and being. Or we may fail to recognize those subtle personal milestones and developments which we can consciously cultivate.
Who were you last year? Who are you now? Who do you want to be? We are all constantly evolving. Let’s make sure we are evolving in the right direction and in the way we want.