Holidays are a great time to “Press the Reset Button On Your Life.” Whether you’re taking time off for Christmas, or protesting for a more inclusive holiday season free from religion, the fact is, that people are socializing, spending time with family, or on vacation. Other than the service industry, things do slow down, and this presents an opportunity to revisit your priorities, plan for the upcoming year, and reflect on the concluding year:
- Refine and validate that your goals are still aligned with your values. Call it New Year resolutions or what you may, goals are important because it gives you milestones to track your progress. A healthy balance of long-term strategic goals and short-term quick wins can help you monitor your success. Reflect on what has worked and what hasn’t worked in 2008 and what you can do differently in 2009.
- Revisit and prioritize your commitments. In a world of limited resources, primarily time and money, we have to ensure that we’re committing our resources to what’s working and reduce or eliminate to what’s not. This means evaluating what social networks you belong to, whether it be virtual (twitter, facebook) or real (clubs, associations), and determine the time and resources you are committing to each. Are you putting in too much effort for little return? If so, consider eliminating that from your commitment and focus your energies on the ones that are providing you a healthy return (more contacts, personal satisfaction, conversations).
- Secure your life though financial independence and adequately insuring it. Take the steps needed to financial peace of mind. If you’re not there yet, try Dave Ramsey’s 7 Baby Steps. This means saving for an emergency fund, paying off debt aggressively (if you have debt), and taking steps to save for retirement (never to late or never too early). Also don’t forget to make sure that you’ve adequately insured yourself to prevent catastrophic losses. This includes home insurance or renter’s insurance, adequate insurance for autos, particularly for bodily harm, and flood/fire/etc as relevant in your geographic location. The more you have, the greater you have to lose, so protect yourself accordingly.
Regardless of the amount of reflection, planning, and prioritization, be thank for for what we have. In these tough economic times, we’re lucky to have a job, a roof over our heads, and a warm meal. Things can be worse, and they are for 95% of the world.
What else are you doing to prepare for the new year?