I recently shared my personal vision for the year. I recognize that progress and success comes by taking a series of small steps. In order to achieve my vision for my future self, here are the 15 small changes I’m planning to make this year:
Stop Purchasing Books/Audiobooks, Use the Library Instead
I pay for my local library through taxes, so I will begin utilizing it much more. Libraries played an incredibly important part of my childhood and teen years, offering me a place to go and be alone with my interests unfettered. It is an invaluable community resource and is something I’ll be frequenting much more.
Drink the (Strong) Coffee at Work
I’ve always avoided the coffee pot at work because, for some reason, the coffee here is some of the strongest I’ve ever tasted. It’s a bitter, black brew. But it’s free and convenient, and I’ll learn to drink it and save a few dollars every day.
Quit the Gym
There’s a gym only a few block away that I’ve paid dues to for years only to use the walking track. I can walk around my neighborhood for free, and I’m focusing on bodyweight strength training this year which I can do in my home.
Quit the Least Used Online Video Player(s)
At last inventory, I subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime, Seeso, HBO Now, Hulu and Crunchyroll. Uh…I don’t need that many paid subscriptions for my nightly TV fix. I’ll keep Netflix and Amazon Prime as paid subscriptions, and once Game of Thrones comes back to TV I’ll re-up my subscription to HBO Go. The others can go!
Cook Every Day
My husband and I have fallen into a new groove of scouring our favorite cookbooks together and picking out a handful or recipes to try. It’s been fun bonding time and this year we’re setting a challenge to cook every single day.
I own a sewing machine, I know how to repair fallen hems and torn seams, I even know how to darn socks and denim. I don’t have an excuse, and since I’m undertaking a Shopping Ban this year, I’ll need to put these skills to use!
this is one of those obvious ones, but it’s so important to realize that your wealth isn’t built by monitoring the huge purchases, it’s built by being aware of the sneaky $5 or $10 purchases throughout the week. Taking lunch will save both my wallet and my waistline.
Be a Better Local Sleuth for Free Entertainment and Events
I live in a smaller city, but it’s on that is full of great local events, food festivals and celebrations.My husband and I are committing to exploring our city this year instead of falling back on the same (paid) date ideas.
Be a Better Grocery Shopper
Even though we’re going to be cooking every day, we still need to watch our grocery bill. That means buying staple in bulk, clipping coupons for our regular purchases, picking up the store brand when available and setting a meal plan that utilizes similar ingredients to make the most of our trip.
Pay Off Debts Rapidly
The whole reason this blog exists is so I can hold myself accountable to paying off my debts. I’m tired of having over half my take home pay tied up in paying off my debts and I want to decide how my money will work for me. It’s been a long road to get here, but I’m energized and will pay off as much as I can each month.
Listen to Grandma
When I started college my grandmother wrote me a letter telling me how excited and proud she was of me and wrote a little list on how I can start taking care of my first ‘adult’ home. I love it and wish I would’ve listened at the start. Here are the little things she recommended:
- Put everything back in its home;
- Do the dishes every night before bed;
- Don’t let laundry pile up, do it multiple times a week; and
- Take note of the highs and lows of your day. Relish the highs and let go of the lows.
Take a Lunch Break
I’m not a total workaholic, but I find myself compulsively working through my lunches. I’m going to get away from my desk for at least 20 minutes and…just do something that isn’t work. Read a book, take a walk, listen to a little bit of a podcast. Something that will refresh and reset my brain.
Maintain a Gratitude Jar
I’ve mentioned this little tradition before, but it’s worth bringing up again. Instead of a BuJo log or other device, I like to write down on slips of paper good memories or things that happen all year long. Then on New Years’ Eve my husband and I pour ourselves low balls of good whiskey and take turns reading the slips. It’s a fun journey down memory lane and reminds us of all the good things that have happened to us!
Besides being a nice little break from the daily hub-bub, meditating has been shown to help lower your stress level, which can lead to better mental and physical health. I’m going to start small, just 5 minutes a day for now. But I’m setting a goal that by June, I’ll be up to a full 30 minute meditation practice. Share your favorite app recommendations below if you have them!
Take the Stairs
I work on a lower level floor of my building, yet every morning I just get on the elevator without a thought. I’m going to start sucking it up and climbing the handful of flights up and hope that no one tries to have a conversation with me as I emerge on my floor panting and out-of-breath.
In the comments: What small changes will you be making this year?