14 Ways You Could Be Starting The New Year On The Wrong Foot
Holding a grudge? Sitting on a massive credit card bill? In a fight with your mum? Don't panic, there's still time to fix all these things and start your new year off right.
By Charlotte Hilton Andersen
Start 2018 on the best foot possible with these 14 tips to preparing for a productive and fulfilling year ahead.
1. Holding a grudge
Chances are pretty good that something happened in the past year that really upset you.
(And if not, share your well-centered secrets with the rest of us!)
Whether a friend betrayed you, a family member lied to you, or a stranger on the Internet viciously attacked you, it can be really tough to let those painful feelings go.
But, as the old adage goes, refusing to forgive is like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to die.
Start your new year fresh by doing whatever it takes to let go of those painful feelings and move past the hurt.
See a therapist, talk to a clergy person or meditate.
2. Picking a fight
Sometimes you are the wronged party, but other times you are the one perpetrating the wrong.
Or, more often than not, you’re both partly wrong.
But regardless of anyone else’s actions and whether or not you choose to admit it in the moment, you know when you’ve done a bad thing.
So say you’re sorry.
Apologizing is hard… but not as hard as letting the argument carry over into a whole new year, to grow and metastasize until it kills your relationship.
If you can’t say it verbally, start with an “I’m sorry” note, e-mail, or text.
3. Having a pantry full of junk food
Diet, exercise, and weight loss goals are by far the most popular New Year’s resolution for 2018, but many of us sabotage those healthy goals before they even start by setting up our environment for failure.
Resist the mindset that you can eat whatever you want and then go cold turkey on January 1.
Making small changes is a much more realistic and sustainable method.
Start today by cleaning out your junk food stash, stocking more fresh fruits and veggies, and looking up healthy recipes.
4. Ignoring the pile of unused thank-you cards
Did you have a birthday in the past year? Celebrate an anniversary? Get married, have a baby, get promoted, attend a holiday party, win an award, or do any of the many things that inspire others to give you gifts or treat you?
We certainly hope so, as those are the things that make life fun and interesting.
But it’s all too easy to be grateful to others in the moment and yet forget to properly express your thanks later.
A hand-written thank-you card is the gold standard of gratitude, but even a thank-you call, text, or e-mail will make both you and the other person feel awesome.
Don’t let those cards still be sitting on your counter when you ring in the new year.
5. Adding to your desk piled high with papers
Taxes may not be due until the end of the financial year, but you gather important financial papers throughout the year, from medical bills to credit card statements to charity donations.
Now is the time to organize what’s important and throw out what’s not.
That way, you’ll be able to find exactly what you need when you need it and you won’t be panicking come June.
6. Racking up more debt
This time of year, everything is about spending, spending, spending. Last year, Americans added an average of $1,003 in credit card debt during the holiday season and up to a quarter of that is still owed this year.
But debt is anything but merry and bright; it hangs over your head, causing worry, anxiety, depression, and regret, and can even spark a full-on breakdown.
Depending on how much you owe and to whom, it’s likely not realistic to pay off everything this month, but you can start by making a budget today that will help you get it paid off.
7. Leaving the dishes in the sink
Unwashed dishes may sound like a small thing but piled up dishes often lead to cluttered countertops, sticky floors, and overflowing trash cans.
However, the kitchen is the hub of your home, so taking a few hours now to give it a good deep clean, starting with the sink, will make everything in your life feel easier – including keeping other New Year’s resolutions like cooking more meals at home, prepping healthy lunches, and measuring out proper portions.
8. Putting off your annual check-up
Thanks to the combination of expiring, unused health benefits and finally met deductibles, December is the most popular month for scheduling non-emergency health procedures like check-ups, dental cleanings, or even elective surgery.
It can be a pain to fit it all in during such a busy season, but it’s worth it for the money you’ll save.
This is one of those things that waiting until the new year really may make a big difference, in the form of a hefty financial penalty.
Use all your available benefits before they expire, make the appointments, and don’t skip them, no matter how busy you are. (And then schedule them ahead for next year… in October.)
9. Forgetting your oil change
Let’s be honest, there’s never a convenient time for car maintenance.
It’s always going to be a pain to get your oil changed and your tires rotated, but know what is an even bigger pain?
Having your car break down on your way to Grandma’s for Christmas dinner.
Taking the time to deal with small car problems now will save you from a huge repair bill in the new year.
10. Jamming more clothes in your closet
This is the perfect time of year to clean out your closet.
Not only will it make room for any gifts you may get, but many charities are holding holiday donation drives, making it as easy as dropping the bag off at your office, school, or community center.
Get rid of anything out of style, that doesn’t fit, is stained or worn out, or that you just don’t wear for whatever reason.
Then, you can start the new year with a fresh, new style, knowing that the only things in your closet are things you truly love.