Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hita's Top 10 Tips for the New Year

HitaTalk is turning 1 year old! THANK YOU to all who have supported, read and shared my HitaTalk posts in 2014. December 27 marks HitaTalk’s one-year anniversary, and I look forward to bringing you more fun and engaging content in 2015!

As we approach the end of the year, I usually like to take a few moments to reflect back on the accomplishments and also the obstacles I have overcome in the past 12 months. 

Around the holidays, once the lights and tree are up in my apartment, I sit down with a cup of coffee (or glass of wine), lay out my current yearly calendar and open my New Year calendar to record important deadlines, birthdays, events, and big goals I want to achieve in the coming year. Then, I make a note at the top of each page of the main 2-3 tasks for the month: car tabs due, re-new contract, book vacation, etc. There are occasions that have come up where I forgot or missed my own deadlines, but I always find a way to make it work…and reward myself in the end. No matter what 2014 has brought you, great moments or challenges, I wish 2015 to be a successful and productive for you.

Here are my Top 10 Tips for making the best of the New Year:  

1. Do it for you. Make a list of goals for the year based on elements in your life that make you happy. DO focus on areas that will enhance your well-being, health, finances, and lower stress levels. Don't do things based on what other people tell you to do. Stay true to yourself.

2. Keep it simple. Take on a reasonable number of projects and tasks that will not overwhelm you or cause you unnecessary stress. Try to calculate how much time to dedicate to each commitment, so that you can plan accordingly. No need to say yes to everything that comes your way. Chances are that it won’t be the last opportunity.

3. Be clear. Communicate well with others by listing your exact objectives, goals, deadlines, and mention preferred methods of communication ahead of time. Ex: Let’s meet next week. How does Tuesday at 7pm or Thurs 7pm look for you? I will send an email with details, and you can let me know which works best. Rather than: Let's touch base soon - This will lead to extra back and forth.

4. Budget and Save. Making a budget seems daunting for most people. Plan to spend the necessary amount on your expenses, and set aside a small portion for entertainment and leisure activities. Check out this link for how to manage your budget. If you plan to brew your own morning coffee at home, you can save approx. $25/week. Create a simple weekly or monthly budget to monitor your spending, and try to cut back on little splurges. Take the $25 you saved on Starbucks this week, and deposit it into your savings account. It adds up quickly.

Save- save yourself time and money by being proactive. Think ahead. "What do I need for groceries this week, events, upcoming celebrations? Ex: Shopping. Make a list and check it twice. I suggest you not to walk into a Target store and roam the aisles until your cart is full, and $150 later you’re leaving with more than the toothpaste and shampoo you originally planned to buy. Jot down a few necessities on your mobile To Do list or note pad, and stick to what’s on that list. It will save you time at the store…and money! Then, if you need to make another run a few days later to pick up something you forgot, make another list.  Ex: wrapping paper, juice, detergent, dad’s birthday card, and Dove chocolate for Hita.

5. Make a plan. A wise friend of mine once said, "plan your work, so you can work your plan." No need to overwhelm yourself with big “Action Steps.” Instead, write down (and literally write it or type it out- it is proven to resonate better when mental thoughts are put on paper/mobile note pads) a few long-term goals and a few short-term goals.

Long-term goals: tasks and projects that you’d like to work on-going or that you’d like to accomplish within the next 6 -12 months. Ex: Save $2,000, Run a marathon
Short-term goals: tasks that can be completed within 1-4 weeks. Ex: save $200 each paycheck, run 3 miles Mon/Wed/Fri this week
Your short-term goals can be mile-markers on your way to achieving your long-term goals.
6. Be adaptable to change. One of the leading causes of failing to meet a commitment or goal is due to people not willing to change their bad habits or lose motivation. Finding a routine that works for you is important because it helps structure a schedule and priorities. However, things can come up that might detour your progress or pose a challenge, and you have to be positive and willing to adjust to the minor change. Remember, we won’t grow by doing the same thing all the time.  Step out of your comfort zone frequently. It doesn’t have to be every day or every week, but at least once a month try to do something that is out of the norm for you. It will force you to change your mindset, conquer a fear, or may show you a better way of doing something.

7. Keep your list of goals handy. Write down your goal for the week or month at the top of your calendar, post it on the side of your computer monitor, or keep it on the fridge so that it’s visible to the eye. Constantly seeing your list of priorities and goals will stay in your subconscious, and keep you on track.

8. Be accountable: We all need a little help in this area from time to time. It’s up to you to set a goal and to accomplish it. However, we can’t always do things on our own. Don’t be afraid to ask others for help, or for their insight. Tell a buddy! Having someone hold you accountable can be effective and motivating. Share your ideas and goals with a friend, and ask for their support to check-in on your progress.

9. Go easy on yourself.  No one is perfect. We all make mistakes, lots of them. If you get derailed or lose track of your time and goals, just take a moment to re-evaluate the great things you have already accomplished. We will all fall down at times, but it’s important to get back up and not be so hard on yourself. We can only handle one task at a time, so pace yourself, don’t take on too much, and be sure to toot your own horn from time to time.

10. Have fun. Seriously, life is way too short to be stressed out. You have to enjoy what you do. If you’re in a miserable situation (trust me I’ve been there), do what you can to make the best of it until you are able to manage an alternate situation. Don’t let others put you down or “rain on your parade.” Love what you do, enjoy the people you interact with, and keep a positive attitude. Define what happiness means to you, and focus on those elements.

Wishing you a very happy New Year!

 - Hita