Personal Development

12 Ways You Can Jump Start Your New Year Now

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. Year after year many of us approach the holidays with no thought of preparation then at the dawn of the new year, set ridiculous resolutions. Yes, I say ridiculous because how many of these resolutions actually last past a few months. That is actually stretching it a bit. Most are just a thought, resolving to do something but never committing to the action necessary for change. 

There may be a solution. What about jumpstarting the new year before the holidays? With the proper mindset, setting guidelines before the holiday season, can prove to be beneficial. This can offer the much-needed discipline and support in areas that are of most concern. 

Four key areas of focus that tend to be the most common areas of new year’s resolutions include: 

Your Health:

Refuse to get caught up in overeating during the many holiday festivitie. Use common sense. Keep in mind as the saying goes, a moment on the lips but a lifetime on the hips. Meaning any extra calories that you take in, will require even more work to take off. With food used so much socially, that may be easier said than done. However, there are actions that can be taken to make sure you do not approach the new year carrying more physical weight than you desire: 

  1. Keep a food journal – statistics prove that you are less likely to overeat if you write down everything you eat.
  2. Increase your consumption of healthy snacks. Stock up on extras in bulk and create small snack bags to keep with you for times you feel hungry. This way you are less likely to have an overreaction to the sight and smell of the delicious spread at that after work holiday party.
  3. Drink more water. Normal recommended daily intake = body weight multiplied by 0.5. Make sure you at least drink that much. This again, will keep you at a comfortable state and lessen the chance of overeating, not to mention aid in proper digestion of what you do consume.
  4. Increase your physical activity. Just because the days are shorter this time of the year, does not mean that you have to retire those walking shoes. Find safe places to walk like the stairs at work or the mall after work. Any consistent movement of at least 30 minutes a day will help tremendously to help burn the extra calories and may even curb the appetite a bit.

Your Finances:

Do not allow the commercialization of the season or the pressure of gift exchange, force you to overspend. 

  1. Create a holiday budget. Plan ahead by setting aside money during the year for holiday spending.
  2. Clean out your closet and garage. Ditch those items you know you will not wear or use again. This also serves as a great clearing ritual to make room for those new items you’ll be receiving as gifts. You can give the items away or if you need a little extra cash to buy holiday gifts, this is a smart way to accumulate extra cash.
  3. Stay away from the overuse of credit. You will regret it if you don’t. It’s just that simple. If you must buy gifts, choose to draw names among family members. That way, there will be less gifts for each person to buy, saving money for all involved.
  4. Note: Do not deviate from your regular budget, savings, and investment practices during the holiday. Being cautious of this, will make receiving those after holiday account statements less stressful.

Your Emotional Health:

The holidays can unfortunately be a source of added emotional stress. Thinking of lost loved ones, broken families, and holidays of ears past, can often be depressing. 

  1. Remember to take care of you. Sometimes it’s so hard to avoid the holiday stresses with the increased traffic, longer lines and often impatient shoppers Spend quite time, exercise, read, mediate, or adopt whatever stress relieving practices that you need to. 
  2. Live in the now. Refuse to allow depression to creep in at the memory of past holidays that were happier times. Volunteer or help someone less fortunate. This takes the focus off you.
  3. Handle toxic situations with ease. Often the holidays require you to encounter family, friends, and colleagues that you may prefer to avoid during other times of the year. Leave the drama at the door. Approach toxic situations and people optimistically and minimize the time that you must spend with them, if necessary.
  4. Seek support. If you do find yourself a little down, seek help or the company of those who understand and can lend a listening ear.

Your Relationships:

Whether single, married, separated, or divorced, know that this time of the year may provoke moments of loneliness. This is not uncommon. 

  1. Maintain healthy relationships. If you are single, refuse to seek out a date or companion for Christmas dinner simply because you dread questions from others about why you are still unhitched.
  2. Value the good times with loved ones. Keep drama away from family gatherings. This time only rolls around once a year
  3. Maintain open communication. If married, discuss with your mate, any areas of stress in a loving way and allow as much open communication as you possibly can. Keep the peace.
  4. Teach your children the true meaning of the season. Expose them to those who are less fortunate by volunteering in some capacity. 

Remember that if you fail to plan, then you are in essence planning to fail. Make this upcoming year like none other. Jumpstart it right! 

Shonda R. Murphy is a Life Coach at Divine Direction Life Coaching and a Financial Planner for Primerica, Inc. As an advocate of financial literacy, she thrives on helping individuals through life transitions as they get back on track, especially in the area of their finances.

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Attitude Adjustment

Never Allow Fear To Score More Touchdowns Than You Do

Fear should never be allowed to hinder one in life. 

In reality, fear is nothing but, “false evidence appearing real”. That means that if you dissected the fear that a person had, then you would find no reason for it. A friend of mine told me recently of how she used to be afraid of dogs, until she was the age of 33. When my friend was a child, her aunt told her of a story of being bitten by a dog when she too was a little girl. She even showed my friend her wound. My friend became so terrified of dogs from that point on. It was almost as if my friend had “inherited” this fear from her aunt. Never had my friend been bitten or had any reason to be afraid of dogs, but she carried this fear for years. She assumed she would always be that way until one day she dated a guy who owned a Rottweiler. At first, she experienced those same dreaded reactions that she always would when she came into contact with a dog. However, this time she soon realized that, although the dog was huge, there was no cause for her being intimidated by him … he was just a 150 lb. puppy, who happened to be extremely loveable. From that point on, her fear of dogs vanished. 

Stuck in the rut of fear.

It is ridiculous to think that a person could actually be fearful based on something that happened to someone else, right? Not really. This occurs every day. Too often, people are afraid to start a business, write and publish a book, go back to school or of making an investment in their future. Not because they have tried before, but because they knew someone else who tried and failed. Or you have the other end of the spectrum where a person may actually be afraid to succeed. Either case is a tragedy in life and could result in a person being stuck in their own world. 

Fear causes you to lose.

No matter how you look at it, you can never win with fear. Fear can be just as devastating as a plague, if allowed to exist, and has the potential to spread to so many other areas in life. That’s why it is vital to face fear head on. In life, we should never allow fear to score more touchdowns than we do, if we expect to win. And we do. Instead, deal with your fears before they become so detrimental to progression in life. 

The Solution?

How do we deal with fear? Although not always a simple answer, some steps include: 

  • Acknowledge that you are afraid
  • Find your center or calm state – breathing slowly and deeply
  • Determine the underlying cause of the fear
  • Access whether the fear is real or perceived
  • Imagine how you would react without the fear
  • Make a conscious effort to overcome it by acting as if there were no fear
  • Track your progress as you step out of your comfort zone
  • Remember to celebrate success – no matter how small
  • Should you begin to feel fear again, repeat steps above
  • Seek professional help (if necessary)

Follow these steps with each fear that you may have. Make sure that you have conquered one before moving to another. Progress may not come overnight. Each person is different. Do not hesitate to seek professional help if your fear is deeply rooted and/or a result of trauma. Know that you are predestined to win in life, not lose to fear. Refuse to give up or give in. Make the choice to tackle your fears today! 


Shonda R. Murphy is a Life Coach at Divine Direction Life Coaching and a Financial Planner for Primerica, Inc. As an advocate of financial literacy, she thrives on helping individuals through life transitions as they get back on track, especially in the area of their finances.

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