The dawn of a new year always provides an excellent reason for stepping back, looking at what’s important to you, and refocusing your energy. For you millennials and the young-at-heart who may struggle especially with staying organized, and resisting the impulse to give in to the temptations of social media and instant gratification, this is especially important. Consider, if you will, the following tips to help you “adult”—and reach your goals—in this new year.
Get your finances in order
Learn to do your taxes. Get a head start this year (and give your accounting friend a break) by investing in an online tax program or installing tax software. Not only will these easy-to-follow programs help you avoid scrambling at the last minute, but they’ll give you an understanding of basic accounting you were never taught in math class.
Set a budget. It may be the most challenging goal of the year for many, but setting (and keeping) a budget doesn’t have to be as difficult as it seems. There are dozens of simple how-to budgeting tips on the web, but all you really need is access to a spreadsheet and some patience. Make sure to set a savings goal, track your spending and calculate essential and unnecessary expenses. Find more information here.
Invest in yourself. Just because you set up a savings plan and started reconsidering certain luxury purchases, you don’t have to make drastic changes. Even though you cut out buying a latte from your favourite café every day, don’t completely restrict yourself. Instead, invest in a good coffee maker and brew your own in the morning. Also planning on eating out less frequently? Great. But consider setting aside some cash, too, from your grocery savings in order to occasionally treat yourself to a nice dinner at a new or favourite restaurant. Doing so not only offers a good incentive to keep saving, but allows you to indulge once in awhile without breaking the bank.
Set realistic fitness goals
Do what makes you happy. This may seem obvious, but only sign up for a gym membership if you enjoy lifting weights or the specific fitness classes offered. You may otherwise find it tough to stay positive–especially as you put stress on your body. Prone to shin splints or find marathons monotonous? Avoid running. Do you miss your bicycle and are antsy for the weather to warm up? Try out a spin class. Most community centres and fitness studios offer a free week trial, so test out a few locations until you find one that fits. Want to forgo a membership entirely? Pick up a yoga kit or follow a fitness DVD that suits your hobbies in the privacy of your own home.
Keep yourself accountable. In recent years, there has been a boom in fitness technology. If you’re an avid runner and want to improve your race times, invest in a GPS watch with numerous applications to suit your needs. More of a beginner when it comes to keeping active? Make sure you walk at least 10,000 steps a day with a smaller fitness device that covers the basics. Most fitness trackers on the market sync to your phone and allow you to challenge friends and family to some friendly fitness competition. This way, not only are you keeping yourself accountable for making healthy gains, but your friends will as well.
Get social. Although fitness trackers and devices can be huge motivational factors, nothing is more motivating than having a friend along for the ride (or run, or swim). Grab a friend and map out a local hiking trail, and make sure it’s open to the public and safe this time of year. Convince your roommate, partner or friend to try a new sport or activity that you’ve always thought would be fun. Or better yet, set a challenge and follow a workout plan together. Time goes by much more quickly with someone by your side to keep you motivated.
Keep it simple and organized
Storage is essential. Put your Tetris skills to use this year by organizing the messy areas of your house that cause you stress. This usually includes the kitchen, workspace, bathroom and bedroom. Although the old adage out of sight, out of mind may work for some, we say that clear storage bins are the way to go. Canisters that are easily stackable or slender are perfect to ensure freshness and make it easy for the household cook to grab what they need. Jars are ideal for smaller items like spices, and are extremely versatile. Use them to hold paper clips on your desk or Q-tips on the sink. Wicker baskets are also a great— and aesthetically pleasing—way to hold random household items like workout gear, bags or toys in plain sight.
Meal planning is not just for fitness gurus. There’s no need to purchase an expensive custom-meal plan from a dodgy website or infomercial. Meal planning is as simple as picking up a cookbook or scrolling through a food blog. Once a week, set aside some time to choose five to six meals that will get you through the week (leave one or two days for flexibility). Do the math and make sure you have enough food for leftover lunches and for anyone else who might be eating with you. Write out the ingredients you need for each recipe, consolidate the supplies you already have, and take a quick trip to the grocery store. If you have more time on your hands, or have a hectic week ahead of you, opt for large-batch slow cooker meals and prep the ingredients the night before. If you’re feeling even more keen, cook all the meals for your week in one day, divide into containers and refrigerate.
Reduce, reuse, recycle. We’ve got you covered with London Drugs’ Green Deal recycling program at our stores. With a receipt, you can bring back old electronics, batteries, plastic bags and bottles to do your part to reduce waste. Sort your home recyclables and compost with recycling bins and food scrap containers to make it easier to take out with the trash. Make sure you check which items are in fact compostable or not, and remember to switch out the bags to avoid unnecessary odours.
Be kind to yourself
Spend time with loved ones. Whether it’s only for an hour to grab coffee with an old classmate from college, or by throwing a huge holiday party, make sure to set aside time for your friends. Haven’t talked to your grandmother across the country in a few months? Pick up the phone! Social circles tend to shrink with life additions like full-time employment, children and other commitments, but it’s critical to have a support system behind you. Plan a board game night with former colleagues or host a potluck brunch. Mix up some cocktails and fill each other in on what you’ve missed.
Give back on your computer or at a charity event with friends. Pick a cause that resonates with you and sign up to volunteer in whatever way you’d like, or simply donate money to an organization that needs it. Selfless love will not only make you feel good, but it will help contribute to a cause you believe in.
Make time for self-care. Perhaps the most overlooked, yet most important, tip of the year is to take time for yourself. While self-care and mindfulness have become buzzwords of sorts, they still pack a lot of truth when it comes to being happy. No matter how frantic work or school is, reserve at least half an hour a day for yourself. Pick up a book, drink some tea, relax in a bath or colour out any anxiety you may have built up over the day. Being an adult doesn’t mean neglecting the things that centre you – even if that means vegging out on the couch to watch a movie. Make 2017 an amazing year by balancing responsibility and order with awareness and leisure.