Use this month as a trial run for your real attempt on January 1st 2015!
If you plan on making any big changes in the new year, and you absolutely should, the best thing you can do is start now. Why? Well, it gives you a chance to screw up at least twice before you really hit the ground in 2015. People tend to over drink, over spend, over eat, and experience some wild emotions over the holidays and here’s no reason to dig yourself deeper if you’re truly committed to change. Here are seven of the most popular goals people set and some tips to get a jump on them now.
Learning a new language – Parlez-vous français? Yeah, me neither. So let’s get cracking. Download Duolingo to your phone right now. It’s free and, in my opinion, works better than Rosetta Stone. It’s actually a fun little game. So when you have the itch to bust out Candy Crush or Kingdom Rush do yourself a favor and open up Duolingo for 15 minutes instead. Do this once a day for the next year and I promise you’ll have a baseline proficiency in your chosen language. And, if you start on the basics now you’ll be able to brag about a few phrases you picked up to your family over a holiday feast.
Weight loss – So you want to eat right and/or hit the gym more often? Excellent plan. Exercise-wise you’ve got a few options here, like downloading the Zombies, Run! 5K app, getting a dirt-cheap Planet Fitness membership, or simply joining a yoga class with a friend. The important thing, truly, is to get moving. If you start now you’ll beat the crowd of wannabes joining in January. It takes a month to really forge a new habit as part of your routine so look at January 1st as the 1st day that you’ll be in the habit. Focusing on the nutrition side of things: isn’t it better to start counting calories before the holiday feasts? Nobody is saying not to have a slice of pie! Just that it’s the best time of year to track our intake if we want to be conscious of what we’re consuming. I recommend a calorie counting app in combination with a fitness tracking gadget.
Saving money – A penny saved is a penny earned (and with student loans and the price of rent your ass is gonna need more than a goddam penny). Before you go crazy with your holiday shopping, it’s probably best to draw up a budget now. Plan what you need to spend and stick to exactly that: what you need to spend. Also spend this month tracking your day-to-day spending so that when 2015 makes it’s first appearance you’ve got all the information you need to curb yourself where need be.
Finding a new job – “Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you, you’re cool, and fuck you, I’m out!” The networking opportunities that all the holiday parties with friends and family provide are woefully underused. Take the next month to explore your options and polish your resume. Get a jump on the other candidates by getting some applications and interviews set up before January whips everyone into a frenzy.
Falling in love – We all want to switch from our break-up playlist to our I-have-a-crush playlist and there are excellent ways to put yourself out there. In the next month take some time to sign up for a few online dating sites or to buy a few outfits for your next date. The holiday season can be a rough time for single people and it’s better to bolster your hopes for the future rather than wallow in what you’re lacking.
Getting organized – The producers for the new season Hoarders have already contacted your family so let’s get ahead of this. Spend the next month tossing all the crap you don’t need and sorting through the things you can’t get rid of. If you take it a day at a time you’ll have your life scheduled and organized and ready to tackle the new year! There are a lot of appointments to be scheduled and lots of new additions to many people’s homes during the holiday season so it’s the perfect time to practice keeping an organized life. Once you’re in the rhythm of things you’ll be able to simply spend the next year maintaining that change.
Quit smoking – Alright, we’re gonna start slow. I know you want to quit. You know you want to quit. You don’t have to quit cold turkey… in fact you probably shouldn’t. Before your pack runs out you need to resolve which product you’ll be using to wind down your nicotine fixation. I’ve heard great things about vaporizers but other people have found success with gums and patches. Decide what’s right for you and get cracking. If you slip up just get right back on the wagon. One big tip I can lend is to do your best to never purchase another full pack. If you absolutely must screw up you should instead ask a friend to give you a single cigarette and then decide if you’re ready for a fresh start after that.