Start the new year guilt free. At one time or another, everyone has made New Year’s resolutions to get fit, eat right and reduce debt; we do this because we want to be happier. Now that January is over, it’s time to set real goals and forget about the empty promises of resolutions.
For centuries, men and women have pursued health, wealth and happiness. All three work together: without health, all the money in the world isn’t going to make a difference, and although some like to believe that money can’t buy happiness, studies show those with money (to a point) generally are happier. Recent studies say that although some people are just born with a happier outlook than others, each of us can raise our happiness level if we work on it.
Advice? Work on all three.
- Be health conscious in your day-to-day eating and exercise routines. Walk, take the stairs and don’t waste time or gas looking for the closest parking spot. Think twice about what you eat – be aware of what is good and not so good for you. Try to include the basic food groups and avoid treating yourself too often.
- Set regular fitness activities, either on your own, with a friend or at a fitness class, and stick to it. When you schedule your exercise routine the time to do it will always be there. You will feel the rewards.
- Make a weekly meal plan and include your favourite dishes. Balance the menu with healthy alternatives.
Balance Your Finances
Post holidays is a good time to get your finances back on track. A CIBC survey says that debt repayment in 2011 is the number one financial planning priority of Canadians. Here are some tips to help balance your budget:
- The first step in managing debt is to find out where you are spending your money. Make a list of what you spend in a week and see where you can save.
- Before spending, ask yourself, “Do I really need it?”
- Set a financial goal for larger expenses, such as a vacation, car or home improvements. Put aside a set amount regularly – pay yourself first.
- Credit Canada.com provides free tools for managing money, such as budget trackers and a debt calculator.