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New Year, Is That You?

Does anyone else feel like last year flew by? How is the new year here already!? The great news is, you made it through the ups, downs, good and bad that last year served up and are now standing before a blank slate of a brand new 365 days to accomplish bigger and better. To start your new year with focus, we've pulled together a few things to consider implementing by the end of this month. We're encouraging you to take the full thirty days in January to set up and accomplish those things that cause a stir in your spirit to ensure you feel good about them and ready to see them through to fruition all year.

Word of the Year

I've found choosing a word (or words or a phrase) at the top of the year to be incredibly cathartic as a review of areas in which I could have done better last year that I could be laser-focused on in the new year. I thought I had my words set and did all the things, created a screensaver for my phone, and added them to my vision board and prayer journal, only to get another word added the morning of the day I started this post. And guess what? There's nothing wrong with that; You can make changes to this and the following suggestions. You're allowed:). While you're encouraged to choose your word or two, don't have a vocabulary list, as that can overwhelm you, and before you know it, you won't be internalizing them to progress.

Celebrate Every Win

We often do it big when we accomplish something enormous. Bought a house or a new car. Graduated from a program. Got a promotion. But what about when you managed to have that one no-spend day you told yourself you'd attempt? Or, the week where you ate healthily. Or you advocated for yourself at work or spoke up in a meeting and shared your ideas. Or you turned your phone off and enjoyed a quiet weekend morning uninterrupted. Those are wins to celebrate! Grab a journal or create a note on your phone and write them down so you can look back at the end of the year and celebrate everything you did that made a positive impact in your life over the course of the year.

Get Active

No one is asking you to become a gym rat and be there daily. In fact, the top of any new year starts strong in this area, and by the end of the month, that get-up-and-go has gotten-up- and-went, and then you feel like you failed. Start small. Take a walk at lunch. Stretch in the morning instead of hopping out of bed and rushing to start your day. Get up from your desk every hour or set a goal of how many glasses of water you'll drink on a given day. If you can make it to the gym two times a week, that's great. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to making lasting healthy changes in your lifestyle.

Review Your Subscriptions and Start Canceling

The ease of subscribing to everything from an Amazon item for monthly automatic shipment to an online magazine or streaming service has made it such that so many withdrawals from your bank account or charges on your credit card add up fast. Take stock of what subscriptions truly suit you these days and cancel those that don't, even those that don't renew until much later in the year, because you won't remember to do it before it's due.

Get Ahead of Your Finances

How can that money be repurposed now that you've canceled the subscriptions? Does adding it to your monthly savings make sense, or is paying toward a debt a better use? Reach out to your creditors (and your cell phone, car insurance, and cable companies) and see if better rates are available.

Financial Planning

Once you get that promotion, this year or tax season rolls around, and your refund hits your account, what is the best way to use that found money? A certified financial planner can help you in this area to determine how to allocate this found money and how to attain your financial goals for the future. Are you taking the best advantage of your employer's 401K? What are the best investment vehicles you should consider? If this isn't your wheelhouse, don't spend hours trying to figure it out alone. Empower yourself and exercise one of the best ways you can honor self-care and schedule a consultation to vet and secure a financial planner who will help you navigate the path to financial success. My dear friend Ainka T. Munroe, MBA, CFP® is a Certified Financial Planner™ who may be a useful contact.

Eat Breakfast

Rushing out of your house or starting your work day with a cup of coffee or a swig of juice will not give you the energy you need to be the best version of yourself that day. While you don't need to commit to a world-class athlete-level breakfast, making sure you have something healthy in a non-rushed way is a great way to start your day. Check out Jessica Jones of Jessica Jones Nutrition, Basheerah Enahora Ph.D. of BE Nutrition, or Registered Dietician Marisa Moore for more resources on how you can create a healthy eating pattern.

Build Your Board of Directors

Our founder Sara S. Richburg does an excellent training in the WOCN community on how to build your team of success, which she calls your Board of Directors. This group of people is not just your cheering squad but also your extended networking arm, your professional and personal mentors, and much more. If you're out here going it alone or are surrounded by people who aren't a part of your up-leveling strategy, end that way of living today. As my good friend Dr. Stacie NC Grant (who was inspired by the share by Dr. Dennis Kimbro) says, "If you're the smartest person in your group, you need a new group!" This year, work toward creating a circle that not only has your back when you're with them but is also speaking your name in rooms you're not in to help you meet your goals.

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