5 activities to do in January to start your year right

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Start your year on a high note! Take care of your body, mind, finances and even your environment, so that you can start the new year prepared and raring to go. Make this coming year the year you develop into your best self.

  1. Get a physical check-up

    Start with your most important tool – your health. January is the best time to get a physical check-up with your doctor. You can schedule this before the year ends. Your family doctor will most likely check your health history and order some tests. Depending on your age, the doctor may screen you for high blood pressure, cholesterol level, diabetes and check your bone and heart health. Getting a check-up is important even if you don’t feel sick. It is a preventive measure that can help you maintain your good health throughout the year.

  2. Think of your successes then make new goals

    Plan your goals differently this year. Start by writing down your accomplishments in the past year instead of thinking of what you lack. Recognizing your strengths will boost your confidence, get you thinking positively and motivate you to aspire for more in the coming year. Then, set new goals to continuously improve your English, finances, health, career, and relationships. Do your best to sustain the positive vibe. Think of the next year-end and how good it will feel when you look back on your achievements.

  3. Get things in order

    Getting rid of clutter can be therapeutic for your mind and body. Plus, you increase efficiency and productivity when things are organized at your home and office. Just imagine, no more wasted time looking for your car keys or for files you need urgently! Schedule some time to clean your house (take down your holiday decorations after New Year), re-arrange your closet, throw away things you don’t need (or donate to charity). You can even make it a family event to make it more fun.

    Clean out your office desk. Don’t forget to unclutter your computer. Did you know that a large amount of files on your desktop slows down your computer? It also makes it hard to find files and easier to accidentally delete them. The best thing to do is to gather related files, save them into one folder and name them clearly (for example: December Issue) so that they’ll be easy to find. You can make subfolders inside your folder to make it more organized. For example, in your “December Issue” folder, you can have sub-folders for photos, articles, interviews, cover, etc. When you’re done categorizing all the files, move all your folders to My Documents. You can create a shortcut if you need to access your files quickly. Also, delete unnecessary files (Important: Be absolutely sure that you don’t need them anymore before deleting. If you are unsure, keep them in a separate folder for checking later). Clear out your recycle bin.

  4. Pay your debts

    One of the biggest burdens that can hang on your mind are debts. If you splurged during Black Friday, Christmas and Boxing Day using your credit card, you might be in for a shock come January. It would be wise to pay off all your credit card debts (and other debts) as early as you can. But if you can’t pay them in full, at least pay higher than the minimum to avoid having to pay for a large interest. Resolve to make next year the year you stick to a budget and start saving. Read 8 habits that will help you avoid getting into debt to help keep you financially healthy in the coming year.

  5. Keep your mind healthy

    Just as our body needs a tune-up to start the year right, so does our mental health. If you’ve had a hectic holiday season or a grueling year, make sure to pause and rest. Let go of all the things that stress you out and start nurturing yourself. Here are suggested ways to reboot your mental health:

    • Forgive yourself and others – Forgiving is like detoxifying your mind – you remove all the hurt, resentment and bad memories and start fresh. Mend fences with people who have hurt you. Forgive yourself for your shortcomings and resolve to do better next year.
    • Get rid of negativity – All of us have worries and fears. This is normal. What is not normal is when these worries and fears take over your life and limit you. When this happens, it helps to talk to someone. Some people talk to a priest and/or confess their sins, others seek a therapist, counsellor or a close friend. Do what works for you. What is important is that you avoid carrying all the emotional baggage that you don’t need into the coming year.
    • Resolve to make time for self-care – Go to a spa, meditate, pray, or anything that relaxes your mind. Make sure to get enough sleep. Treat yourself with kindness and respect and avoid self-criticism.
    • Be creative – Get your creative juices flowing by painting, knitting or writing. Take up a hobby that you enjoy or volunteer and share your talents. Keeping your mind active in creative and helpful pursuits is a great way to train your brain to be positive and active.
    • Take walks outside – Make short walks part of your routine even in winter. Being in nature is a proven stress reducer. Also, exposure to sunlight can boost your mood.

Sources: 4 ways to get into a positive mindset for the new year, Lisa Evans, Entrepreneur; It’s ‘Clean out your computer’ day. Here’s how to declutter your computer in 4 steps, Chris Ambrose, Monster; Mental Health: Coping with stress, Health Canada; and 9 ways you can improve your mental health today, Patricia Harteneck, PhD. MBA, Psychology Today. Accessed November 27, 2018.

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