With the New Year approaching quickly, it’s time to start thinking about ways to pave a better path for ourselves in 2018. This year I want to challenge you to think outside of the box when setting goals. Instead of making the “I want to lose weight commitment”, set a goal that says “I want to have a healthier relationship with my body.” Whether it’s finances, health goals, or career goals, I’ve got 4 unique ways to help you navigate these next few weeks to set yourself up for success in 2018.
Featured image shot by Shelby Rae Photographs
One: Stop Wasting Your Money on Interest Payments
One of my main goals of 2017 was to reduce my debt- student loans, credit card, car payment, etc- when I calculated all of my monthly payments, the interest I was paying, and saw how much of my payment was going to interest, I about had a heart attack! Over 60% of all of my payments were going toward interest. I realized that my tax credit for my student loans every year was not worth the amount of money I was spending in interest every year so I decided to refinance those loans. I spent about two weeks comparing against all of the private loan refinancers when I finally decided on SoFi. Not only did they buy my loans outright, but I was going to pay off my loans two years quicker, have a reduced interest rate by roughly 3%, and also have a reduced payment by about 15% per month. Total annual savings: $2,000, which means I can (and have) put those savings towards paying my loans off quicker. If you use this link here you will get $100 if you open an account with them. Sofi has an array of options for debt refinance, you can refinance your mortgage, private debt (like credit cards and car loans), parent Plus student debt, and Medical resident loans.
Don’t let 2018 keep you a slave to interest payments. If one of your goals is to take control of your finances, look into refinancing your loans with a reputable and trustworthy debt refinancing company like SoFi. As I said, I’ve been using them since August of this year and have already reaped tons of benefits including paying down my student debt and I’ll be done with it two years sooner than my Sallie Mae/ Navient had projected for me.
Two: Let’s Work on a Healthy Relationship with our Bodies
I hear it every year from friends and family alike: “I want to lose weight this year, how do you stay so thin?” The truth of the matter is, I may have always been trimmer than most (I would like to credit the sun up to sun down horseback riding I would partake in as a child) but most of my life I had had a very unhealthy relationship with my body and with food. Not until 2016 did I really start focusing on what I nourish my body with and the way I perceive my body. I may be thin but I wasn’t fit. 2016 is when my fitness journey began which started with mid-afternoon jogs on the treadmill at work that soon led me to start making fitness fun by trying new fitness activities. I think living by the scale is dangerous so I haven’t stepped on a scale since January of 2016. I don’t want to get caught up in what the number says, I’d rather listen to my body to see how I’m feeling, how my favorite dress is fitting, and how strong I am when I work out.
Let 2018’s pledge to weight loss be listening to your body and how it feels without living life by a number on a scale. If eating a gallon of ice cream makes you feel miserable afterward, don’t do that. Have a little scoop of ice cream, let it settle, and see how you feel afterward. Having a healthy relationship with your body is like having a healthy interpersonal relationship, if you do something and your significant other/ best friend/ etc says they don’t like it, you should acknowledge what they’re saying and try to compromise and find something you both can enjoy.
Three: How You Define Success Matters the Most
These days it’s really easy to feel self-conscious about where you are in your career. It’s easy to get caught up in the rat race of who’s who and who’s doing what to make you feel like maybe you’re not doing enough, or achieving enough in your career. With all my different interests (my 9-5 career, this 5-9 blog, ambitions of going back to get my MBA), I have never felt more ambivalent in what I’m doing now and what I want to do in the future. When I get caught up in how I’m not achieving success like XYZ or so-and-so, I have to physically stop myself and remind myself that everyone defines success differently.
I challenge you to write down how you determine success. Take that definition of success and put it everywhere: in your wallet, in your office at work, on your refrigerator and tell yourself “I am doing the best that I can with everything that I’ve got and made plans to get to what I want in the future.”
Four: Know Who You Are
You know your name, where you came from and can recite what you’ve done for the last 5 years as if preparing for a work interview, but do you know who you are? What get’s you going in the morning? What inspires you? If you can’t answer these questions, for the first month of 2018 you should put together a collage (it can be electronic or a drawing) of some words that define you, some images that resonate with you that plays on your talents and speaks to who you are. Maybe you can’t answer those questions with words because words don’t define you quite like a picture would, but by the end of 2018 hopefully, you can answer “who am I” by the end of the year.
One thing I’ve learned in 2017 is that each person is responsible for paving their own path. If you feel like you’re losing control of your life take a step back and think about what it is you can control. If it’s overwhelming debt that’s making you feel like you’re drowning, look at refinancing your loans like I did with SoFi. If you feel like you can’t lose weight, pivot your goal to building muscle or pick up a new fun fitness routine, like bike riding. Remind yourself that success in your career is determined by you. If what you’re doing isn’t fulfilling you, figure out a way you can pivot to a new career. I don’t think anyone grows up wanting to be an Actuary or a financial analyst, but instead, want to work in the film industry. Did you know that there are Financial managers for movie sets? They get to work on location with the film crew but still utilizing their financial background. Finally, know who you are and what inspires you. Be able to define who you are.