Make a Plan for 2013

I always enjoy the beginning of the year, it’s a fresh start. It’s a time when we can reflect on what we want to accomplish and what we want to change. While many people will often make resolution, very few make a plan. Setting goals and decided the best course of action to achieve them is a great way to improve your life and grow professionally and personally. Here are five areas that you may want to focus on in the next 365 days. 

  1. Reducing Debt – The last ime I was debt free I was 17, then I signed my first student loan application and I have been in the hole ever since. Of course not all debt is bad, much of it is necessary. When I am talking about reducing debt I mean credit card debt. It can be very easy for credit card spending to get out of control. You need to take a good hard look at this and consider switching over to cash or a debit card here on out. The first month or two will be tough, but the upside is worth it.  As for existing debt your best option is to move the balances over to a zero percent card if you can and try to negotiate a lower interest rate if you can’t. When you calculate the savings, a few calls to your credit card companies can really pay off. 
  2. Saving MoneyThe saving rate in America is incredibly low, like all time low. Very few of us save. In these precarious times it is always best to have some money to fall back on. Who knows what the future will bring. In my experience its best to set a fixed amount of money aside with each paycheck. I get paid every two weeks, as do most people. If you set aside 70 dollars a pay check it would be 140 a month or 1680 dollars a year. If this is too much money then you can simply put all of your pocket change at the end of a day into a jar, at the end of the year you might be surprised how much money you have saved.
  3. Learning New Technology/Skills – Technology is changing all the time. Often this will require us to learn new computer programs or skills. This can sometimes cause us a lot of stress, and we wait or try to get out of it. This is a terrible idea. The best move is the opposite choice, be the first to learn new things. This will show your bosses that you are serious about your work. It will also allow you to help your co-workers learn this new program or equipment. They will be grateful and look at you as a leader. Leaders get promotions. 
  4. Plan a VacationWe all have rough week, sometimes ever rough months. It can really help you soldier on if you have something to look forward to. Its very important to plan a getaway as far in advance as possible. This will allow you to do adequate research and find the best price. Of course a surprise last minute weekend adventure can be great too. 
  5. SocializeWho couldn’t use a few more friends? Does your company have a softball team? Do you have a hobby or an interest that you really enjoy? A group of people with similar tastes or passions might be out there all you have to do is look. I’ve had a passion for screenwriting for all of my adult life. I joined a few writing groups and not only has it helped me improve my writing but it has also helped me make a few new friends. 
A few small decisions can add up to big gains over time. Take a minute or two to consider how you want to make 2013 an unforgettable year in your life.

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