Every year around this time we all contemplate what the new year will bring and what resolutions we made last year and then ended up breaking because they proved to be too difficult.
We are about to enter into 2017 so let’s look at some of the ways we can use to improve our life. Even in retirement I find myself looking for ways to improve my health and fitness and also planning for the future through smart savings and choosing the right investments.
I have to admit that my life is a whole lot less hectic now that I’m a house husband and all the years commuting to work are over. That doesn’t mean I stop looking for ways to improve my life and helping my wife at home. I improve my own life if I can try to make her life easier in the process. She still works part-time so I try wherever I can to make her life easier.
During our work lives we are all so busy that we really can’t stop and smell the roses and the coffee brewing in the morning. Every year I try and compile a list of the ways to improve our lives which usually includes doing more of what I love and spend less time on what doesn’t bring happiness.
This is my 2017 list, you may find one or two of them helpful and might help you improve your own life too.
Here are my tips on how to improve your life
1. Think about what makes you happy
If you write this down as a constant reminder of what truly makes you happy then you can eliminate all those things you are doing or have been doing for the past year that don’t make you happy.
You need to get a grip on making yourself happy and going to your happy place more often. This will improve your life.
2. Stay out of the fastlane of life
If you want to find a way to improve your life in the next year then you have to slow down. When this happens in our lives, I’ll ask my wife the question; “Oh honey is it busy up there”? Meaning, she’s thinking of too many things at the same time. We all get too busy up in our heads which prevents us from enjoying life and making improvements for a better life.
Allow yourself to slow down.
3. Put your financial life on auto-pilot
As much as you can have everything deposited to your accounts automatically. Your bill payments can also come out automatically once you set them up. For some unknown reason the only bill that we have that we can’t automate is our power bill. The local hydro utility doesn’t allow for it. So we are set up to receive an email alert and then I go into our bank account and make a pre-authorized payment to come out on the due date.
The only bill I need to cheque monthly is the credit card bill so I can pay it when it’s due. We have all our bills automatically deducted form our credit cards to gain rewards. I pay this bill online and always know when it’s due.
Ramit Sethi’s book talks about this at length, you can check it out here
- mark down the dates your bills come out
- know when your credit card payment is due so you can avoid late fees
- call all your payees and see if you can get a better deal
- reduce bank fees, try for $0
- don’t spend money you don’t have
4. Reduce your debt load
As much as you can reduce or eliminate debt soonest. This is a real stressor for a lot of people. You need to pay off the highest interest debt first. Work on reducing your mortgage if you have one.
Stay out of debt because all you’re doing is spending money you don’t have. Then, when the bills come in you give up and your life becomes a mess. Debt and money problems in general are a leading cause of marital breakdown.
Related Blog Post: What is the best way to stay out of debt
5. Leave the cell at home
I started leaving my phone at home when I go to the gym and when I go grocery shopping. You can say all you want that I need it to check on coupons and flyers but the next thing you know you’re checking Facebook while in the aisles. Yes you will as much as you say you won’t. Just try it and see what happens.
We spend too much time on social media, your life will improve once you step away from your phone a bit more.
6. Out with the old
If I haven’t wore something in a year covering all four of the seasons, you know what? Throw it out or better yet donate it to charity.
Clean out your closets and the garage. Get rid of everything in your house that has become an eyesore. Once you do this the stress will leave your body. Just opening your closet and dresser drawers will stress you out because of all the clutter.
Go room by room and downsize them into emptiness, you’ll feel so much better.
7. Stop becoming a TV zombie
I like to watch movies and sports but I know I watch too much TV. It’s a bad habit developed from my days of growing up in a one black and white TV household.
I remember years going by when I didn’t watch much TV, it’s a lot healthier for your life and relationships to cut back on TV watching. Spending less time in front of the boob tube will improve your life.
8. Cut the cord
We still have cable TV. Only because my daughter works for the cable company and gets an amazing discount for us. We have it, so she can watch TV in her room. Most people don’t have this option so cable TV is very expensive.
What you should do is cut the cable cord and stop being beholding to these conglomerate multi media companies. You can buy one of these MyGica ATVs for a one time charge and piggyback that with a $8.99 subscription to Netflix and you are all set. That will be a lot cheaper and leave you with more money to spend on the happy things in life.
9. Stop living in the past
You can’t do anything about it so leave it there. What happens is you start to playback those memory tapes and eventually it eats at you and you become a very negative person. Nobody likes to be around or socialize with negative people.
Becoming a more positive person by not living in the past will help improve your life.
10. Drive less walk/bike more
We spend way too much time in the car just running small errands. Bike or walk when the weather permits allows you to get some exercise to keep you healthy and saves money on gas. That’s a double whammy of benefits.
Even when it seems too far it’s a much healthier option to walk or bike. If you have an expensive car payment get rid of it as quick as you can. Sell your ride if you have to.
11. Be more selfish
Say no to family and friends. Tell them your trying to get healthy and improve your life. You can only help so many people and you have time for very few in your life. They’re all grown up and besides, “It’s not your circus and not your monkeys”. Work on you this upcoming year.
If you don’t say NO to them more often, it will be difficult for you to improve your own life.
12. One thing at a time
We run around doing too many things or trying to do too many things at the same time. In most cases it leads to frustration and breakdown.
You want to please everybody but you never will. Focus on just doing one thing at a time and not over scheduling your life.
13. Spend some time in mindfulness
Call it quiet time. Light a candle, turn off the lights and sit in peace. Try this for 10-15 minutes a day just focusing on your breathing.
I’ve also heard it called ‘coming into quiet’. Try to shut out all the busyness of the day and relax and meditate. Practicing mindfulness will improve your life.
14. Do things you can do for FREE
Look for ways to have fun that cost nothing or that are very cheap like:
- swimming at the public beach
- instead of big chain movies choose a small independent theater they are half the price in my town
- hiking trails
- walk your own community
- use the library more
What ways are you using to improve your life? Have you anything you’d like to add to this list?
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