8 Things to Do to Start the Year Well

How have you approached 2016? If you are in need of some overdue new year’s resolutions or your current ones aren’t tracking as well as you hoped, take a look at our list of eight practical actions you can take to set yourself up for a good year (and beyond!)

unused - father with daughter on his shoulders and famly in background

  1. Reconnect

Christmas and New Year celebrations can be manic! They often leave families gasping for additional holidays just to recover. Attempting to catch up with all the important people in your life in such a short time means you may just miss some extended family or friends.

Planning and committing time in January or the months following to reconnect with those who might feel ‘neglected’ will put you back in the good books. And the bonus is, the catch up will be more relaxed – that’s summer, right?

  1. Plan Leave

For those who didn’t take annual leave between Christmas and New Year, the prospect of a holiday later in the year would have definitely made those lonely office days easier! Picture yourself – exploring and adventuring somewhere exotic, lazing poolside or relaxing at home with family – plan it, and lock it in now! The added benefit of asking straight up in the New Year is that your boss will likely be refreshed and in a good mood. So request away!

 

  1. Clear it out! Or Not…

Did you know that a clear working space can promote more conscious and healthier eating and generosity? This was shown in a study by the Association for Psychological Science: Tidy Desk or Messy Desk? Each Has Its Benefits.

Conversely, the study also found that a messy work space might assist creative thinking.

So, what are your goals and aspirations for 2016? Creativity? Organisation? Or productivity? Whatever they might be, allocate time to ‘tidy up’ or ‘set up’ your work space for the best outcomes!

  1. Share a Cherished Thing

Clearing out at work to clearing out at home. In doing so, you may come across personal sentimental items. Think about siblings, children or grandchildren who would see value in these things. Gifting such personal things can be a lovely gesture. Just don’t forget to share the item along with the story behind it!

If you need some inspiration, check out our Cherished Things video series featuring local Victorians sharing their most cherished items with loved ones.

Businesswoman filling out contract on a glass table.

  1. Budget

From the more fun activities to the more serious ones, let’s start with budgets. The New Year is the perfect time to review your annual budget – or set a new one.

If you’re creating a personal or family budget for the first time, or your circumstances have gotten more complicated, it is a good idea to seek assistance from a qualified financial planner.

While it’s an additional expense, setting a good foundation for your financial future could mean you make this money back – and then some! Not only in the current year, but in the years to come.

  1. Consolidate Superannuation

If you’re seeing a professional for your financial needs, why not make the expense worth it and have your superannuation consolidated. According to the Australian Taxation Office, 45% of Australians have more than one superannuation account.

By consolidating your super into one account, you can make easy savings by not having to pay multiple fees.

If you’d like to consolidate your superannuation yourself, the ATO’s myGov portal is a good place to start. Find out more here on the ATO website.

  1. Unfinished Projects

The end of one year and the start of another is an excellent time to review personal projects you’ve been working on.

You might find that the one that has been lingering – not getting done or being continually put off – should be reviewed. Is there an easier or different way to do it? Maybe you should outsource it or get some help? Or does it need to be scrapped completely?

Be honest with yourself and allocate your time wisely. It will save you stress and you’ll feel more productive day to day.

Closeup of a grandmother being embraced by her cute granddaughter - Copyspace

  1. Secure Your Wishes

While on the subject of unfinished business… have you thought about securing your final wishes in a will? Over the holiday period, whilst connecting with friends and relatives, yours or a loved one’s legacy may come up in conversation. If you already have a will, consider if you need to update it. If so, you can book an appointment with a qualified will writer online.

If you don’t yet have a will, it’s probably something you’ve been putting off. Consider key milestones in your life – recent and on the horizon for 2016. Often these points in life are also reasons you need to make (or update) your will. How many of these milestones are familiar to you?:

  • Buying a large asset (first home)
  • Getting married
  • The birth of children
  • Travelling overseas – for leisure or to live
  • Illness or passing of a family member
  • Divorce or separation – either your own or a family member’s

 

Such milestones have significant impact on our lives. As a result, it’s important to consider the major impact on those you care about if you were to pass away without a will.

If your circumstances are uncomplicated, an easy way to create your first legally binding will is by purchasing our do-it-yourself Will Kit online. It costs only $29.99 from iwillkit.com.au and, as a Victorian, you can store it in State Trustees’ secure Will Bank for free.