Throughout my life, I’ve tried to take self-inventory from time to time assessing: where I am, where I want to be, what I haven’t done, and what I want or even need to do.
So, as the year of 2019 sprints to a close and 2020 seems just a moment away, it’s a good time for those who want to make a resolution to assess what they need to do to prepare for those new year plans; and it’s also a good time for those who don’t make resolutions to evaluate what they have accomplished and see what’s still on the “to do” list that they can get done.
While each of us could likely come up with varied listings containing myriads of tasks, I am posing seven suggestions of things we each can do to end 2019 empowered and ready to take on the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead in 2020.
1.) GET RID OF EXCESS
Let’s start with the stuff in that storage room that you planned on getting rid of and never got around to doing. You may have stocked it with old delivery boxes, old appliances, equipment, and electronics, which you no longer need, use, or that are no longer functional.
Well, there is no better time than now to get rid of the clutter and make space. Not only will it ease your spirit to no longer have to look at that stuff stacked up, but you’ll be making room for what’s to come in the new year.
Seriously, cleaning up can also yield benefits if any of these items are in good condition, and you can donate them to charity. You will get the advantages of writing the donation off on your taxes, and deserving parties will get an item they need at no or low cost.
Clean up paper files. Weed out what you don’t need and shred them. For those items that you will need, why not scan them and store them electronically. Taking this step will not only safeguard loss and deterioration but will make then easier to find, access, and share when necessary.
Next, there’s your closet. It’s filled with clothes and shoes, including all the new items with tags still attached (because you haven’t gotten around to wearing them) as well as the “old” stuff, some that can’t fit anymore and some that you don’t plan on wearing or didn’t like after the first wear and vowed never to put on again.
Clothing, shoes, and accessories are especially great items to donate. You will still get a tax break, and the recipients not only get things they like but often stuff they need (like a warm coat for the winter).
While you’re cleaning, you might as well take a look at your data storage. Your electronic storage and your cloud storage may be overflowing with data files, documents, pictures, videos, and the like that you don’t or won’t need. Take a look at what you can pare back because you can be sure that in the coming year you will find a lot more that you want to keep or store.
2.) MANAGE YOUR ONLINE AND SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE AND ACCESS
With the increasing occurrence of cybersecurity breaches and threats, you must remain vigilant about safeguarding your information and identity. Currently, passwords are a way of life for many online accounts.
As the year winds down, why not review your password values and the schema you use to create them. Varying and strengthening the methods you use to access your private and personal information is a plus.
You share pictures, comments, quotes, articles, on social media. Some of these have been sitting on your accounts for years on end. Why not review and assess what you still need and remove the old stuff that your followers don’t need to scroll through.
I understand that your footprint is your footprint and somethings you can’t ever really delete forever. But, cleaning helps to reduce the mountain of information that appears and which may no longer be relevant, and going through the exercise itself may help you gauge what and how much you share going forward.
While you are looking at your social media accounts, reviewing your connections, follows, friends, etc. is another good exercise as your needs and interests will change based on where you are in life and what’s going on in your life. It’s fair to review this information from time to time to determine if you need to diversify, enhance, or cut-back the circle with whom you share and exchange information.
3.) FINANCIAL, LEGAL, INSURANCE CHECK-UP
Every day is the right time to get your financial house in order. So, you might as well include it on your year-end task list. Also, given that tax season quickly approaches in the new year, organizing and gathering the information you need now is a great idea. At the same time, you should assess your cash flow, assets, and liabilities to see what changes you need to maintain or improve your desired standard of living.
Without a doubt, stuff happens. So there are some legal and insurance staples that you need to have in place and that you need to review and change or upgrade from time to time. Changes in your work life and earning ability are quite likely, and you never know what direction this may take.
So, fortifying savings, retirement accounts, and investments are good assignments to take on before the end of the year. Solidifying the state of these accounts includes reviewing and updating your beneficiaries or trustee who may either inherit the proceeds or have a say-so of how they are used and distributed.
Similarly, you insure yourself, your loved ones, or your possessions to protect yourself from loss, harm or damage. As the economic landscape changes and the policies offered by insurance companies vary or even narrow, you need to keep up with the changes and make adjustments to your portfolio.
You may find opportunities to lower premiums without negatively impacting your level of protection. Or you may find that you can add coverage that didn’t exist previously, or you couldn’t afford.
4.) HEALTH CHECK-UP AND DIRECTIVES
Life is fast-paced, so it’s easy to put off medical check-ups. But, the sooner you can identify an issue or situation, the better chance you have of overcoming it.
That said, please take time as the year comes to a close to get in all those medical visits that you postponed. Get your physical, mental, and emotional check-ups to pinpoint and alleviate all concerns and be prepared to hit the ground running in 2020.
While you are getting your check-ups, also considered health directives such as living wills, organ donations, and appointing trusted decision-makers who you know will support and carry out your wishes if ever it becomes necessary.
5.) ASSESS YOUR RELATIONSHIPS
Sometimes you hear, “assess your personal relationships” and automatically think it is a directive to break-up with your significant other. Well, saying goodbye to your spouse/partner/significant other is not the intent or guidance I am delivering with this suggestion.
Instead, I am suggesting that you consider your full circle of friends and acquaintance with no regard to whether it is plutonic or platonic, and you are not merely looking to see how they are contributing to your life. More importantly, you are looking at how you contribute to their lives and well-being.
At the end of the year you are typically poised to give, so why not evaluate what you are giving to others in terms of support, guidance, compassion, and goodwill to determine how you can help someone else navigate life and in return form a bond that will more likely than not result in the creating or fortifying a network that will reinforce, promote and bolster you in your time of need.
6.) PLAN YOUR NEXT VACATION
Relaxation is essential to enjoying life and experiencing fulfillment. You go all out in school or at work in your quest to achieve so now and then you need to walk away, take a leisure break, and pretend you have no real responsibilities.
Why not plan your next vacation now? If you can make it before year-end, go ahead. But, if you can at least plan your get-away before next year you will have something to look forward to as the year comes to an end. The anticipation alone will uplift you.
7.) GIVE THANKS
The year is almost over, and when you look back at it all, I think it may be useful to give thanks. When you reflect on all you’ve done, all you’ve dealt with, the opportunities, wins, and losses and acknowledge that you are still standing and better yet, there is hope and potential to elevate your life – you’ve got to give thanks!
Give thanks to friends, family, neighbors, co-workers who have supported you. You might not feel thankful for some of the trials, tribulations, or selfish and cowardly acts that you endured. But, give thanks for persevering. Giving thanks will increase your faith output and bolster your confidence to face whatever lies ahead in 2020.