Every January millions of people make New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s dieting or saving money, traveling more or mending relationships, the new year is a great way to restart and reset old or bad habits. I think that is a noble concept and plan on figuring out the areas in which I need to improve. I would also like to use this month to organize my thoughts and figure out what I would like to add and subtract from my life, large and small.
I recently gave a keynote where I asked the audience to take time away from their busy lives, watch a bit less television or mindless internet time and do research on local, statewide, and national candidates. I must remind myself that I am responsible for creating the democracy I would like to see, and I must dedicate the time and money to seeing and making it so.
I have also realized that each year I must rededicate myself to carving out the time for physical activity. I am quite busy, especially during election season, and it seems as though exercise and personal fitness are always the first items in my schedule to get deleted due to my travel, teaching, and various commitments. Suze Orman always says, “Pay yourself first” and although she is talking about putting money in savings, I must look at personal fitness as a way to “pay myself first” in this stressful world. If I am too busy for thirty minutes to an hour of exercise each day (or even each week) then I am clearly burning the candle at all ends and will soon be heading for burnout.
Speaking of savings, the new year is a great time to recommit oneself to financial discipline and literacy. On a small level, I try to save as many $5 bills as possible so that at the end of a three or six month period I can put that savings toward something of interest to me. Fewer and fewer people use cash so think of small ways you can save money each month. Whether putting away $25 at the beginning of each month or putting away an amount that will be significant to you, think of 2020 as an experiment in saving to see if you can attain your goal.
Essentially, let’s let 2020 be the year for personal fulfillment and growth. We deserve happiness, excellence and exploration. However, we must be the catalysts for these changes to occur. Be sure to share some of your goals with those in your squad so they can support you and hold you accountable when necessary. The month is not yet done so start your lists. Think about what you would like to add to your life and think of the items that need to be subtracted as well.
Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream,” the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC.