We’re already counting down to 2020 at MilitaryShoppers and just know it’s going to be the best year yet! But in order to make sure it’s great (instead of just wishing and hoping), we’re creating an action plan to plant seeds of success that will sprout all year long.
Set Yourself Up for Success in 2020 with Our Jumpstart Plan
Use these ideas to help jumpstart your new year!
Check Your Money
Yes, the DoD paychecks are regular, but just because you know how much will be coming in every two-ish weeks doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean your financial house at the end of the calendar year.
Start by checking on your bank accounts, checking, savings and any other places you’ve stashed money, like a money market or CD. Ask these questions:
- If I didn’t work for 6 months, could my family get by?
- Is my money working for me? Is it earning as much interest as possible?
- Do I have money set aside (and growing) for retirement?
Be brutally honest. It doesn’t pay (literally) to look at your finances with rose-colored glasses.
If you don’t have liquid (cash in the bank) assets to cover your basic bills for six months, it’s time to make a plan to get to that point. This might mean cutting down on extras, like trips or eating out. What can you cut to save money?
If you have a good amount stashed in the bank, make sure that everything above and beyond your emergency fund is working hard. This might mean diversifying your bank accounts into higher yield options or opening a CD. Talk to a financial adviser, either through your preferred bank or a privately-operated business, to understand your options and what might be best.
Okay, you’ve got money for “just in case” and the rest is earning decently, but what about after you’re done working 9-5 every day? Do you have money for retirement? If not, now is the time to chat with a financial adviser about how, when and where to create your retirement investments. A financial adviser can help you with that, too.
Check Your Credit and Spending
Where is your money going? Do you know?
If you don’t know, even just a rough guesstimate, you need to figure it out. Look at your bank accounts and credit/debit card statements. Break things down by category, then total up the spending per category and compare it to your total spending.
This will help you know just how much of your income is going to say, restaurants and bars, over the course of a year, quarter or month.
Pro Tip: there are tons of apps that can do this for you.
Like literally clean it and clean it out. Start now, going room by room or by category. Consider each item and whether it’s useful and used regularly. Yes, we are going full Kondo.
There will be those items that you keep to use seasonally, like the grill stuff that only comes out in the summer or serving ware that makes an appearance at the holidays only. Totally fine.
But everything else should be considered and de-cluttered accordingly.
Once you’re whittled down, get to scrubbing. Start cleaning at the actual top of your house and work your way down. Save the floors for absolute last in each room.
It feels nice to start a new year with a fresh, clean house!
Assess Your Fitness
Sure you can pound out a fitness test when needed, but is your fitness actually working for you?
One way to check is to log your food for a week or two. Maybe try after the New Year, just so you can enjoy the holiday goodies and desserts. Write down everything that goes into your mouth. You can use an app, like MyFitnessPal, to keep your food diary and get a good estimate of calories.
While you’re logging, write down your workouts and describe them. Every person needs a different workout style and routine. If you have questions, check with a personal trainer. Most on-base gyms offer consultations with the trainers on their staff. You can also check your military community for certified trainers and nutrition coaches. Many military spouses are entering the fitness and wellness industry!
Make a plan to create positive change. Even if it’s just swapping a granola bar (not terrible) for an apple (pretty great!) when you’re reaching for a snack, it’s a great first step! You could also push yourself to go an extra lap on the track, sneak in an extra rep or try a new exercise.
Update Your Resume
Even if you’ve got a sweet gig, it never hurts to have a fantastic resume and cover letter template in your back pocket.
Check over your resume and make sure it includes:
- Degrees, licensures & certifications
- Most recent relevant jobs to your “dream” position
- Brief action-oriented descriptions of your job(s)
Your cover letter should be mostly a template, but ready to be tweaked whenever you need it. Cover letters and resumes should be tailored to fit the job you’re applying for each time.
If you need help, there are employment support centers on every military base that can help you create your resume and even adjust it for federal job applications.
Make Your Resolutions SMART
Identify your goals and the baby steps you’ll need to take along the way. Make a plan for success.
You’re going to make your goals SMART:
- Specific: very clear cut and focused “I will do a 10-mile race”
- Measurable: you can quantify the success with a number “I will run a 10-mile race in under 2 hours”
- Attainable: spell out the mini-victories you’re going to reach along the way “I will run 5K, 10K and a 5K+10K races at less than an 11-minute pace on the way to running my 10-mile race”
- Realistic: is this something that you can realistically achieve under the circumstances? Ex: if you’ve literally never run before, maybe start with a 5K and adjust your goal as you go
- Timely: set a deadline “I will run a 10-mile race by April”
If you overshoot or reach your goal faster, you can always adjust. Once you reach your goal, make a new one!
Write your goal, and the benchmarks to success, somewhere you’ll see it daily.
Cheers to a successful 2020! Happy New Year!