I don’t care about New Year’s resolutions since they mostly fail,1 but I do think the new year is a good time to make some commitments… not specific resolutions like “I’m going to lose 20 lbs or save $10,000,” but more of “this year I will be intentional with what I put into my body or this year I will stick to a budget.”
My commitment is: this year I will let go of more than I bring in.
We’re simplifying our life in many areas and you can too.
Here are the areas where I’m letting go…
1. Finances: Spend Less
This is a huge one and could easily be split into about 20 different things.
At a minimum, here are 5 areas to review with your money this year:
- Accounts – Do you have any old checking or savings accounts that you don’t really monitor? That can be dangerous. It’s not a bad idea to keep your oldest account if you want to keep a good credit score, since account age is a big part of it, but for the other random accounts you have that you don’t give much time to, why not consolidate and get rid of them?
- Credit Cards – Most people keep the first credit card they were approved for.2 That doesn’t mean they use it. There’s no reason to keep a bunch of credit cards you don’t use. This is also dangerous since it creates more opportunities for ID theft and fraud. Your credit will take a little hit for closing these and it will decrease your overall credit limit, but if you don’t plan to live a life of debt, it shouldn’t be a problem.
- Debt – It’s time to get rid of it. Make this your year to become free of all debt. Maybe you need to sell your car(s), or maybe you just need to get serious and pay off that credit card.
- Payments – You likely have a lot of payments that aren’t debt. This could include things like Netflix, Spotify, other subscription services, cable, and phone bills. I’m not telling you to cancel all of them, but it’s likely you can reduce them. Evaluate everything you regularly pay for and decide if it still makes sense for you to keep them.
- Vices – This could be alcohol, cigarettes/vaping, coffee… whatever it is, if there’s an area where you feel guilty about your spending or simply think you overspend in that area, evaluate it. Try cutting whatever it is out for a month and see what happens.
Take the time to do an overall review of your budget and your spending.
2. Information: Consume Less
Do you watch the news? Or scroll through the news on your phone? Do you use social media?
There’s so much information out there and a lot of it is… just the worst.
Evaluate your newsletter subscriptions. You can “smash that unsubscribe button” just as easily as you subscribed.
Try this for a month as well. Maybe cut out social media or the news… you’ll be happier.
Make this a year of consuming less information and make sure the information you consume is high quality. Swap some low-quality podcasts for audiobooks (or at least for high-quality podcasts). Swap some social media and news scrolling for ebooks and useful articles.
There’s more information out there than ever and most of it is trash.
Choose what you consume; don’t just consume whatever comes to you.
3. Commitments: Commit to Less
It’s easy to commit to less with so many people staying home right now, but if you haven’t officially committed to doing less—and you feel overwhelmed with the number of commitments you have—consider saying that magic two-letter word more often.
Schedule some time for yourself. Commit to keeping the sabbath this year.
We all overcommit all the time. I’m guilty of it because I hate saying no, but this is going to be my year of having fewer and fewer commitments.
It all comes back to being intentional with your life and that means intentionality in your time.
4. People: Reduce Your Circle
I’m not going to bombard you with the old, “you’re the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with” or “your income will be the average of the people you spend the most time with.”
Well, I guess I just did. But that does make a strong point.
We could all be a little more intentional with who we choose to spend time with.
Eliminate toxic relationships (yes, friends or family).
Here’s the thing, we all have relationships where we give and relationships where we take. We all want mentors and we strive to be mentors. There are some Godly relationships you have that may not be contributing to your life, but you’re contributing to theirs and that’s ok if you recognize that.
Be intentional with every relationship and know why you choose to keep it.
5. Stuff: Own less
Now for the one you’ve all been
waiting for expecting: stuff.
It’s time to embrace minimalism in your life. The less you spend, consume, commit to, and the fewer toxic people you have in your life, the more calm, joy, and peace you’ll have. And yes, the obvious one: the less stuff you have, the freer you’ll be.
If you do commit to something, commit to owning less.
I won’t spend much time on this one since there are all kinds of books and articles on it, but if you haven’t truly embraced the idea of owning less, let this be the year you do.
Increase: Where to Have More
As you decrease, own less, and reduce the things in your life, you’ll automatically have more of certain things, such as family time, rest, relaxation, and more time for the things that add value to your life:
You need more time for yourself so you can contribute to others.
The more you reduce, the more space and margin you create. Use it wisely.
Further Book Reading
- Large-Family Minimalism: How We Declutter 5,000 Things a Year
- Don’t Just Teach Your Kids to Set Goals, Teach Them to Do This
- 47 Things You Weren’t Taught in School (That Our Kids Need to Know)
- Budgeting for Kids: How to Teach Budgeting From Age 3 to 18
- The Media Threat: How Much Screen Time is Too Much?
- 8 Minimalism Books to Help You Declutter Your Entire House
- Norcross JC & Vangarelli DJ. The resolution solution: longitudinal examination of New Year’s change attempts. J Subst Abuse. 1988-1989;1(2):127-34.
- Ascent Staff. (2019, May 22). Study: When Does the Average American Get Their First Credit Card? The Ascent.