Everything You'll Need to Succeed This Year

Tina Haapala |


By Gary Silverman, CFP®

If you read this column today it likely will have no effect on your life. Instead, cut out or print this column so that you can use it later. Whether it does any good then or not, it’s at least worth a try.

It’s a New Year! Time for those resolutions.

Clean. Actually, I want you to expunge. Look through the fridge for leftovers. If they are from Thanksgiving, they are bad. If they are from Christmas, they are probably bad. It’s easy to go online and find out how long you can keep leftovers. Before anything else goes bad, make your next meal out of something about to go bad.

While you are at it, go into your pantry. Look at the expiration dates of everything. Anything expiring soon needs to be eaten. If you like it, eat it. If it’s sitting there because no one wanted it, then take it to the Food Bank.

Keep cleaning. Go through your clothes. What did you not wear in 2018? Hint: if you don’t remember, you didn’t wear it. Sell it or give it away.

Head into the garage. Look around the cans of paint, oils, unidentified liquids, etc. Old? Expired? Dried out? Don’t know what it is? Get rid of it. If you don’t know the proper way to dispose of things call whomever handles trash disposal in your area and ask.

Check your spending from 2018. Compare it to your budget and make adjustments. See how those adjustments affect your financial plan. Don’t know what you spent? Don’t have a budget? Don’t have a financial plan? Well, now you have some things for your 2019 to-do list.

How’s your body doing? Have you been taking care of it? This is not about weight. It’s about eating a balanced diet and being healthy. I know skinny people who eat horribly and are setting themselves up for problems. I know people who are a bit heavy according to a chart but can run marathons and eat nutritious food. Figure out your own healthy normal.

Sleep. Studies have shown that some people operate just fine on 5 hours of sleep a night. You are not one of those people. Talk to your doctor about it. Exercise, diet, bedding, lighting, and night-time habits can all mess with your sleep. Sleep gets you healthy and keeps you healthy.

And about that doctor. Go. Yes, I know the excuse you have. Go. Tell them the truth. Listen to what they say. Don’t like it? Go to another doctor. If you are hearing the same thing, maybe it is you who needs to change your tune.

Oh, and the dentist. We’re finding that a lot of health problems are linked to oral care. Go to the dentist. No, I don’t like it either, but I do it anyway.

That’s just a start. It took me less time to write this than any article last year. It’s that easy to think of things to work on. It’s the working on it that takes time and effort. Make your own list and work it. You’re worth it.

Gary Silverman, CFP® is the founder of Personal Money Planning, LLC, a Wichita Falls retirement planning and investment management firm and author of Real World Investing