Five New Year’s Resolutions to Consider in 2018

January 1st is quickly approaching and with it, the opportunity to develop a New Year’s resolution is also drawing near. For those interested in making some sort of life change, the prospect of creating and sticking to a resolution might sound difficult. Forbes recently reported that 80% of people who make a New Year’s resolution fail to keep it.

The secret to sticking to a New Year’s resolution, according to Tim Ferris (a New York Time’s best-selling author), is to create a series of daily habits that contribute to short-term and medium-term goals.

This article is designed to help readers identify possible New Year’s resolutions before 2018 arrives. Once identified, think about ways that you can break this resolution into smaller pieces that are achievable within predefined timeframes.

Become financially independent

The average American makes less than $60,000 per year. On average, an American who is in credit card debt owes more than $16,000. That means that millions of Americans are in a challenging financial situation that can make it difficult to own a home or to secure an auto loan.

The first step to becoming financially independent is to pay off any “bad debt.” Debt related to credit cards, payday loans, or past due payments should be paid off as soon as possible. That’s because the interest related to these debts accrues so quickly that it outpaces the good interest you could otherwise earn by investing your money.

Once your debt is paid off, you’ll want to find a way to invest your money. Brokerage platforms like TD Ameritrade or Merrill Edge are good self-service solutions for those interested in actively managing their own money. Alternatively, tools like Betterment and Wealthfront offer a collection of automated tools designed to make it simple for anyone to build wealth.

Throughout the next year, you’ll also want to regularly check your credit score to monitor your progress. Free tools like Credit Wise and Credit Karma are good resources for most people. Once you are financially independent, you can splurge on a luxury item as a result. A new appliance or electronic gadget can help to remind you that being financially responsible pays off.

Learn to play an instrument

A number of studies show that playing a musical instrument has a number of benefits related to intellectual performance, and emotional stability. National Geographic recently reported that playing an instrument can help people stay mentally sharp later in life. The article cited a study from Harvard University which found that musicians actually had larger brains compared to non-musicians.

Learning to play the piano, or another similar instrument is a great way to sharpen mental acuity and to tap into your artistic side.

Get healthier

According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Americans are considerably out of shape. The HHS reported that only 5% of Americans engage in the recommended amount of daily exercise (30 minutes) and only one in three people receive the recommended amount of weekly activity. In addition to failing to exercise, most people eat fewer vegetables and more salt and sugar than is recommended.

Your health is one of the most important things to maintain. Healthier people tend to be happier, one study found that health was a better predictor of happiness than being well-off. Additionally, a number of reports suggest that being overweight makes it harder to find a new job and that people who are significantly overweight tend to make less than their thinner peers.

Those interested in losing weight should make a New Year’s resolution to begin a diet and to get a specific amount of exercise each week. Even making small changes like eating more fruits and vegetables, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or skipping desert can have a significant positive impact on your health.

Develop a new marketable skill

The world of work is changing quickly. The accounting firm PwC concluded that nearly 40% of all jobs in the United States could be automated by the year 2030. In order to remain relevant in the workforce of today and tomorrow, you must constantly be developing new skills that increase your value on the job market.

Learning a software language, data-analytics, or digital marketing (among many other skills) can be a great way to add value at your current workplace, or to make yourself into a more attractive hire when looking for a job.

Conclusion

The new year is quickly approaching, now is your chance to select a resolution that has the power to dramatically improve your life if you successfully implement it. Becoming financially independent, learning a new instrument, getting healthy, or developing a new professional skill are all great options for the person ready to tackle 2018.

Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn’t know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.