Cold and dark winter mornings might make you feel like pulling the covers over your head, but the last months of the year could be a productive time. Leave hibernating to the bears while you spend the winter making positive changes in your life.
The possibilities are endless. Start with this list of ideas for your professional and personal makeover, and add some projects of your own.
- Learn new skills. Modern workplaces undergo rapid change. Continuous learning helps you to remain competitive. Take a class that will certify you for project management or a popular software package. Shadow another employee who has a job that interests you.
- Attend networking events. Browse online or check the calendar in industry publications to find events that can help your career. Your employer may be willing to pay the expenses if it’s related to your current responsibilities.
- Reach out to former colleagues. When is the last time you talked with your former supervisor? Staying in touch keeps your network strong, so send them an intriguing article or invite them out to lunch.
- Tidy up your office. Banishing clutter makes it easier to think clearly. Develop a filing system that works for you, and clear off your desk at the end of the day.
- Use your vacation days. Many employees fail to use their leave time even though studies show it makes us more productive. Plan an exotic adventure or a family getaway.
- Update your resume. Keeping your resume current is a smart move even when you’re not actively searching for a job. It will be easier for you to track your accomplishments and think about your career path.
- Pay off debts. Becoming debt-free reduces stress and raises your future standard of living. Pay off your most expensive debts first and talk with a counselor if you need assistance.
- Increase your savings. Put money aside from each paycheck. You’ll feel more secure preparing for your retirement or your children’s college education.
- Meditate daily. Mindfulness helps you to feel peaceful and accomplish more. Set aside time each day for quiet contemplation. Even a few minutes makes a big difference.
- Eat more vegetables. Consuming more vegetables and fruits is one of the simplest and most effective changes you can make in your diet. Try adding one additional serving a day for a week.
- Limit processed foods. Replace processed foods with whole foods. You’ll avoid excess sugar and salt and unhealthy fats.
- Exercise regularly. Find a variety of activities that you enjoy. Buy a gym membership or go running in the park. Lift weights or play volleyball.
- Sleep well. Give your body good quality rest and sleep. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day, even on weekends. Darken your bedroom, and block out distracting noises with a fan or pink noise machine.
- Manage stress. Stress can lead to chronic inflammation. Experiment with relaxation practices like yoga, massage, or listening to instrumental music.
- Enjoy family dinners. It can be difficult to carve out family time in a busy schedule. Designate at least one night a week when you can sit down together and talk over a nutritious meal.
- Make new friends. Maybe you moved to a new city, or you find that you now have less in common with your old college buddies. Expand your circle by meeting others who share your current interests. Start a book club or join a neighborhood association.
Greet the spring with a sense of optimism and a host of constructive new habits. Your future will look brighter when you spend the winter taking steps to make your life more healthy, joyful, and meaningful.