At the beginning of January, I wrote about all the emotional and philosophical changes I wanted to make after living through 2020. I have decided that this month, I need to deal with some practical changes that last year has brought to my attention. Here are a few things that, in some cases, are painful and difficult to face, but, face them, I must!
Get Things in Order - I have to say, this year has been horrible for so many families. The loss has been catastrophic for some. My family was pretty fortunate in a lot of ways to come through it without some of those horrible tragedies, however, it has opened my eyes as to what can occur and I need to be ready for it. I need my finances to be in order, I need a health care plan and I need a will. No matter what stage of life you are in, if you are an adult, now is the time to get it together! If something would happen, I need my loved ones to be able to take care of things without it being a burden to them to do so on top of whatever else they may be facing. If you are like me and there are a lot of things you need to get figured out, make a prioritized list of what you need to do to make that happen. Having health care decisions made so that your family can take care of whatever they need to on your behalf, needs to be on the top. No matter what age you are, something could happen to you that you can't make those decisions on your own, so figure out who you want to make those decisions and be sure that your doctors know who those people are. Also, getting legal documents together for those things is a must. There are free document sites for you to get started and for those of you that have more finances, children and homes you are responsible for, maybe a talk with an attorney will help you know where to start as well. Even on a smaller level, make sure that others know how to do the jobs you do if you aren't there. You do the household books? Make sure your partner knows how to take care of all of that too. You do all the cooking? Teach someone in your family some of those secrets you have. Been putting off getting your home in the best shape it can be? Let 2021 be the year you get those things done!
Be Emergency Ready - Emergencies seldom come when we are truly prepared for them, so we need to do those things we can so that when one DOES spring up, we can be in the best possible place to handle them, not only emotionally, but financially as well. On Thursdays this month I am going to be addressing finances a lot and one of those things I want to hammer in that is so very important is an Emergency Fund. During my younger, just-starting-out years I scoffed at this concept. I lived in a constant state of "emergency" in my eyes and never made saving for that a priority. Unfortunately, for a lot of years, that meant I was never prepared for most things that came my way, let alone the unexpected emergencies! Our poor families bailed us out of messes more times than I can count on both hands, which I am so thankful for, but, it sure would have been a lot less stressful if we could have handled most all of that ourselves because we had money set aside for that purpose. I have learned that $1000 will cover a multitude of emergencies, so start with trying to get that much put aside that you NEVER EVER touch except for an emergency situation. As we saw last year, so many people can lose their jobs and be ill prepared, so build up that $1,000 to about 3 to 6 months expenses so if your job does disappear, you will be safe for a bit while you figure things out! I tell you what, just having that there has eased my stress 100%. Of course, there are other emergencies we need to be prepared for. Have a fire plan for your home and ways to get out quickly and easily. Have bags ready so that your family can get out at a moments notice with important things they may need and keep things stocked in your home for power outages and other weather type emergencies.
Cut the Extra Fat - A lot of us saw over 2020 what we could do without when we couldn't get it at the store, or what we decided we didn't need because we didn't WANT to go to the store. We found out that all the little extras are nice, but not always necessary. On the other hand, some of us did eat out more, so our budgets changed a bit. We all should be able to look back and see what we can eliminate that we don't need and where we need to change things up so that certain things will always be there. This is also a good thing to do when it comes to our time. We know that we waste time on some things in our lives that are just not necessary and maybe now is the time to cut those things out completely, OR at the very least minimize those things for the most part. There may be other things that really helped us out mentally over the last year and we need to make time for some of those things in the spaces of those things we don't need. Those of you who had more time with your families probably bonded a lot more than you expected, even if it was a crazy time and that is something you don't want to cut, but, instead find a way to keep the bonding going. Now is the time to reevaluate all of those things and figure out where you want this year to end up, both financially and emotionally.
Show Appreciation - I talked about this in January, but, I can't say it enough. Let those you work with know how much you appreciate them. Lend a helping hand when you can, let them know they mean a lot to you and prove it in your actions! The same with your family, friends and others that make your life more full, safe and happy. Opportunities come and go and making the most of them is something that should always be on your improvement list, don't you think?--Jen Lush