There’s a reason many people think making New Year’s resolutions is an exercise in futility. Reaching for the stars is definitely not something you should do when making New Year’s resolutions, as evidenced by the number of people who give up on their quest to attain Brad Pitt’s body.
If you want to have a fighting chance of keeping your New Year’s resolutions, you’ve got to make them specific (instead of “losing weight”, try “eating only one instead of two bowls of rice at dinner”) and achievable (instead of instead of “saving the world”, how about “signing up to volunteer at the SPCA”?).
Here are five new year’s resolutions we think every Singaporean can benefit from, and that are definitely easier to keep than last year’s resolution to become a millionaire. Baby steps….
1. Rebalance your investment portfolio
Before you run away screaming, rebalancing your investment portfolio really isn’t as complicated as it sounds.
When you first started investing, you would have determined what percentage to allocate to each type of investment according to your risk appetite. But over time, as some of your investments grow at a faster rate than others, the percentage will shift.
Take a look at your investment portfolio today and you might find to your surprise that the proportion allocated to risky investments is much higher than before.
Rebalancing your portfolio simply means shifting your investments around so you end up with an investment mix you’re comfortable with once again. This is something you might not have done in a while, so pledge to do it in the year ahead.
2. Wait 5 days before buying anything
If you have a problem with impulse buying, forcing yourself to cut up your credit cards or banning yourself from Orchard Road isn’t the answer, because sooner or later you’ll suffer a meltdown and find yourself awakening from a coma surrounded by a new Spring/Summer 2015 wardrobe.
Instead of depriving yourself and then having to put yourself in a straitjacket, resolve to simply give yourself five days to make up your mind whenever you’re thinking of buying something. If you’re still lusting after the item five days later, by all means go ahead and get it. Try this trick and then tell us in the comments if it helps you to spend less.
3. Find three value-for-money restaurants in each of the areas you frequent
If you’ve ever been a tourist stuck in a bubble filled with overpriced, mediocre restaurants, you’ve probably had that same feeling in some parts of Singapore (Sentosa, Marina Bay Sands, I’m looking at you), especially those times you were so hungry you were ready to eat the next thing or person standing in your way.
Well, you know best where you like to hang out, and researching and compiling a list of three value-for-money restaurants for each area will save you from a lot of pain whenever you’re out and about. Over time, your lists will grow, but for now let’s start small.
4. Quit one tiny money-wasting habit
We’re not saying that you must quit smoking or drinking. No, we’re not asking you to be that ambitious. But most of us are guilty of cultivating tiny habits that cost us money, whether we realise it or not. It could be that cup of Starbucks coffee you buy every morning before work, or your habit of buying a tube of sweets each time you walk past 7-11.
Identify one small money-sucking habit that you’d like to change, and then promise to stop doing it this year. One simple change could be to start carrying around a water bottle so you no longer need to purchase water when the overpowering Singapore heat gets to you.
Correcting one little habit might not save you thousands of dollars, but it’s a small step on the road to a more sustainable lifestyle.
5. Earn your first dollar outside of your job
If you’ve ever considered a career change or even had wild fantasies about quitting your job, that’s just one of the reasons you should start thinking about finding an alternative income stream. With more and more Singaporeans working beyond retirement age, it’s a good idea to start experimenting with earning money outside of the constraints of your job, unless you want to still be sitting at the same desk decades from now.
How you decide to earn your first dollar outside of work really depends on your abilities and your interests. Whether you decide to moonlight as a private tutor, become a pub musician or start a small business, the mere act of earning money that’s all yours—not your boss’s—no matter how small the amount, might have a stronger impact on your future plans than you think.
What are your New Year’s resolutions for 2015? Let us know in the comments!