“Winter is coming.”

George R.R. Martin

Sorry. I could not resist the quote. But, you know that winter is coming, if it has not already knocked at your doorstep. We switch out coats. Try to figure out how to have a decent pair of shoes at work. And worry over the traffic daily. Because it is, after all, those other people who make the roads dangerous.

Cold and dark winter mornings may make us feel like keeping the covers over your head, but the last months of the year can still be a very productive time. Choose this year to leave hibernating to the bears while you spend the winter making positive changes in and for your life.

The possibilities are literally endless. Here is a list of suggestions for tweaking your professional and personal lives. Add some projects of your own to personalize it.

Professional and Financial Life:

1. Get some new skills.

  • Modern jobs undergo rapid change. This is true whether you work in a factory or in a front office.
  • Continuous learning helps us to keep our competitive edge.
  • Take a class that will certify you for project management or a popular software package.
  • Get permission to shadow other employees who have jobs that interest you.

2. Go to networking events.

  • Do your research online or check the calendar in industry or local chamber of commerce publications to find events that can help your boost career.
  • Your employer may be willing to pay the expenses if it is related to your current responsibilities.

3. Reach out to old colleagues.

  • When is the last time you talked with your former supervisor?
  • Staying in touch keeps your network tight and strong. Drop them an intriguing article or invite them out to lunch.

4. Straighten up your office.

  • Banishing clutter makes thinking easier.
  • Develop a filing system that works for you.
  • Clear off your desk at the end of each day.

5. Start using your vacation days.

  • Many employees fail to use their leave time even though studies show it makes us more productive. I am guilty of this as well.
  • Plan an exotic solo adventure or a family getaway.

6. Dust off your resume.

  • Keeping your resume current is a smart move even when you are not actively searching for a job.
  • It will be easier for you to track your accomplishments and think about your career path.

7. Pay down debt.

  • Becoming debt-free reduces stress and raises your future standard of living.
  • Pay off your most expensive debts first and speak with a counselor if you need assistance.

8. Boost your savings.

  • Put money aside from each paycheck.
    • You have heard it said many times. “Pay yourself first.”
    • Set up an automatic transfer from your checking to saving account.
      • Start small.
      • An amount as small as $5.00 a week gives you $250 by the end of the year.
  • You will begin to feel a little more secure preparing for your retirement or your children’s future educational needs.

Personal and Spiritual Life:

1. Meditate and/or Pray 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.

2. Get more veggies in your diet.

  • 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.

3. Limit your intake of processed foods.

  • Replace more of your processed foods with whole foods.
  • You will avoid excess sugar and salt and unhealthy fats.

4. Get Regular Exercise.

  • Find a variety of activities that you enjoy.
  • Buy a gym membership or go running/jogging/walking in the park.
  • Find a friend and lift weights.
  • Find an indoor league and play soccer or volleyball.

5. Rest well.

  • Give your body good quality rest and sleep.
  • Strive to 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 white noise machine.

6. Manage your stressors.

  • Stress can lead to chronic inflammation.
  • Experiment with relaxation techniques and practices like yoga, massage, or listening to your favorite music.

7. Make some new friends.

  • Perhaps you have moved to a new city, or you find that you now have less in common with your old college buds.
  • Expand your circle by meeting other people who share your current interests.
  • Start a book club or join a neighborhood association.

What am I doing? I am setting up a new Bullet Journal to up my winter game in a few of these areas. They should fit nicely on the Habit Tracker. We will chat more about journaling at a later time.

Try several of these ideas, and add a few of your own.

You will be able to greet next spring with a sense of optimism and a host of constructive new habits.

Your future will shine brighter when you spend the winter taking steps to make your life more healthy, more joyful, and more meaningful.

Spring passes and one remembers one’s innocence.

Summer passes and one remembers one’s exuberance.

Autumn passes and one remembers one’s reverence.

Winter passes and one remembers one’s perseverance.

Yoko Ono

Photo Credit: Doundounba Flickr via Compfight cc