As we settle into 2021, there is a myriad of thoughts on most Americans’ minds. New Year’s resolutions, goals for the year and plans may not necessarily be at the forefront of those thoughts, but this is a time to move forward with hope and confidence.
The good news is that you can live above the circumstances, and you can choose not to participate in the precariousness of the times in which we live. You can choose to live above the fray. Here are four areas that are crucial to your success and well-being in 2021.
Who’s in your inner circle?
Today more than ever, it’s important to surround yourself with positive, encouraging people. Think about the five people you spend the most time with. Are these people building you up or tearing you down? Are they a positive influence or a negative Debbie-downer?
Frankly, you need friends, and I’m not talking about Facebook. Jesus had 12 disciples. One was a traitor. He had several good supporters, but three in particular — James, John and Peter — formed his inner circle. Who is your James? Your John? Your Peter? Those are the people you can count on to tell you the truth, to be there when it counts and support you in good times and bad.
It may be time to review your Fab Five.
Take a financial inventory.
There was an election. As it does every four or eight years, change is here with a new administration’s policies. It’s a good time for a financial checkup.
Deferments, government stimulus and employer credits will end at some point this year or early next, so prepare now for what many predict will be choppy waters. Here are a few suggestions and thoughts from our team of Ramsey Preferred Coaches around the country.
- Stay current. If you aren’t current on your bills, get current. Now is not the time to get behind.
- Increase your emergency fund. Over 70% of Americans couldn’t pay for a $1,000 emergency if it happened today. Your emergency fund is a vital part of your financial success.
- Stay away from unnecessary major purchases (e.g. new car, home upgrades, major vacation purchases).
- Pay down debt where possible. Focus, especially on smaller debts, you can knock out with one or two payments.
- Need help with that? Schedule a free Chip Chat.
What about your spiritual life?
There are many voices out there today. Don’t be deceived, don’t be misled, don’t be enticed.
Tune out those loud, overwhelming, obnoxious voices and listen for the still small voice. You won’t hear it in the ranting and raving of television news networks. You won’t find it on social media. And you may not hear it in the workplace or marketplace.
Indeed, we live in precarious times, and there’s never been a more important time to fill up your spiritual tank. As you cull the clutter of voices, make sure to replace it with reasoned voices: A pastor, mentor, strong teacher or someone who has your best interest at heart.
Mix a little truth with a lot of false “news”, and you have deception and distortion at best. Fill your tank with good news. You can find great podcasts, blogs and churches and you’ll find surprising “voices” of support and inspiration in your neighborhood, so seek to be encouraged, motivated and inspired.
Take care of your health.
You’ve heard much over the past year about “underlying conditions” that can make you vulnerable to COVID-19. But it also raises awareness that we can improve our general health by applying common sense and a little effort. We can also work to better manage situations that are hereditary or genetic.
Leading underlying conditions include:
- High blood pressure.
- Heart or lung disease. (Cardiovascular or breathing conditions).
- Kidney or liver disease.
- Obesity or overweight.
- Age (older than 65).
According to the CDC, 6 in 10 adults in the U.S. have a chronic disease, and 4 in 10 have two or more. The four lifestyle risks for Americans, especially those with underlying conditions?
- Tobacco use.
- Poor nutrition.
- Lack of physical activity.
- Excessive alcohol use.
Sure, you may have inherited your condition, but you can do something about it. If you don’t have these underlying conditions, you can still improve your health. You can eat better, you can drink your water, you can exercise. Control what you can control, and do what you can!
These are important days. The ride may be a bit bumpy at times, but pay attention, make adjustments, stay vigilant and fight the good fight. Stay safe and spread hope!